Yes we can!

The COVID-19 virus has almost brought the world economy to a screeching halt. Especially hard hit… small businesses. But now we’re coming back. And we can be better than ever.


Relying on resilience, persistence, and focus we learned a lot during this time. We learned we needed to have the flexibility to actively incorporate our new knowledge into new and better business behavior. We knew it would be important to be more than merely paying attention, to be listening. We needed to be actively seeking out feedback.

Will it be business as usual now? Perhaps. Or will it be some kind of new normal? Possibly. No one knows. We’ll just have to see.

Our “new normal” probably won’t be just a return to the “before,” as the pandemic response has accelerating several transformative processes that might be hard to reverse – from the expansion of governments’ role in the economy to the adoption of remote working protocols.

Hunkering down may be the preferred strategy in tough economic times. But companies that recognize the opportunities and modify their business model can actually grow. Many have.

To successfully cope with these kinds of unforeseen challenges, we may have had to question, reassess, and redefine our managerial thinking. We may have had to reexamine the context in which we make decisions. Some of our basic beliefs and managerial wisdoms may have needed to be challenged. Yup.



  1. Review your STRATEGIES, how you generate revenue and profit.
  2. Clarify your internal and external KEY MESSAGES, especially your marketing messages.
  3. Revisit your VISION and ask what’s rising on the horizon?
  4. Improve CASH FLOW, examine overhead, what might be eliminated, labor especially?
  5. Align around your HIGHEST PRIORITY every day.
  6. Build NEW REVENUE streams.
  7. RECLARIFY YOUR ROLE and that of everyone else.
  8. RETRAIN to the strengths of your people.
  10. LEVERAGE YOUR POSITIVE PUBLIC RELATIONS from the last two months.

NEXT CREATE A DAILY POWER HOUR and take your productivity to the next level. A power hour is when you buckle yourself into your chair and do what needs to get done. No distractions, unrelated calls/texts, negative self-talk, unnecessary breaks, unproductive time on social media, or anything not directly related to the task. Schedule one Power Hour into your day, every day. Do this.

Most Important Thing: BUILD 6 MONTHS OF CASH RESERVES. Put it in the bank and keep it there.

How do companies overcome unforeseen obstacles? With strong leadership, which creates a climate in which the risk of failure does not overwhelm real opportunities. Even when funds are short, it is important to allow, and even encourage, experiments and pilot programs.

Ask yourself what are you building so that your future can be better?

Keep looking for faster, cheaper ways to operate.

Think about how you can establish more RESILIENCE.

Keep seeking new ways to connect.

LEARN FROM SUCCESS. It is often said that we must learn from past mistakes, so we don’t repeat them. Less said, but equally valid, is that we need to learn from past successes.

Go on the offensive. Invest in success. Focus on customers. Unleash advertising and marketing power. Employ game-changing strategies.

Be a leader. Set clear expectations. Invest in people. Mobilize for growth.

Plan your future. Do all the right things right. Live your dream.

The Great Success Destroyer

March 2020


Learned Helplessness is a condition in which a person suffers from a sense of powerlessness, arising from a traumatic event or persistent failure to succeed. It is thought to be one of the underlying causes of depression.

It’s sneaky. Many people don’t even realize that they live in learned helplessness. Learned helplessness is the feeling of “I can’t” that builds from past experiences or failures.

Common symptoms of learned helplessness include:

  • Low self-esteem
  • Passivity
  • Poor motivation
  • Giving up
  • Lack of effort
  • Frustration
  • Procrastination
  • Failure to ask for help

Learned Helplessness is far too rampant in one area of operating a small business – marketing.

Only 40% of small business in the world are profitable. 30% only break even and the other 30% are failing because they are losing money. These numbers would be much different if marketing efforts were more successful across the board.

Marketing that drives profit generating sales – and makes it possible to deliver goods, products and services to people who want to buy them – is tough to master. If marketing were easy, a lot more small businesses would be profitable. If marketing were easy, a lot more small business owner operators would not be eternally frustrated. If marketing were easy, a lot fewer small business owner operator would succumb to life’s greatest temptation, which is to settle for less.

I submit that every small business owner operator has experienced some learned helplessness. And that the principle cause of learned helplessness for small business owners is on-going frustration with marketing.

How does this happen? Here’s an all too common story. Read on please.

First, we have to consider this question. How many small business owner operators do you think have a degree in marketing, either from a community college or a four-year school? I’ll tell you how many – none. That’s right, practically none, or less. In my 40 plus years of business consulting I’ve only met two or three business owners operators with a marketing degree. And I’ve met thousands of small business owners.

Second, we have this question. How many small business owner operators do you think have read a serious book or two on the subject of marketing? Well, probably more than none, but not a lot more. And by read, I mean really read it, studied it thoroughly, and used some of the principles in it. How many? Again, practically none.

So, is it any wonder why so many small business owner operators have problems marketing their goods, products and services? They don’t know what works and what does not. They are literally throwing gobs and gobs of spaghetti on the wall, hoping some of it will stick, only to see most of it fall on the floor. Resources: time and money squandered, again and again and again. That’s frustrating. There’s got to be a fix for this.

Now of course, we cannot expect all the small business owner operators in the world to suddenly take a sabbatical from work and go off to college for a few years to study marketing. Won’t happen. But clearly, we can reasonably expect many small business owner operators to take advantage of books and on-line short courses, seminars and input from experts. There are lots of them.

So why do you think most do not even to that? Two words: learned helplessness. Because of years of frustrating experiences, they don’t believe there are marketing solutions that they can find and use that will produce better sales results and greater business income. They have tried a lot of things, thrown a lot of spaghetti at the wall and – nada. After years of this, they have come to believe they can’t get better at getting good at marketing. That’s learned helplessness. That’s a tragedy.

It’s a subtle trap. It sneaks up on you. It’s hard to see it. And if it gets you, it’s hard to get out.

Successful marketing and efficient fulfillment after a sale has occurred, makes a business grow. It’s never random luck with the spaghetti. When it comes to marketing your business, you must know what works and be able to do enough of what works consistently. That will produce two things, profits and satisfaction. No more learned helplessness. No sir. Learned Success instead.

It’s better and more nourishing to eat spaghetti than it is to pick it up off the floor. So, refocus your business to make it more profitable.

If you aren’t where you want to be in terms of sales income in your small business, and you don’t have a crystal-clear path to get there – what are you going to do about that? You think you could use some help?

Even when you know a lot about marketing, it’s the adapting of marketing strategies to an ever-changing world of needs and wants people have that makes marketing work for your business. That’s the tricky part. You might need some outside expert help.

When you know what needs to happen – business gotta grow – but you don’t know how to make that happen, that’s terrible. That needs to stop. And it can. If you are willing to learn about and to then use what is PROVEN TO WORK. And if you can adapt what is proven to work to the circumstances present in your small business operation.

If you think you could use some help with that, we’re ready to help. It’s what we do.




Intention Calling




Create The Future You Want Right Now. You Can Do It! Start Today.




WHAT IS AN INTENTION? An intention is idea that you plan (or intend) to carry out. If you mean to do something specific, it’s an intention. It is a mental state that represents a commitment to carrying out an action or actions in the future. Intentions involve mental activities such as planning and forethought.


INTENTION IS LIKE VISION. If you do not know where you are going, how do you do your best to get there? Do you have the desire, willingness, and confidence to enrich your personal and professional life experience? Do you know what you truly want? Are you ready to allow your dreams to come true?


THIS MUST BE YOUR PLAN! As an entrepreneurially minded business owner, there will come a moment when you decide it’s time to take the intention based ideas you have in your head, add bold action, and make your dreams a reality. You know you want: – More Money – More Free Time – More Control of Your Business and Life. What will get you there? It’s setting a goal, devising a smart plan of action, and working toward achievement.


ASK THE BIG QUESTION NOW. The moment you engage in a process of intentional business growth, you will discover that it’s going to be a lifetime process. The question in your mind will change from “How long will this take?” to “How far can I go?” That is the question you should be asking yourself right now – not that you will be able to fully answer it. I started this growth journey forty years ago, and I still haven’t answered it. But it will help you set the direction, if not the distance.


  • Where do you want to go in your business-life?
  • What direction do you want to go?
  • What’s the farthest you can imagine going?


Eleanor Roosevelt said, “One’s philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes. In the long run, we shape our lives and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.”


And Peter Drucker once said, “The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” Your clear intentions, together with bold direct action, invent your future.


If you want to reach your potential and create the business you really want, you must do much more than just experience what you have now, and hope that you learn what you need to grow bigger and better along the way. You must go out of your way to seize growth opportunities – as if your future depended on it. Why? Because it does. Growth doesn’t just happen – not for me, not for you, not for anybody. You must go after it! That takes INTENTION, smart planning and BOLD DIRECT ACTION. And sure you can do it, but you can do it more easily, and probably better and faster if you don’t go at it alone. We’re here to help you.


How Do You Make More Money In A Business?



Okay, let’s face some basic facts. If you own a business and do not make money, or do not make enough money, your business will fail. Money is the life-blood of any business. Even the so called nonprofit kind of business. Money, or cash money as they say in Texas, is an absolute necessity for survival. And more is better than less. So, make more money, please.


I’m a behavioral psychologist. When I consult with business owners, I’m interested in the behaviors they utilize as they and their people operate the business.


Behavior is just two things: Things people say. Things people do. That’s it. When business people say and do enough of the right things right, money flows into their business. This is job #1 for all business owners.


So, how do business owners put enough of the right behavior in just the right place?


It’s a process. And it’s unique in application, depending on the nature of the business and the interests of the business owner.


First, we answer these questions. What’s the purpose of the business? Where does the business owner hope the business will be in a year or two? This matters because if you can’t see where you’re going, chances are you won’t get there. Get this all written down. And yes, it must be written down.


Then we get to the meat of the sales generating behavior. What must the people who are operating the business say and do to make money flow into the business?


PREWORK: The owners must identify the best prospective buyers of whatever their business offers. Who are the buyers? Demographically: Where do they live? What is their gender, age, education level and occupation? What are their affiliations? Psychographically: What are their needs, their wants, hopes and desires? What makes them happy, feel sad, frustrated and angry?


Once this prework is complete, the business operator can reasonably conclude the exact kind of people, with specific issues or problems, that can be satisfied with the products and services the business owner intends to provide?


Finally, we get to sales generating words and deeds. The business owner can plan and implement a sales generating strategy consisting of particular things to say and particular things to do as he, somehow makes contact with his identified best prospects, or gets them to contact the him. The business owner’s sales generating behavior consists of specific words (images, sounds, etc.) and deeds.


When the business owner or his designee, enters into a potential sales generating conversation with his prospect, he must be effectively persuasive in his conversation, or a sale will not occur.

Persuasion is set of behaviors that can be mastered by anyone willing to take the time to learn and practice them. These conversations most often are fact to face. But they can take place via Internet or telephone or email.


As a business growth strategist, I share what I know about persuasive communication with my clients and help them tailor what they say to their specific needs. I have to do this as that’s what produces more sales and more business growth.

Grow Those Net Profits


Every business owner can generate more net profits than they already typically do. Do you believe this? You should.


Net Profit: the amount of money that’s left over after all the bills have been paid, including taxes. It’s a simple calculation. Add up all the business rent/mortgage, total payroll, utilities, insurance, advertising and marketing costs, vehicle expenses, and taxes, all these and other expenses. Get this one total expense number, the whole nine yards, figure it out. Subtract that number from your total income – income from sales and other sources – and the remainder is net profit – that’s it.  This is the amount of money you get to keep. And whatever that number is, you can make it better.


Your net profit could be substantial right now, and that would please you, make you happy. Your net profit could be steadily growing right now, and that would please you too. Your net profit could be flat, that is steady, but at a level you feel is insufficient, and that would not please you. That would frustrate you. Your net profit could be decreasing. That would worry you. Allow your net profits to steadily shrink for too long and you’ll soon be out of business.


Everything you do in your business is designed to affect your net profit number – to make that number grow and then grow some more. And if that’s not happening, there are reasons. It could be a simple single thing that’s preventing your efforts from creating a decent net profit. It could also be a complex multifaceted group of things, interacting together, that are preventing your efforts from creating a decent net profit.


If your net profit is less than terrific, you may or may not know why? But it would certainly be good to find out why. For once armed with the right information you could make adjustments in your business activities and get your ship back on course and sailing smoothly.


What are the basic elements that are manipulated in a business to affect net profit? This is no mystery; you deal with these things daily. There are products and services, pricing and cost controls, marketing, workflow processes, and the human factors (behaviors, practices and habits). That’s about it. Get these elements right and you’ll enjoy a civilized net profit.


When talking about these elements I like to refer to your “If Goods.” Your business can win if you have respectable “If Goods.”


It takes 5 “If Goods” to win in business. 

  1. If you have good products and services that people need, want, and are willing to pay for.
  2. If you have good pricing and cost controls that consistently add up favorably.
  3. If you have good marketing that presents irresistible offers resulting in enough sales.
  4. If you have good workflow processes that systematically get things done on time and on budget.
  5. If you have good human factors – i.e. behaviors, practices and habits that get enough of the right things done right the first time and every time.

The 5 “If Goods” produce net profits. And all these things can be tuned up, improved upon, made better – especially the human factors – the behaviors, practices, and habits.


My experience has been that business owners most often stumble in the human factors area. Because human factors – the behaviors, practices, and habits – encompass everything you do, these things cut across all the other areas, affect workflow processes, marketing, pricing, and so on.




When a new person joins The Master-Mind Alliance program, we will often start by looking at the human factors. We know that if we can get this stuff right, if we can tune up the behaviors, practices, and habits – that the person will make better plans and implement them better too. Once this is underway, all the other stuff gets much better. The business improves and net profits go up.


So yes, my opening statement is true. Every business owner can generate more net profits than they already typically do. A good place to start is on yourself.


Ultimately it comes down to this. To be infinitely more successful than you are now, you need to work harder on yourself than you do in your business, forever. Your greatest dividends are found in the investments you make in your own growth and development, for it is in the process of discovering your gifts and potential to work smarter forever, that you find your voice, your passion and your destiny. This is always true.


There’s an old saying. “Work on the man first, get this right, then the world comes out just fine.” And there’s no better time to start than today. 

Got Confidence?



Here’s How To Get More


The number one thing people want to feel about themselves is confident. And for some, that’s a constant struggle.

Psychologists tell us c
onfidence takes many forms, from the arrogance of professional boxing promoter, Floyd Mayweather to the quiet self-assurance of famous primatologist and anthropologist, Jane Goodall. True confidence—as opposed to the false confidence people project to mask their insecurities—has a look all its own.


When it comes to confidence, one thing is certain: truly confident people always have the upper hand over the doubtful and the skittish because they inspire others and they make things happen.


“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t—you’re right. —Henry Ford”


Ford’s notion that your mentality has a powerful effect on your ability to succeed is manifest in the results of a recent study at the University of Melbourne that showed that confident people went on to earn higher wages and get promoted more quickly than anyone else.


Learning to be confident is clearly important, but what is it that truly confident people do that sets them apart from everyone else.


Here are some suggestions, things that are known to increase a person’s level of self-confidence.


Identify your negative thoughts. Your negative thoughts might sound like this: “I can’t do that,” “I will surely fail”, “no one wants to hear what I have to say.” This inner voice is pessimistic and unhelpful and will hold you back from achieving high self-esteem and greater self-confidence.


Turn your negative thoughts to positive thoughts. As you pay attention to your negative thoughts, turn them around to positive thoughts. This may take the form of positive affirmations, such as “I am going to try it,” “I can be successful if I work at it,” or “people will listen to me.” Start with just a few positive thoughts a day.


Refuse to focus on negative thoughts more often than positive thoughts. Eventually, your positive thoughts should be given more “brain space” than your negative thoughts. The more you counter your negative self-thinking with positivity, the more natural this will become.


For tough times, when all else fails: Create a great list.


Life is full of challenges and there are times when it’s difficult to keep our self-confidence up. Sit down right now and make a list of all the things in your life that you are thankful for, and another list of all the things you are proud of accomplishing. Once your lists are complete, post them on your refrigerator door, on the wall by your desk, on your bathroom mirror, somewhere where you can easily be reminded of what an amazing life you have and what an amazing person you really are. If you feel your self-confidence dwindling, take a look at those lists and let yourself feel and be inspired all over again by you.


I was lucky to have been born into a family of high achievers. My father was the most confident person I ever knew. He felt he could do anything and pretty much did. And somehow, also lucky for me, a lot of that rubbed off on me. I always think that I can probably do just about whatever I set my mind to, as long as I think it through, and apply the right strategy. 


In my work with small business owners in the Master-Mind Alliance, I have seen the role confidence plays in business success. Once an Alliance member starts applying better strategies and generating more success, they become different. They become more confident. You can see it on their face. They smile more. You can hear it in their voice. They project more and have more to say, more to contribute. ​​​​​

HERE’S THE THING. We know how to make the operation of any viable small business highly successful. It’s simple. The owner operator just had to do enough of the things that are known to work. Those things are not a secret. We talk about them and share experiences using them at each and every Master-Mind Alliance meeting. ​​​​​​



A Good Plan NEEDS Action


American General George S. Patton, the great World War II General, knew how important planning was. The leader of thousands of men fighting important battles during the war had to plan and plan well. However, General Patton knew that sometimes you can’t plan for everything. Sometimes, developing a perfect plan takes more time than you have available. Sometimes it’s more important to have a good plan that you execute now. This is certainly true in war and it is also true in business.


This is also true: Done Is Better Than Perfect. It is more important to take the step! To do what needs to be done. It’s better to complete your goals than to have a perfect plan.


Then there is this: 90% Of Research Is Procrastination. You have to plan, you have do the research and analysis to find the basic understanding of what the path is and the steps required for that path. But, you must not overdo the planning and research before you act.


Way too many people use so called “planning and research” to delay their acting on their goals. We all do this at times. But here’s the deal. When you have the plan, when you have The What, The Why and the How, then you must ACT!


Go Out Today and Act Now! Define the What, Understand Your Why, Create The How and then Do!


By the way, Patton also said this: “Never tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.” Get your people, your employees and co-workers, to think and plan their own HOW. This makes them take responsibility. This makes them act like leaders. You want a lot of that from your people.


Patton also said this. “If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.” You want input from your people, but you don’t just want everyone to think the same thing. You want innovation, creativity, uniqueness. That is where genius resides.

Are You Ready To Win Bigger?


There Are Requirements


Okay, so you are successful, your business does well most of the time. But what if you want more from your business, you know, more money and more free time? Why not go for that? It can be in your future. You can win bigger and have a better business life. Sure, there are requirements but they are not overwhelming, just common sense in fact if you think about it.


Winning bigger has two requirements, INTEREST and AMBITION. That will get your started. Then, of course, you must make your strategies work splendidly, but that’s a topic for another time. Today we’ll tackle interest and ambition.


INTEREST: Most people like doing whatever it is that they do for a living. Some love it. Can you imagine a carpenter not liking wood or nails or an accountant not liking precision with numbers? No. “The most important thing in life is interest.” John Houston, the famous Hollywood movie director said that. So if you own a business, and plan to work at it for years and years, two things stand out. First, you’d better find it interesting. Second, you’d better like it huh. Yeah.


And…similar to INTEREST…we have AMBITION.


AMBITION: How bad do you want that thing you find interesting? Whether it is building the business of your dreams, making a million bucks, becoming famous, finding eternal beauty or just having a few moments of serene peace and quiet, ambition is a part of that. Ambition drives us all…it’s what the first psychology teacher in the United States, William James, called the worship of the Bitch Goddess Success.


Here’s the whole quote taken from a letter William James wrote to HG Wells, September 11, 1906. “The moral flabbiness born of the exclusive worship of the bitch-goddess success, together with the squalid cash interpretation put on the word success, is our national disease.”


Now Freud would have us believe that all drive stems from the libido. Sorry Sigmund, success is biologically determined by one’s own ability to stay focused on a task and persistence is a function of an active limbic system. Focus and persistence are influenced by desire and training and practice and discipline and determination and so on.


So INTEREST and AMBITION…what else can we say about these two concepts?


AMBITION fuels our desire for success and INTEREST steers us in a direction in which our success can be achieved. We can say this because it’s true. One the down side, some people are cursed with ambition, it ruins their lives, for they have no interest in anything else, like relationships and love and family. But for most of us, ambition works just fine.


If you’ve ever been in a job interview you may have heard a question like the following. Can you give a brief outline of the tasks which have your specific interest and ambitions? If you are unprepared to answer a question like this it can be devastating, and your chance for a job offer…gone in a hurry.


Then there is this wonderful little question. What would you do IF you knew you could not fail? And if you can answer that, then there is this follow-up question. What should be next? In other words, once armed with the answer to the first question how will you change your life?


Okay, you say, so what now?


Well now we can ask what would make a person with a certain ambition and interest enjoy that particular interest even more. Well, a person with a certain interest might enjoy that particular interest even more if he or she got better at doing it, don’t you think? Sure, that’s logical. They would derive more intrinsic pleasure if they could pursue their interest more successfully or simply…do it better. When they would perform the activities fundamental to their interest flawlessly, that would give them temporary or even lasting moments of joy, right? Yup. They might also enjoy their interest more if they were rewarded for doing it more dramatically, as with a round of applause or more financial remuneration, you know, more money. That would probably make them happier, don’t you think? So let’s talk about how an ambitious person with a particular interest might pursue it more vigorously and successfully, and if it’s business related, make more money doing that thing they love.


Here are a couple of things that come to mind.


Create And Keep A Morning Phrase: “Today I will get all my important stuff done…before noon in fact.” Whatever you say to yourself in the morning, if you sincerely mean it and if you stay focused on it, it will most likely come true during the day. Why not taking advantage of this? Create a simple morning phrase and say it to yourself first thing in the morning and a couple of more times during the morning. Is that simple?


Change Your Work Space: Clean up your desk. Re-arrange the furniture. Add some color to that space. Make the place where you work really enjoyable. So enjoyable that work there won’t be perceived as work anymore. It will be something you love to do.


Let’s do one more.


Wake Up Early: This is not a habit, this is a lifestyle. Don’t just wake up early without a purpose. Be early. Be there before others, while it’s still and quiet. Decide what matters most to you that day. Write it down. Look for new opportunities and embrace them. Waking up early means keeping your eyes open to every available opportunity…and pursuing all your interests with all your might.


Here’s the thing. We know how to make the operation of any viable small business highly successful. It’s simple. The owner operator just had to do enough of the things that are known to work. Those things are not a secret. We talk about them and share experiences using them at each and every Master-Mind Alliance meeting. 


Business Success Checklist



What You Must Have To Succeed In Business



Only 40% of small businesses are profitable, 30% break even and 30% are about to go under. These are tough numbers for sure. There are definite steps you can take to insure that your business gets into and stays into the profitable 40%.


Here are five things you must have to grow your business and make more money and stay profitable.


1. A Compelling VISION Of Where You Want To Take Your Business. You must have a destination in mind, where you want your business to be in the near future, perhaps a year or two down the road. You must be sparklingly clear as to WHY you wish to pursue this particular VISION. What will getting there do for you professionally and personally? Armed with this clarity you must then share your VISION with all who are directly connected to your business in such a way as to inspire them to do all that they can to help you get there.


2. Clear INTENTIONS: SMART Goals And PLANS – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timebound Goals with PLANS to achieve each and every one of them within the time line you set must be written down. By writing all this down you have a 60% better chance of victory than if you just think about what you want. Written SMART Goals and PLANS rock.


3. Well Defined KEY RESULT AREAS. Your key result areas are those things that you absolutely, positively must do to fulfill your responsibilities and achieve your business goals. There are seldom more than five to seven key result areas in any job or in any business. Your task is to determine what the key result areas are for your work, and then to develop a plan to complete them and to also continually improve in each area. You begin by asking yourself this question: What is my purpose here?


4. MEASUREMENT And At-A-Glance Knowledge Of Results. You must know where you are at any moment in time. Where do you stand with income, expenses, and profits? What are the facts? When you know where you stand, you can confidently make plans to improve. When you do not have At-A-Glance numbers, any planning you do is, at best, based on guess work. Guessing isn’t good enough. You need accurate factual performance data.


5. PROBLEM SOLVING AND DECISION MAKING SUPPORT – Plus ACCOUNTABILITY From Peers Who Understand Because They’ve Been There –      And Are Willing To Share In A Spirit Of Harmony. You must have helpful input because it’s too hard to figure out how to do everything all by yourself. You don’t know enough. No one does. If you do not now have a group of helpful and supportive business owner peers that you regularly meet with to help you make difficult decisions and brainstorm on problem solving, either find one and join it, or start inviting business owner peers to help you start one of your own. Test the waters. Hold a couple of get together meetings and see what develops. Do this immediately.



You’ve read through the list of the essential business success things you must have to operate a sustainable and profitable business enterprise, so…what do you have already? And what will you do to get all the rest of them?


Well-armed with everything it takes to succeed in business makes for a happy and relaxed business owner. I sincerely hope that describes you.

Learned Helplessness – Frustration Has Consequences



Learned Helplessness is a condition in which a person suffers from a sense of powerlessness, arising from a traumatic event or persistent failure to succeed. It is thought to be one of the underlying causes of depression.


It’s sneaky. Many people don’t even realize that they live in learned helplessness. Learned helplessness is the feeling of “I can’t” that builds from past experiences or failures.


Common symptoms of learned helplessness include:

  • Low self-esteem
  • Passivity
  • Poor motivation
  • Giving up
  • Lack of effort
  • Frustration
  • Procrastination
  • Failure to ask for help

Learned Helplessness is far too rampant in one area of operating a small business – marketing.


Only 40% of small business in the world are profitable. 30% only break even and the other 30% are failing because they are losing money. These numbers would be much different if marketing efforts were more successful across the board.


Marketing that drives profit generating sales – and makes it possible to deliver goods, products and services to people who want to buy them – is tough to master. If marketing were easy, a lot more small businesses would be profitable. If marketing were easy, a lot more small business owner operators would not be eternally frustrated. If marketing were easy, a lot fewer small business owner operator would succumb to life’s greatest temptation, which is to settle for less.


I submit that every small business owner operator has experienced some learned helplessness. And that the principle cause of learned helplessness for small business owners is on-going frustration with marketing.


How does this happen? Here’s an all too common story. Read on please.


First, we have to consider this question. How many small business owner operators do you think have a degree in marketing, either from a community college or a four-year school? I’ll tell you how many – none. That’s right, practically none, or less. In my 40 plus years of business consulting I’ve only met two or three business owners operators with a marketing degree. And I’ve met thousands of small business owners.


Second, we have this question. How many small business owner operators do you think have read a serious book or two on the subject of marketing? Well, probably more than none, but not a lot more. And by read, I mean really read it, studied it thoroughly, and used some of the principles in it. How many? Again, practically none.


So, is it any wonder why so many small business owner operators have problems marketing their goods, products and services? They don’t know what works and what does not. They are literally throwing gobs and gobs of spaghetti on the wall, hoping some of it will stick, only to see most of it fall on the floor. Resources: time and money squandered, again and again and again. That’s frustrating. There’s got to be a fix for this.


Now of course, we cannot expect all the small business owner operators in the world to suddenly take a sabbatical from work and go off to college for a few years to study marketing. Won’t happen. But clearly, we can reasonably expect many small business owner operators to take advantage of books and on-line short courses, seminars and input from experts. There are lots of them.


So why do you think most do not even to that? Two words: learned helplessness. Because of years of frustrating experiences, they don’t believe there are marketing solutions that they can find and use that will produce better sales results and greater business income. They have tried a lot of things, thrown a lot of spaghetti at the wall and – nada. After years of this, they have come to believe they can’t get better at getting good at marketing. That’s learned helplessness. That’s a tragedy.


It’s a subtle trap. It sneaks up on you. It’s hard to see it. And if it gets you, it’s hard to get out.



Successful marketing and efficient fulfillment after a sale has occurred, makes a business grow. It’s never random luck with the spaghetti. When it comes to marketing your business, you must know what works and be able to do enough of what works consistently. That will produce two things, profits and satisfaction. No more learned helplessness. No sir. Learned Success instead.


It’s better and more nourishing to eat spaghetti than it is to pick it up off the floor. So, refocus your business to make it more profitable.



If you aren’t where you want to be in terms of sales income in your small business, and you don’t have a crystal-clear path to get there – what are you going to do about that? You think you could use some help?


Even when you know a lot about marketing, it’s the adapting of marketing strategies to an ever-changing world of needs and wants people have that makes marketing work for your business. That’s the tricky part. You might need some outside expert help.


When you know what needs to happen – business gotta grow – but you don’t know how to make that happen, that’s terrible. That needs to stop. And it can. If you are willing to learn about and to then use what is PROVEN TO WORK. And if you can adapt what is proven to work to the circumstances present in your small business operation.


If you think you could use some help with that, we’re ready to help. It’s what we do. 

Profits At A Glance




Sooner or later, all small businesses, even the most successful, run out of room to grow. Faced with this unpleasant reality, they are compelled to reinvent themselves periodically. The ability to pull off this difficult feat—to jump from the maturity stage of one business to the growth stage of the next—is what separates high performers from all the rest.


The potential consequences are dire for any small business owner who fails to reinvent his or her business in time. Once a small business runs up against a major stall in its growth, it has less than a 10% chance of ever fully recovering.


And there’s no shortage of explanations for this stalling—from failure to stick with the core (or sticking with it for too long) to problems with execution, employee performance issues, marketing issues, misreading of consumer tastes, or an unhealthy focus on scale for scale’s sake. What these theories have in common is the notion that stalling results from a failure to fix what is clearly broken in a small business.


Therefore, we can logically conclude that all small business owners must confidently know where they stand on the growth cycle, how close they are to stalling and stagnation and the impending doom that often follows that unhealthy situation.




Simple. A periodic assessment of profitability and growth is a “must do” for all small business owners. It only takes a few minutes.




Why not know exactly where you stand with profits and profit margins–daily–at a glance…so you can make timely improvement plans with accurate data as you go through the year instead of waiting till some future date to get the story and perhaps then need to fix things in a hurry up panic mode. Early intervention is better than late intervention. Knowing your profit margins on everything totaled per day and your profit margins on each transaction is very helpful. Track that, then every day you can quickly look and know your profits on every single transaction, the day’s total transactions, and all annual transactions. Very useful indeed.


Here’s how to do this. Calculate profit on every transaction and add up the total each day: income from all daily sales minus costs of goods sold including labor costs for each transaction equals daily profit.


Then tackle all your operational expenses. For expenses, amortize every one expense item down to a single day. Amortize simply means take your annual costs and divided them by 365 days. This gets you a daily cost number for each expense.


What to amortize: Amortize all your insurance costs (liability, fire, health, etc.). Then take all taxes paid in the year and amortize that number down to a per day expense, (you can base this calculation of the on previous year payments). Amortize your mortgage or rent payment if you have those, plus membership dues, utilities, licensing fees, work related travel expenses, and everything else you have. Amortize your marketing and advertising expenses too.


You can start doing gathering all this information from Schedule “C” of your income tax return. Just take all the regular and normal expenses in each of the business expense categories listed there and divide them by 365, and you’re done it. Obviously if you bought anything unusual, like that $65,000 pickup truck that you paid cash for last July, remove that decidedly not regular and normal item so that your results are not skewed. Jake the truck out of there. Use only regular and normal expenses.


Once you have all this worked out, which, yes, will take you awhile to set it up, but then at the end of every day, you will know exactly what your costs are by category and in total – and what your profit on every transaction is – and what your profit is for every day you are open for business.


You can make this profits per transaction calculation per day, per week, per month and per year. And you should, as that will give you a complete and accurate picture of where you stand. Armed with your full and complete profit picture, you can make improvement plans based on accurate and timely data. Good idea huh!


Track daily profits per transaction for 2 weeks. Then analyze the data. Decide if you are happy with what you see. If so, keep things going as they are. If not make some changes. Decide what prices changes you ought to make on what items or services, what to stop selling perhaps, what new offerings you might want to carry, what adjustments to your marketing are in order, what changes to staffing you might try, etc. Don’t neglect your accounts receivable if you have any of those. Are there some collections strategies you ought to employ, some proactive phone calls to make and so on.


Indeed early intervention is better than late intervention. And armed with accurate and timely data, well, then you know what to do.

Make A “Will Do Today” List Instead






How can we best start the day off right? How can we win the daily war against distractions and interruptions which unfortunately abound? How can we reliably get more of what matters to us actually done each day?

Simple…make a WILL DO TODAY LIST every day and stick to it. A WILL DO TODAY LIST is a short list of just a few important things that you will do without interruptions today. This really helps a lot.

Start by listing ALL THE THINGS YOU’D LIKE TO DO, all of them. This list could turn out to be several pages long. Next, transfer the most important of all those things to a second list called MUST DO. Finally, transfer a few of those items, a manageable amount, to your WILL DO TODAY LIST.

Do this last transfer to the WILL DO TODAY LIST at the end of the previous workday, just before you go home. Then when you start your next workday, keep your WILL DO TODAY LIST right in front of you, where you cannot miss seeing it, and start working through it. Start with the most difficult item on it and move to the next most difficult and so on. This way you’re always going from hard toward easy which helps cut down on procrastinating.

After a few days, based on actual experience, you will determine just how much or how many things you can predictably accomplish in one workday. And from then on you can realistically create your WILL DO TODAY LIST comprised of just enough things you predictably can get done in one workday. Now you’re set. Now victory can occur more often. Simple and neat huh. Yup.

We like positive habits. We don’t like negative habits. Positive habits are good. Negative habits are bad. Everyone understands this. Make the DO TO TODAY LIST a new habit. You’ll be glad you did.



What if I could show you how to significantly improve the performance of your business? Might be great huh? Well, I think I can do that. Read on please.


There is a way you can do all the following: Create great business strategy that will double your income. Build bullet proof operational systems. Develop splendid leadership behavior. Delver top notch customer service. Ensure employee engagement, productivity and contentment. Did I mention double your income? Yes, I did. And of course, do good work in the world. All this is more than possible. It’s within your grasp – if you are motivated and willing to learn how, you can have it all in 2019 and beyond. So, interested? Then let me explain a bit more.


There is one gigantic first essential step. You must write a powerful VISION STATEMENT that clearly and succinctly describes where you want to take your business in then next few months – and that also describes WHY you want to take your business to that particular place.


A VISION STATEMENT describes a destination. It points you and all your helpers, partners, and employees toward that future place.


Your VISION STATEMENT also states your financial goals, gross and net income goals and how much of your net income do you want to go into your wallet.


Once you have sparkling clarity about all this, you share your VISION STATEMENT with all your people. All except for the “into your wallet” part. That’s private, that number you keep to yourself.


You will require guidance as you proceed. I can provide that guidance for you.


Just call me at 707-268-8691 and we’ll start talking.



If we agree to work together, I will guide you through VISION, SAM & POP. I already described the VISION part. Now the rest. The S in SAM stands for Strategy and Systems. The A in SAM stands for Accountability and Action. The M in SAM stands for Measurement and Mindfulness. And POP, well that stands for Put On Paper, write it down.


You will need a few SMART Goals and plans to achieve them of course. I will help you there too. But that’s enough for now. If you want to know more about CRANK IT UP, call me and we’ll talk.




Interest & Ambition

INTEREST: Most people like doing whatever it is that they do for a living. Some love it. Can you imagine a carpenter not liking wood or nails or an accountant not liking precision with numbers? No. “The most important thing in life is interest.” John Houston, the famous Hollywood movie director said that. So, if you own a business, and plan to work at it for years and years, two things stand out. First, you’d better find it interesting. Second, you’d better like it huh. Yeah.

And…similar to INTEREST…we have AMBITION.

AMBITION: How bad do you want that thing you find interesting? Whether it is building the business of your dreams,making a million bucks, becoming famous, finding eternal beauty or just having a few moments of serene peace and quiet, ambition is a part of that. Ambition drives us all…it’s what the first psychology teacher in the United States,William James, called the worship of the Bitch Goddess Success.

Here’s the whole quote taken from a letter William James wrote to HG Wells, September 11, 1906. “The moral flabbiness born of the exclusive worship of the bitch-goddess success, together with the squalid cash interpretation put on the word success, is our national disease.”

Now Freud would have us believe that all drive stems from the libido. Sorry Sigmund, success is biologically determined by one’s own ability to stay focused on a task and persistence is a function of an active limbic system. Focus and persistence are influenced by desire and training and practice and discipline and determination and so on.

So, INTEREST and AMBITION…what can we say about these two concepts?

AMBITION fuels our desire for success and INTEREST steers us in a direction in which our success can be achieved. We can say this because it’s true. One the down side, some people are cursed with ambition, it ruins their lives, for they have no interest in anything else,like relationships and love and family. But for most of us, ambition works just fine.

If you’ve ever been in a job interview you may have heard a question like the following. Can you give a brief outline of the tasks which have your specific interest and ambitions? If you are unprepared to answer a question like this it can be devastating, and your chance for a job offer…gone in a hurry.

Then there is this wonderful little question. What would you do IF you knew you could not fail? And if you can answer that, then there is this follow-up question. What should be next? In other words, once armed with the answer to the first question how will you change your life?

Okay, you say, so what now? 

Well now we can ask what would make a person with a certain ambition and interest enjoy that particular interest even more. Well, a person with a certain interest might enjoy that particular interest even more if he or she got better at doing it, don’t you think? Sure,that’s logical. They would derive more intrinsic pleasure if they could pursue their interest more successfully or simply…do it better. When they would perform the activities fundamental to their interest flawlessly, that would give them temporary or even lasting moments of joy, right? Yup. They might also enjoy their interest more if they were rewarded for doing it more dramatically,as with a round of applause or more financial remuneration, you know, more money.That would probably make them happier, don’t you think? So let’s talk about how an ambitious person with a particular interest might pursue it more vigorously and successfully, and if it’s business related, make more money doing that thing they love.

Here are a couple of things that come to mind.

Create And Keep A Morning Phrase: “Today I will get all my important stuff done…before noon in fact.” Whatever you say to yourself in the morning, if you sincerely mean it and if you stay focused on it, it will most likely come true during the day. Why not taking advantage of this? Create a simple morning phrase and say it to yourself first thing in the morning and a couple of more times during the morning. Is that simple?

Change Your Work Space: Clean up your desk. Re-arrange the furniture. Add some color to that space. Make the place where you work really enjoyable, so enjoyable that work there won’t be perceived as work anymore. It will be something you love to do.

Let’s do one more.

Wake Up Early: This is not a habit, this is a lifestyle. Don’t just wake up early without a purpose. Be early. Be there before others, while it’s still and quiet. Decide what matters most to you that day. Write it down. Look for new opportunities and embrace them. Waking up early means keeping your eyes open to every available opportunity…and pursuing all your interests with all your might.

Joyful Clarity



Clarity, you want that. And to borrow an adjective from Tony Robbins, Joyful Clarity, well that’s even the better. Of course!


Clarity is power. The clearer you are about EXACTLY what it is you want, the more effectively your brain will help you get that. And the more ALIVE you will feel as you move through your workday and all the other days in your life.


Lack of clarity or fuzzy clarity or less than joyful clarity, well that won’t help you have the same quality of life as Joyful Clarity will.


So how do you become joyfully clear?


Well some people mediate on the question of who am I? And what do I want? And sometimes answers come that way. Some people get a big piece of butcher paper, tape it to the wall and start writing on it. Some people leaf through magazines looking for images that resonate to them then they cut them out and glue them together in a meaningful way on a piece of paper, then put the piece of paper on the wall.


Sometimes it helps to engage in conversation with people who know you and who can help you formulate precision of purpose and direction.


And the joyful part – you know you have that going on when your conversation or mediation or collage making activity brings a smile to your face or a meaningful feeling in your heart. Then watch out world because armed with Joyful Clarity you will be unstoppable.




11 Business Assessment Questions



Okay, you on a small business. Maybe you’ve owned it for years or maybe your still new at it. Nevertheless, the health of your business has to mater to you. So why not step back and answer a few business health questions. Your answers might prove to be illuminating. They might point you in a different direction. They might get you to focus on some things that need attention and improvement.


In any event, here are eleven business assessment questions I like to ask of my clients.



1 Are sales up, down, or about the same?

2 How’s my cash flow?

3 Am I bringing in enough money?

What data do I need to track to make better business decisions?

What’s just not working well enough?

6 Do I have sensible goals supported with achievable plans?

7 Are my employees as productive and as happy as they could be?

8 How can I pay my people more?

Can I take time off and not worry about my business?

10 What’s my business worth?

11 Do I have a business succession plan in place?


Why not write out an answer to each of these, then put your answers aside for a day and revisit them later, after you’ve had a night sleep and think a bit.


Here’s the thing. We know how to make the operation of any viable small business highly successful. It’s simple. The owner operator just has to do enough of the things that are known to work. Those things are not a secret. We talk about them and share experiences using them at each and every Master-Mind Alliance® meeting.



Proactive is the opposite of reactive, the opposite of passive. It is controlling the things around you rather than letting the things around you control you. Proactive is good, desirable, terrific and far better than the alternatives. Yup, yup, yup.


Here’s a simple prescription.


On Friday, before you leave work, write down a few things you need to do next week. Prioritize your list. Then on Monday, avoid over thinking and just do, just start doing what matters most to your success. And celebrate what you are doing. Do this every week for a month and see what you get.


Big Fat Truth: By living life on purpose, striving towards a desirable well thought out future, you are literally making the future better every day. You are in charge. You are controlling activities and events. Will it always be smooth? Will it always be prefect? Nope. But it will be a far better way to live than being passive and allowing the world and the people around you to dictate how your life turns out. 


Measurable Progress In Reasonable Time


Business guru Jim Rohn said it long ago. Gotta do it.

Big True Fact: Experiencing proof of your progress and achievement will spur you on to even greater success!

Something we discuss at every monthly Master-Mind Alliance® meeting is — are members making measurable progress in reasonable time? One of the goals of Master-Mind is that members make progress that can be measured by counting something or concretely observing something substantial. We want every member to make noticeable steady progress, to keep getting better, to approach that DONE Business Ideal and upon reaching that goal, to enjoy it and, of course, to sustain it.

A DONE Business is a business that has moved past the “real business” phase, in which, yes, it is steadily growing in value, yes, the strategies and systems work as intended most of the time and, yes, the Vision is clear and compelling to all involved. But a DONE Business also gives the owner something extremely precious. Time Freedom. The owner does not need to be present, actively working every day. He or she has positioned the business so that it operates without his or her daily presence. In other words, the owner can work a 4-day week, a 3-day week or not be there much at all. Indeed, Time Freedom is precious to any small business owner.

Since measurable progress in reasonable time matters so much, we talk about and plan for it and encourage all the appropriate behavior to make it happen throughout our entire group meeting. And it feels really good to experience this from one month to the next month when we meet again.

Human beings like feeling that progress, growth, new understanding, learning and life fulfillment is happening. These things feel good. The opposite of these things — stagnation, frustration and being totally stuck — causes stress and unhappiness and misery which no one wants.

Here’s the thing. We know how to make the operation of any viable small business highly successful. It’s simple. The owner operator just has to do enough of the things that are known to work. Those things are not a secret. We talk about them and share experiences using them at each and every Master-Mind Alliance® meeting.

Being Competitive – You Have Options


A COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE is the attribute that allows an organization to outperform its competitors. A competitive advantage may include access to natural resources, such as high-grade ores or a low-cost power source, highly skilled labor, geographic location, high entry barriers, and access to new technology and so on.


There are three distinct types of COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE:


COST LEADERSHIP STRATEGY is the ability of your business to produce a product and/or service that will be at a lower cost than other competitors. If your business can produce the same quality product and/or service…but sell it for less, this gives you a distinct competitive advantage over other businesses. If indeed you can do this, you should tell the world, shout it from the rooftops.


DIFFERENTIAL STRATEGY is when your products and/or services are markedly different or exceptionally unique from those of your competitors. Of course, you should always try to make your products and/or services so attractive that they stand out from your competitors.


FOCUS STRATEGY is when you aim at a few narrowly targeted markets rather than trying to target everyone. Ask yourself how you can focus on the needs and wants of a clearly identified customer type, describing how your products and/or services can noticeably improve their daily lives.


Whatever type of COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE you chose to create for your business – you ought to do so with all the gusto you can muster. You’ll know you have it right when your Top Money Making Activities (TMMA) directly flow from the results of the strategies and tactics employed in your COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE. Yes!


Creating a COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE is of course marketing work. More precisely marketing strategy work. And you know what I’m talking about. A MARKETING STRATEGY is a long-term, forward-looking approach to planning with the fundamental goal of achieving a sustainable COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE. The sustainable part matters a lot.


“Master-Mind is where I go to wake up…oh and find ways to grow my business and make lots more money too of course.”  ~Richard Karasik—CEO, Saratoga Information Systems, Saratoga, CA, 1987



The number one thing I’ve always wanted for my business was financial control over results. Then suddenly, I finally got it. Yes indeed! Much greater income, bigger profits, fewer worries, yes!



I also reduced the amount of time I spent working down to a manageable level. I didn’t worry excessively anymore. No more unfixable frustrations. And I spent my time working ON my business instead on IN it all the time. I was unbelievably happy. Yea!! You can have all this too.



If you want to know the rest of my story, read on… 

Really, you should check this out…


For a long time, I was terribly frustrated. I didn’t know what to do. How could I put an end to the income roller coaster and get predictable financial control over results?


Well, I found out it requires better strategy. And getting better strategy requires expert input and know how. I had no-one to talk to about my business who could help me. But suddenly I did. I found a whole room full of business owner peers who started giving me advice on decisions and plans and strategy. Plus, a great coach who followed up with me personally to make sure that everything ran the way I wanted.


How did this marvelous improvement come about? Simple, a friend of mine took me to a meeting of the Master-Mind Alliance run by a business coach named Richard Borough. I was amazed to see that I could be in a room full of successful small business owners just like me and guess what, they had many of the same issues I had; except for one big difference. With the input and advice they were receiving from the other members and the encouragement they were receiving from Richard, they were working to resolve their issues. Well, the light bulb came on. I wanted this input too. I realized about half way through that first meeting that the problems and struggles I was having running my business were not so unique. Heck, I was a normal small business owner.


A couple of days later I met privately with Richard and joined Master-Mind. And he and the Master-Mind Alliance members got me going with better strategy and all the rest of what I needed. What a wonderful thing.




If you own a business and you want to make more money and have a better business life, and of course you do, then why wait? Get with it. After all, you know it’s true. Financial control and the emotional comfort that goes with it is the holy grail of business ownership.


In my first year in Master-Mind I just about doubled my income. In my second year my income more than doubled and I started talking Fridays off. By year four my income had quadrupled, my employees were happier to be paid more, my wife quit her job that she never liked much, and we started taking vacations, two or three weeks at a time traveling all over the place, while my business, a medium sized architectural firm, with all the improvements I made, ran swimmingly and profitably without me. What could be better?


I kept my membership for years until I sold my business to two of my employees and retired. I could never had done that without the support of my fellow Master-Mind members and Richard.


I still talk with Richard via email and the occasional phone call from time to time. We became friends during my years in the program. He’s still one of my most trusted advisers.


The Master-Mind Alliance is great. But don’t just take my word for it. Read some testimonials from other members.




If you own a business, you know what I’m talking about. Financial control and the emotional comfort that goes with it, that’s the holy grail of business ownership. YES!!!


Look at my situation. I was bogged down in the details of running my business and didn’t have a clear picture of how to run it. I felt overwhelmed and was miserable way too much of the time. The most typical symptom of frustration I had was financial strain.


The money was good some of the time but not all of the time. Income was unpredictable, that worried me, a lot.


In retrospect, I now know that like so many small business owners I was an expert in my field, but not in running a business. I needed to know how to set up for and measure financial success and lasting control; otherwise, I knew I would surely never achieve it or the emotional comfort that goes with it.


If you feel like you are working too hard and profiting too little, you might actually be doing the right things, you just might need to be doing more of the right things in the right way. Evaluate your financial strategy to see if you are planning for profit and charting your growth.


And it’s never too late to do what is necessary and critical to achieve your goals, improve your bottom line and grow your business. I was 47 years old and had been in business for years before I met Richard, joined the Master-Mind Alliance, and started getting lasting financial control over my business. If Master-Mind could work for me it’ll work for anybody. The bottom line is – if you want to make more money and have a better business life, and of course you do, then why wait? Get with it. Call Richard Borough today.


If you’d like to know what other people think, read on.

Some of these results are truly amazing…….

“I asked Richard to look at my operation here at Horizon Business Products and in 20 minutes he found a way for me to make an additional ninety thousand dollars profit over the next twelve months. Wow, that’s amazing. Thank you, Richard.” ~Loene Gossett, Horizon Business Products, Fortuna, CA. Master-Mind Alliance member from 2016 to 2018


“Since I’ve been in the Master-Mind Alliance, I have been able to expand my business to a branch in another town, I don’t know if I would have had the ability to do that without their support.” ~Ron Biasca, Broadway Medical, member since July 2008


“Since I joined Master Mind, our business has tripled in volume, and it’s one of the best business decisions I have made in the last thirty years.” ~Leona Simpson, Sequoia Personnel Services, two-year member who then successfully sold her business and retired


“The Master Mind Alliance group led by Richard Borough has been a very rewarding experience for me in managing my business growth. It gives me the forum that I need to evaluate my strategic plans on a consistent basis. This allows me to be heavily located in my big picture objectives and gives me that extra bit of knowledge and confidence to make the most appropriate business decisions on a daily basis. Richard is a fantastic group facilitator, strategy coach, and a psychological specialist for entrepreneurs and business owners who operate in the extremely competitive arenas of today. You will see performance results beginning within yourself very quickly.” Kevin Wells, HumBooks, member since November 2017













Perseverance – What’s It All About Really?



Okay, sure, you know this word. You’ve probably used it in conversation with others more than once. Probably used it to describe something about yourself too. But, what does it really mean?


Martin E. P. Seligman, a noted researcher in personal attributes, asserts, “Unless you’re a genius, I don’t think you can ever out-achieve your competitors without a quality like perseverance.” In the business arena, I say he’s right.


In his book, “Sticking to It: The Art of Adherence,” author Lee L. Cohn, introduces the Adherence Equation. This is it: Focus x Competence x Passion = Adherence. In this equation, there are three success factors that high achievers’ practice. They continually: Sharpen their Focus, Build their Competence, and Ignite their Passion.


In other words, Win or Lose? You Choose.


The game of business is clearly won by those who persevere in execute their excellent strategies. Sticking to It is the first step to creating a sustainable competitive advantage for you and your team.


Challenges for leaders are always changing, but the formula for winning remains the same…focus on “how” more than on “what.” Strategy gets you in the game. Execution (that means behavior, what you say and what you do) gets you in the winner’s circle.  


A few tips from Cohn’s writing I like are these:


Worry wrecks your focus. Everyone worries … the trick is to minimize the time between your first worried thought and your first action to attack it.


Prepare for two steps ahead. Balance your focus on the task at hand with preparation for the next step. This prevents complacency. Ask yourself, “What knowledge, skills, relationships, experiences do I need to develop to be prepared to succeed?”


Create it once, use it many times. If you know you will perform a task more than once, create a checklist, a form, or a template to save time and improve your consistency over the long haul. No need to reinvent the wheel every time you perform your routine work.



Ask the right questions. The fastest way to change the answers you receive–from yourself and others–is to change the questions you ask. Asking the right questions will get you better answers whether you are asking them of yourself or of others. The questions you ask will either limit or expand the possible responses.


You gravitate to your dominant thought and you move toward that which you believe to be true. Use these natural forces to pick a goal that ignites your passion (you should feel the tingle up your spine!). Next, select an image, a word, or physical item like a coin or a key fob. Then, use the image, word or item you select as a constant reminder of your goal. It will trigger an emotional response, ingrain your goal into your mind, and get you more quickly moving toward your goal.


Listen to Yoda. In the immortal words of the Star Wars Jedi Master, “Do or do not. There is no ‘try.’” If you are nervous that a plan you have crafted won’t work, you might find yourself saying, “OK, I’ll try to do it.” But if that’s your mind set going in, you are laying the foundation for being unsuccessful from the beginning, giving yourself a way out. Yoda’s adage is a passionate reminder that life rewards those who let their actions rise above their excuses.


Always remember, you get what you expect. Expect the very best of yourself and of others. Great success is always rooted in great expectations.


So, does perseverance mean nothing in life or in business comes easy? Well, a lot of people think so. I happen to think otherwise.


I believe that once we know what we really truly want, where we want to get to, why we want to get there, and have a time frame in mind–in other words, once we have a clear vision of the future we want for ourselves personally and for our business–then perseverance is a natural occurrence. We persevere because that’s how we will joyfully get to where we want to get. The journey will be fun, even though sometimes we may need to struggle through.


I know that if I am persevering towards something about which I am passionate, I am on the right path. There is comfort in that for me. Tells me I’m being true to myself. So, bring on the next bit of perseverance, please.


















The Purpose of Life, Especially Business Life




What is the purpose of life? This is a great question, one that does not get asked enough and certainly does not get answered adequately enough. How does the purpose of life interact with and affect business ownership? Are these things related? Need they be? If they are… how so?


The purpose of life is to find and pursue our interests successfully. That’s what it’s all about. And when that is somehow prevented, all sorts of unhappiness, emotional misery, depression and even fits of rage can occur. Truly and undeniably, chronic, bone crushing frustration is a terrible thing. At work chronic frustration and low productivity is what often puts a business out of business, or even worse, cause a business owner to succumb to life’s greatest temptation which is to settle for less.



All of us have NEEDS and WANTS. We certainly do. When we get our needs satisfied we start going after our wants.


What do we NEED? We have two kinds.


First, we have physical or tangible NEEDS. We need breathable air, drinkable water, decent food, clothing, shelter, and health, both physical and mental, and a temperate climate, one that’s not too hot and not too cold and is free from radioactivity.


Second, we have emotional or intangible NEEDS. We need to feel competent, that we are good at something that matters to people, good enough and public enough that we are recognized for our talent and skill. We need to feel significant, that we make a difference. And we need to feel loved or at least lovable or at the very least, respected.


Everything else in life that we might seek or go after is a WANT, a desire, but not a need. And the getting or securing of some of the things we want helps us improve the quality and quantity of some of the things we need and generally get the more under our control as well.


Needs and wants, wants and needs, it’s a circularity type of thing.


So, what do we WANT? We want MONEY because money is instrumental in the getting of all things, both needs and wants. When we get money by working, we get success, recognition, respect and yes, even love sometimes because when we have enough money we can focus our attention on forming meaningful relationships.


Does purpose matter in our business life? Oh yeah, big time. We even have a special name for purpose when attached to a business. We call it MISSION.



After we get these things we want then we’re on the meaning trail. Do we get meaning from food? No. Do we get meaning from clothes? No. Some people say clothes make the man, but we don’t get meaning from clothes we just get fancy clothes. And shelter, well shelter can make us comfortable and maybe give us status, but it can’t give us meaning. Meaning is a consequence of the things we say and do. Meaning comes from the results generated by our behavior as we strive for success. Now we’re right back to the place we started.


Identifying and pursuing interests that we have—and doing so successfully—that’s what gives our life meaning. What we’re looking for is success, because success at something in which we have keen interest gives us meaning. We achieve success through behavior, things we say and things we do. So, in the end, it is success at things attached to our interest, that’s what we really want. That’s what gives us the feeling of competence and significance.




There are three reasons why we sometimes don’t achieve more success in our business. Reason number one: we have no strategic plan of any kind. Reason number two: we have a plan, but we don’t implement it. Reason number three: we implement our plan, but it does not work, does not make us enough money.


Think about the importance of a plan. If we get into our car and decide to drive to Florida, and we take no map or compass and we pay no attention to road signs and we never ask anyone for directions, we won’t ever get there. We’ll be lost forever. And yet people do this in the business all the time. They wander and ramble around aimlessly, haphazardly and wonder why they’re frustrated and considerably less than happy about their lack of positive results and success. For our business to succeed, we need a plan, we must implement our plan and our plan has to work. Common sense.


So how do we get more of what we want at work and in life too?


Author Brian Tracey, a guy I really like, wrote the following two paragraphs on this very subject in a newsletter to which I subscribe.


Have you been taught how to succeed? The most common question I’m asked is, “What’s the most important ingredient to success?” And my answer is ALWAYS the same: You need a strategic plan that works, and you must implement it successfully. According to, a strategic plan is a systematic process of envisioning a desired future and translating this vision into broadly defined goals or objectives and a sequence of steps to achieve them. So, do you have one?


Have you ever wondered how you can become more satisfied in life – how you can enjoy life more than ever? Well, simple clarity accounts for probably 80% of success and happiness. Lack of clarity is more responsible for frustration and underachievement than any other single factor. That’s why we say that SUCCESS IS GOALS AND ALL ELSE IS COMMENTARY. People with clear, written goals, accomplish far more in a shorter period of time than people without them could ever imagine. This is true everywhere and under all circumstances. You could even say that the three keys to high achievement are, Clarity, Clarity, Clarity, regarding your goals. Your success in life will be largely determined by how clear you are about what it is you really, really want.


Tracey is dead on right. To win in all our business activities we need goals and a decent game plan and clarity, and we must be able to successful implement our plans. Successful implementation matters in business and in sports and in life too. We must play well, everywhere, all the time.


“Play great or get beat.” ~Jim Harbaugh, former Head Coach of the San Francisco 49ers Football Team


How to play and therefore be better at everything: Set better goals, talk more convincingly, close more deals and make more money. It’s all about the thinking we do, the words we use, the helpful input we seek and accept, the persuasion tactics we employ and how well we formulate and execute strategy. We work on this stuff at every Master-Mind Alliance meeting and always will, because pursuing our interests and doing so successfully is what life is all about.

Is Your Business Running You?





There comes a time when you realize that your strategies are failing, that cash flow is lousy, that there is insufficient income and you have tried everything you can think of. You know you offer things for sale that people want and you’re still struggling while your competitors seem to be doing just fine.








The fix to that problem could be the $1,000,000 answer.

Let’s be clear on how to measure whether your business strategies are working. There is only ONE true measure: income. If your business is generating less income than you want, then your strategies must change. It’s that simple.


You know you have to have control over your results. You have to be able to market and sell more of what you offer. There has to be more money coming into your business. It should be so much easier than it is.


You feel frustrated and kind of angry about this.




There are Three Facts that characterize the business life of all small business owners.


Fact #1: You want predictable control of your operation – especially your sales growth and profits. To have that, your goal securing strategies must work. When they do you can have unlimited prosperity and the satisfaction of running your business your way. After all, being in charge is one of the main reasons why you chose to run your own business instead of working for someone else. Therefore, you must have better strategies.


Fact #2: You want to work and live with confidence, competence and independence because without that – life sucks!


Fact #3: If you are sick and tired enough of feeling less than totally in charge of your business…that’s great because that’s a starting place for change to enter your life.




Once you discover the secrets of controlling your business – rather than having your business control you – then peace and prosperity can be yours.


For more than 30 years, we have been helping business owners, just like you, gain the control they seek and become financially free using superior planning and operational strategies that make everything better.


Give us an hour of your time and we’ll help you understand exactly where the problem is and how to start making the right moves to change course and to get your business and yourself on the Path to Prosperity and Happiness.

We’ll even show you three things you can do right now to get yourself on the right track.


Our clients typically double or triple their business income as a direct consequence of working with us to find and apply business strategies that work.









Measurable Progress in Reasonable Time



Big True Fact: Experiencing proof of your progress and achievement will spur you on to even greater success! Every time. Yup, yup, yup.


Something we discuss at every Master-Mind Alliance meeting is — are members making measurable progress in reasonable time? One of the goals of Master-Mind Alliance is that members make progress that can be measured by counting something or concretely observing something substantial. We want every member to make noticeable steady progress, to keep getting better, to approach that DONE Business Ideal and upon reaching that goal to enjoy it and, of course, to sustain it.


Since measurable progress matters so much we talk about and plan for it and encourage all the appropriate behavior to make it happen throughout our entire group meeting. And it feels really good to experience this from one month to the next month when we meet again.


Human beings like feeling that progress, growth, new understanding, learning and such is happening. These things feel good. The opposite of these things — stagnation, frustration and being totally stuck – causes stress and unhappiness and misery which no one wants.


We know how to make the operation of any viable small business highly successful. You just have to do enough of the things that are known to work. Those things are not a secret. We talk about them and share experiences using them at each and every Master-Mind Alliance meeting.

Lombardi Rules




Without a doubt Vince Lombardi was a larger than life figure. As head coach of the Green Bay Packers Football Team from 1959 to 1967 he led the Packers to 6 NFL Championships and victories in the first two Super Bowls. He knew how to lead and motivate and love his players.


The book above is designed to enhance employee performance. And I’m sure that folks to use it as such have success with the principles and rules described in it.


As a business owner, here are a few of Lombardi’s Rules I hope you will consider.

1. Ask yourself tough questions.

2. Look the truth straight on.

​3. Play to your strengths.

4. Write your character.

5. Think big picture.

6. Be completely committed.

7. Work harder than anyone else.

8. Be prepared to sacrifice.


In truth, you probably already do a lot if not all of these things. The list just acts as reinforcement. And these are only 8 of the 26 lessons from Vince. The rest are in the book.




Marketing: Make Yours Work Better – Another Look


About seven months ago I wrote a piece on this topic. This is a second look, a different look.


What is the most effective, most inexpensive, most personal way to market your offerings you’ve found to work for your business so far?


What is that that thing you do that attracts prospective buyers to you every time you do it and results in profitable new or repeat sales?


What method, modality or avenue makes sales happen in your business?


To win consistently in your business you must figure this out.


Let’s look a bit deeper? What’s one thing you’d like to focus your marketing or selling more of right now?


1. What’s the compelling benefit customers or clients would enjoy when they buy that?


2. What positive emotions go with that benefit?


3. What words and/or images and/or sounds take and hold people’s attention to that benefit?


4. What supportive testimonials do you have for proof?

To make more money as soon as possible your marketing needs to work splendidly.


Big true fact and no secret either, most business owners have no marketing plan, nothing written, no measurement system, no testing strategy, nothing. Most do not even have testimonials from satisfied customers or clients.


Where should you start? Well, it would be wise to answer a few elemental marketing questions such as the following.


1. What do you sell?


2. What are the benefits? What’s your proof?


3. Who are your buyers?


4. Why should people buy from YOU?


5. What’s your Compelling Marketing Message?


6. What are your options for attracting people?


7. How much can you afford to spend on marketing?


8. How much of your time can you spend on marketing? What should be your marketing schedule?


9. How will you track results?


10. What’s missing? How can you close the gaps?


To start down the path to more money making, start generating answers to these questions right now. WRITE THEM DOWN.


Instead of spending a lot of your money on advertising, invest your time instead. Put on an event. There are some costs associated with this but not as much as a full page yellow pages ad.


Conduct a survey at your front counter or over the phone.


Cross sell and up sell. You should be doing this all the time already.


Offer incentives to current customers and clients.


Solicit recommendations.


And systematically go after referrals.


All these activities ought to personally involve YOU and ought to be performed and evaluated systematically.


Remember, marketing is everything you do in your business and it must work or you will not be happy. It’s not rocket science. It takes careful planning and systematic implementation. And even though you probably did not go to school to learn marketing, you can still master it.


To Win, Make It Personal, Inexpensive, And Keep At It.


Dealing With Business Stress


Bone Crushing Business Stress – resulting from unresolved acute or chronic problems, and/or weak strategies, and/or missing or inadequate operational systems – can wreak havoc over your business life. In truth, if left unchecked, bone crushing business stress can destroy the success of any enterprise or organization.


However – with the correct intervention – consisting of better strategies, better systems, better behavior, and a sparklingly clear and well communicated vision of where you want to go and how you intend to get there – your business stress can be significantly reduced, all the way down to manageable levels. Then your path to success can be straight ahead and unencumbered. It’s up to you to make this happen and we can help if you like.




In your work, what is your most frequent cause of stress? Be specific. Something triggers your stress. What is it? What is the underlying source or cause of your stress? Right before your start feeling stressed, what is going on? Is it always the same thing? Do you deal with that thing in the same way every time? What works and what does not? Would it help reduce the tension and lower your stress if your operational strategies worked better? Which ones need to be made to work better?


The cure for business owner stress is better strategy. Avoid or delay applying the cure and eventually you will fall victim to life’s greatest temptation which is to settle for less because the stress overcomes you or worse, it totally crushes your entrepreneurial spirit.


Better strategy means you must resolve all those acute and/or chronic unresolved pesky problems and find a way to resolves new ones when they crop up as they inevitably will most certainly do.


So how to you solve a business problem? We’ll first you define it clearly. Then you share it with someone else to see if what you’re thinking makes sense to other people. Then with fresh input, either from within your own mind or from conversation with others who are able to understand because they’ve been there, you apply a potential solution and see what happens.


Isolate and deal with the stressor, remove it, crush it or work around it.


Why did you start your business?  Take it down to be happy, then ask how happy are you now? What would it take to make you deliriously happy?


So…if you feel overly stressed too often, and if you want help to make it go away…you know who to call. I will help you. I will. 707-268-8691



Scoreboard Time, How We Doing So Far?





Alright folks, where are we? What’s the score so far this year? Are we ahead, are we behind, or are we right on target? If behind, why? What’s standing in our way?


It’s June. There are seven months yet to go this year. If you need to pick up the pace and get more done and earn more money, what’s needed? How can you make that happen?


MORE, LESS, START, STOP BETTER & WHAT’S THE BEHAVIOR? These are the essential performance boosting questions.


  • What do I need to do more often?
  • What do I need to do less often?
  • What do I need to start doing?
  • What do I need to stop doing?
  • What do I need to do better?
  • What’s the better behavior I need?


TIME IS RUSHING BY. Let’s briefly pause and assess your situation, check the score. Let’s see how much money you’ve brought in and how much of that will you get to keep.


Back in January you revisited your VISION for the next two to five years. You decided where you wanted to take your business and how you would get there. You wrote that down (hopefully). And you set some sensible goals. You wrote them down too (hopefully). Stemming from your vision and goals, you made achievement plans. You revisited your strategies and your operational systems by which you run your business. You gave close attention to your marketing and fulfillment strategies as those are the most important ones. Then you did your best to implement your plans and live up to your Vision.


So now, take a piece of paper and analyze your performance to date. Make some notes. If need be, then revise your plans and your top money-making behavior before the rest of the year gets away from us. Or, if things are great just do more of what’s already working well.


















The 5 Minute Rule



We like positive habits. We don’t like negative habits. Positive habits are good. Negative habits are bad. Everyone understands this. We also know that we don’t like wasting time when we’re trying to be productive. I’m not talking about procrastinating, that’s a subject for another article and I have a great deal to say about that. I’m talking about distractions, going pulled off on a tangent or being interrupted. Distractions that take our attention off something we consider important abound. In fact, life is one great big hailstorm of distractions…and they can ruin an otherwise productive day or string of days. Ugh!


The 5 Minute Rule is a Get-R-DONE Habit designed to keep you on the path to success every day. Here’s how it works.


A few times a day, you stop what you’re doing, pause, take five minutes, and ask yourself this question. What Am I Doing? If the answer is—just what I want to be or should be or planned to be doing—then keep on doing that. But if your answer is—something urgent but not important, or I’m chasing something that has distracted me and working on it is keeping me from being productive, from pursuing what will make my day today a success—then stop doing that thing and refocus your attention and concentration on the important things you have to do or should do with the rest of your day.


This simple little habit can be one of the best focusing and re-prioritizing routines you’ve ever embraced.


Now, here’s what some people do make this work splendidly. We all have computers and many of us have smart phones. It is eminently possible to make these devices remind us, with a friendly beep, when it’s time for an appointment or some such thing. So, I recommend you set your computer or smart phone to beep you twice a day, at 10:30 AM and 2:30 PM. The beep is your cue to stop what you’re doing and ask yourself the What Am I Doing Question.


The rest is easy, refocus and get more done that day.



What do I want? Why do I want that? Where am I going with my life? Where am I going with my business? How can I know if I am on the right path for me? How can I be certain about any of this?


Jim Rohn said it well. “Goals are important for a genuinely success-oriented person. Without them, you’re just playing around. The difference between a goal-directed individual and someone without goals is like the difference between a Wimbledon champion and a kid batting a tennis ball around on a court with no net, no opponent to bring out the best in him and no way of keeping score.”


He also said that by answering five questions you can figure out who you are.


Rohn’s five questions:

1. What do I want to do?

2. Who do I want to be?

3. What do I want to see?

4. What do I want to have?

5. Where do I want to go?


I’m fond of Rohn’s five questions, but I like my six better:

1. What do I want?

2. Why do I want that?

3. Where am I going with my life?

4. Where am I going with my business?

5. How can I know if I am on the right path for me?

6. How can I be certain about any of this?


Question is, how can you answer these questions in the most powerful and effective way? And perhaps much more to the point, how can you keep the clarity you need to carry on? Well, the Bible says, “Where there is no vision, the people parish.” So apparently you gotta have vision — and that’s clarity.


Bit True Fact: To some degree or other, every individual struggles with the decision of what to do in life. There are some people that for as long as they remember, have wanted to be a teacher or a doctor or work on Wall Street. Most, however, find themselves wondering where they actually want to be in five, ten or even twenty years down the road. And this is normal.


And sure enough, every time you’re sure you’ve figured it out, something comes along and makes you question your purpose all over again. This is normal too.


Here are the things I know to be true for just about everyone. We all want to do work we are passionate about. We want to wake up every day and not grudgingly sigh about having to go to our job. We want to do something that we will excel at because it’s something we love and something that utilizes our strengths. And of course, our main goal is to be happy, to be satisfied with our life choices.


These all sound delightful, but how are we going to ensure we achieve these objectives? And of course, another Big True fact: There are no guarantee that the path we choose will supply us with definite happiness.


Let’s see if we can add something helpful to this quandary. That something might be better question asking.


CLARITY IS THE KEY. Learning the process of becoming clear by asking yourself the right questions, and the right follow-up questions, and by making the asking and checking in with yourself a routine habit, insures that when you temporarily lose clarity, which you will from time to time, that you can get it back in short order.

You get clarity by asking yourself questions and by making the task of asking yourself certain questions a habitual and frequent routine.


But first here are a few questions about questions and questioning.


What goes on in your mind when you ask a question?


Why are questions so effective in getting you to revise or change your behavior?


Have you noticed what’s been going on in your brain as you’ve been reading? Have you seen how your brain is forcing your mind to take, or at least contemplate, taking action of some sort? This is the power of questions.


Of course, the content of the questions you ask yourself about yourself matters too. There are some best questions to ask yourself. You’ve already read some of them above: What do I want? Why do I want that? Where am I going with my life? Where am I going with my business? What are my core values?


These are powerful clarifying questions you can ask yourself. And by writing down your answers, and keeping the answers in front of you, and revisiting them from time to time, you will gain (or regain) sparklingly clear clarity. What a concept.


Now then, to maintain clarity in the long run, you must ask and answer and record and revisit your answers to these kinds of questions at a frequency that makes sense. My recommendation is once a month.


CLARITY: Know who you are. Know what you want and why you want that. Know how to get it. Go get it! Then know where to go next.


Ask and answer the questions that produce clarity and these things may be what you get. A more successful business life. A more successful personal life. More fulfilling relationships. More happiness. If you are truly interested in these outcomes, then precision with the clarity process is the key. So, get to it. Start today. Start right now.


Routines – They Are You!


Every day, all the time, you are either thinking, dreaming, scheming, wishing, or saying and doing things. This is all behavior. Your behavior defines you as a person, an individual, a unique human being. Doing these things well at work matters a lot, a whole lot. Sadly and unnecessarily, for some, making this happen is a constant source of frustration.

At your work there are certain things that you say and certain things that you do that make things happen, that benefit your clients/customers, employees, partners, yourself, your business and even your community.

The things you say and do regularly and repeatedly, because they are essential to your success at work, can be divided into two categories. Things you CHECK ON and things you DO (including talking). In the Master-Mind Alliance World, we call these Checking On Behaviors and these Doing Behaviors “ROUTINES.” And for success to be attained and maintained, these crucial behaviors must be mastered and continually improved.

When people come into the program they sometimes have way too many things that they check on and do. We encourage everyone to do an audit of their ROUTINES, to examine and filter and boil down and streamline their ROUTINES to the few essentials, a more manageable number of activities. The people who have way too many things going on must go through this audit and streamline procedure because only afterwards is it possible for them to achieve mastery of their now more reasonable number of ROUTINES. No one can personally master fifty separate ROUTINES. Three to five or six ROUTINES is a much more reasonable number. An audit of your ROUTINE Checking On and Doing Behaviors is a logical and useful place to start yourself on the road to a DONE Business.

A DONE Business is the grand goal, the top level, the ultimate accomplishment, for once achieved and maintained, business owner nirvana occurs. And that is ABSOLUTELY SPLENDID.





The Power of Your Words



Author Rudyard Kipling said, “Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.”



Big Fat Truth: Words can change everything in a split second. Words can change our thoughts, our hearts, our minds, our world – and even others’ worlds. Words change the world.



The question I want you to think about is…how important are the words you use in your life, and especially in your business-life?



Here’s the thing. Your words can be a very powerful and effective tool. Then can send messages, convey information, praise, outline ideas, share thoughts, inspire, unite, direct, empower, prompt action, stop action, help you connect with customers, assist in negotiation and, ultimately, help you build your business and keep it flourishing. Or your words can do the opposite. They can discourage, divide, anger, criticize, misguide, mislead, confuse, create misunderstanding, suspicion, and chaos. That’s why it’s vital to pick your words wisely. Empires, governments, businesses, relationships and careers rise and fall because of words.



Think about your marketing activities? Do your marketing messages convey images and thoughts and emotions? Do the sounds and sights used in your marketing messages evoke meaning in people’s minds? Do words have anything to do with that? Sure.  And…in all your communications understanding matters a lot. That’s why it is especially important to make sure the people who hear or read the words you use in your marketing message properly understand the meaning you intend them to convey. Understanding matters and misunderstanding certainly happens, and that can be disastrous.



And think about when trying to get a disengaged employee back on track? Do your words matter then? Gosh yes. Simply saying, “Hey, Steve, get it together” probably will have no long term positive effect. But saying something like the following might. “Steve, I know you can do better and that needs to happen quickly. You have the skills and the know-how, so what will it take for you to be more involved?”



Now just listen to the difference in these phrases: “What do you want?” vs. “How may I help you?” “Look on my website” vs. “Let me take this opportunity to answer that for you.” “Let’s meet and talk” vs.  “I’d like to get together to explore ideas.” “Sorry” vs. “Please accept my apology.”



On a personal level, think of the power of your words as an echo. Whatever you put out will come back to you. For example, whatever follows “I am” ______ (tired, unlucky, stupid, brilliant.) will come back looking for you.



Both positive and negative thoughts become the conduit to the “I am” phrase. When we say (and thereby hear) the words we invite those qualities to come into our lives. When we constantly talk about negativity, lack, or defeat, our own words will pave the way for defeat and failure.



When you say, “I am so tired,” you may actually become more tired. To change that, you won’t necessarily say “I feel wonderful” (when you don’t) – however, “I will be refreshed soon” or “I’m looking forward to getting my second wind,” might work.

In summary, your words have more power than you think.  Don’t believe me.  Try this exercise.  For the next 48 hours, only speak positive things.  If someone asks you how you’re doing, tell him or her in an energetic tone, “I’m doing really well.  How about you?” instead of your usual, “I guess I’m all right,” even if you’re running on fumes.  If that negative family member comes around asking how your business is doing, tell him or her, “It’s going great” and why it’s going so well, even if you just launched a new initiative and are waiting to see how that plays out.  If you can do this for 48 hours, you can do it for 72.  Just keep going and watch your positive words bring positive life to your business.



Please choose your words carefully, get better results and be happier.






Turning Your List Items Into Victory



When you want to get something done, how important is it to specify the time you are going to start?


Turns out Precision and Specificity are mighty helpful when listing things to get done. Researchers have found that even chronic procrastinators are eight times more likely to follow through on planned for tasks if they set a specific time to start them.


In “Be Excellent at Anything,” author Tony Schwartz illustrates this point.


A group of subjects was asked to exercise at least once a week for twenty minutes. Certainly not a daunting task, yet only 29% complied. Another group was also asked to exercise but they were provided information on the impact exercise plays in reducing heart attacks. This, of course, was a ploy to motivate them. Compliance rose to 39%. A third group was asked to commit to exercising at a specific time, on a specific day, and designated location. Compliance more than doubled to 91%! Wow!


Why does this work? When we define precisely what we’re going to do, then specify a time to start we’re more likely to actually do it. And, we’re far less likely to suddenly “discover” there is something else that is more pleasurable or easier to do instead of our intended task.


Think about a To Do List in which you didn’t specify when you would do any of the tasks. Perhaps you created your list the evening before you left work. Then the next morning, suddenly the tyranny of the urgent, along with the pull of your old previous habits, overpowered you. You looked at your list and said, “I can do that, that, and that later, maybe this afternoon.” Later, you looked at your list again and told yourself, “I really don’t have time to do any of these things today. I’ll do them tomorrow.”


So what’s the solution?


Simple: Give yourself no leeway in the start time. Make an appointment with yourself to start the work you have on your list at a specified time. If a phone call or conversation is running long, say to the other person, “I’m sorry I have another appointment, can we continue this later?”


When you set and adhere to a schedule with specific times to start things, right down to your family commitments, the activities not only expand to fill the time allotted to them, they also contract to fit within the time allotted. To make this work for you, the following tactics are recommended:


Precision and Specificity: Define precisely what you plan to undertake — and specify exactly when you will get started. The more physically, mentally or emotionally challenging the task, the greater the need to be precise and specific about the start time.


Doable Chewables: Undertake only one task at a time. Start small and build on incremental successes as you go through your list of things to do each day.


Now common sense tells us these are good ideas, right? So why don’t we get with it and start achieving more? Because life interferes, we get distracted. It’s a constant struggle to minimize our distractions and use the precious time we have wisely. But to win, we gotta work smarter. And, yup, we can do that.

Got Motivation?


All my life I have been interested in motivation, why I think, say and do things. I have this interest about other people too of course. I want to know what makes them tick. And that’s motivation. To help me figure this out I have found it useful to draw on the work of three prominent psychiatrists, Sigmund Freud, Alfred Adler and Viktor Frankl. Each if these giants in their chosen field of medicine, neurology and psychiatry, have extensively expounded their own theory of psychology as it applies to human motivation, what drives people to act, to think, say and do things.

Sigmund Freud (1856–1939) said life is all about the will to pleasure. His theory of Psychoanalysis postulated that people seek to find and enjoy pleasure and to avoid pain, that this is instinctive, a biological and psychological need, the driving force in all of us.

Alfred Adler (1870-1937) a contemporary of Freud, says not that’s not it. Humans are driven by something completely different. Influence by Nietzschean doctrine, Adler’s Individual Psychotherapy postulated the will to power, that all people act to become more powerful or influential over their environment, the people and things that surround them. Adler believed that humans will say and do just about anything to avoid feeling inferior.

Viktor Frankl (1905-1997) developed something altogether different again. Frankl’s Logotherapy postulated the will to meaning. For Frankl, striving to find meaning in life is the primary, most powerful motivating and driving force in humans. This is what motivates all human thought, speech and action.

So, who has the best theory? It is to seek pleasure and avoid pain that motivates us? Is it the intent to be more effective, more powerful, more influential? Or, are we primarily motivated by the need to attach meaning to what we think, say and do?

I believe it is a combination of all these things. Or more precisely, I believe we are motivated by each of these three so called “wills” at different times depending upon what is going on in our inner world, in combination with the circumstances that are present in the world outside of us from moment to moment.

Take the typical small business owner. There are times when Freud’s will to pleasure stimulates thought and action, for example, when the desire for a vacation become the most prominent driving force. The person needs to escape the hum drum every day (a little pain) and to derive some enjoyment (pleasure) and relaxation by sitting on a warm far off beach with a loved one.

But there are other times when the same business owner will be motivated by Adler’s desire to become more effective, for example, to market and sell more products and services more profitably. In this situation, the will to power is the prime motivator. Being highly effective is an ever present paramount need for any business owners of course. That’s how it is with business.

And what about the will to meaning, Frankl’s stuff? Surely, when putting forth a new strategy or a hopefully better plan of action, it is supremely helpful (and in my mind, necessary) to know with great clarity, why one is pursuing a new course of action. After all, there will be energy expended and potentially some financial cost factors to consider with new actions, so it can be good to think carefully about “the why” before embarking down new path.

The three wills: for pleasure, for power and for meaning drive us. Perfectly natural and normal if we think about it. Human nature is human nature.

Some of my readers know that my father was a psychiatrist and a neurologist too. Two medical specialties because, like Freud, Adler and Frankl, my dad never did anything small. He practiced big time medicine in three states simultaneously. That was my dad. And perhaps you can imagine what our dinnertime conversations might have been like. “What do you do in school today son? Why did you do that? How did that make you feel? How did such and such work out for you.” Yes, it was interesting.

I have met in my time a few other individuals whose fathers or mothers were psychiatrists and with each have commiserated about what it was like as a child to be oft times focus of psychiatric attention and the dinner table. We eventually would agree that we grew great strength from surviving these frequent ordeals at home.

My dad was an Adlerian psychiatrist, a devotee of Alfred Adler, so he was always focused on what I was doing or not doing about becoming more powerful. In my school years, our conversations were about getting good grades, something about which I cared not a wit. Until I became a junior in college and could finally choose which courses to take, I always hated school, found it boring and unstimulating and revolting. When at last I could chart my own academic course, well, this was my will to power and my desire to seek pleasure and to avoid the pain of being told what to do in action. The why mattered a great deal to me as well.

Today, in my role as a psychologist and business strategist and coach and advisor, I see each of these three wills in action virtually every day. I find the will to meaning or the why very useful. For when the why is clear and strong, all that follows, the specifics about how to do things and the application of behavior, the saying and doing parts of an action plan, becomes much easier.

And I love my work dearly. Thanks dad for often saying “I don’t care what you do in your life. Just be sure you enjoy it because you will be doing it for a long time.” Good advice then and now.

Complacency Will Kill Your Business






Airplanes rarely crash and burn. Airplane pilots operate super complex machinery, often under very tough weather conditions and yet, the probability of a plane crashing and burning is exceedingly low. It’s so rare that if a plane does crash, or even has a rough landing, it’s reported in the news.


Hundreds of small businesses crash and burn every day. And the reason for this difference is simple.


Pilots have a huge advantage over most business owners. Pilots are trained to operate by looking at a dashboard…and they know what key performance indicators (KPIs) they need to observe at all times to operate the plane. Having KPIs and looking at them inoculates pilots against ignorance and faulty decisions. And…pilots have someone outside of the plane talking to them during their takeoff and landing. Their on-the -ground-person is an air traffic controller.


It would be comical to expect any pilot to fly without having a dashboard, even if it’s a single engine plane much less a commercial jet. Likewise, it would be ridiculous for an airline pilot not to be connected to an air traffic controller, who is essentially another supplier of vital KIPs, and a sounding board about everything flying related.


On the other hand, many business owners don’t operate from a business dashboard. They rarely know what KPIs to use, much less which ones to focus on depending on the situation. This condition often leads to decision making being based on emotions vs. data, which can have disastrous results.


And, small business owners rarely have any sort of air traffic controller person talking to them and helping them make decisions and plans.




It’s out there right now. Lurking in the shadows of your success. You may know nothing about it, maybe have never heard about it. But it’s there hiding where you least expect to find it. It is the silent business killer that strikes without warning and can bring even the biggest and the brightest companies to their knees. What is this hidden terror of which I speak? In a word – COMPLACENCY.


Dictionary definition: Complacency is a feeling of quiet satisfaction or security, often while unaware of some potential danger, defect, or the like; self-satisfaction or smug satisfaction with an existing situation or condition.


Don’t think it can happen? It does, every day. It happens to small businesses. It happens to the big and mighty. It cares not of your size, length in business, or otherwise.


Complacency will quickly take you to a place where you are simply not aware of just how bad things are or are getting…to the place where you don’t appreciate the level and extent of the challenges you face or how to overcome them.


Complacency is a dangerous mental state. Left unresolved, it often can, and usually does, lead to small business failure.




First and foremost, be accountable to someone outside the inner loop who understands business and can help you avoid pitfalls and overcome obstacles to unlimited success. Hire a business coach and/or join a Mastermind Group. Never fly blind.


Second, work for daily small successes as they lead to bigger ones.


Third, start celebrating your progress and you’ll begin to notice the increase in your mental energy.


Fourth, hang around people who make a lot more money than you do. Big True fact: Your income will tent to be the average of the ten closest people with whom you associate. Birds of a feather really do flock together.


Fifth, never sit and wait for your “if only” moment. Avoid complacently always. It is essential to the long-term longevity of your enterprise.


Big fat Truth: You won’t find complacency in a small business owner who has a clear strong vision, up to date operational and growth plans and goals, plus good data and someone to talk to about those things.


Remember, complacency does not exist in the cockpit of an airplane. And there is no place for it in your small business either. Accountability keeps complacency at bay. Make it happen.


Creating Fierce Employee Loyalty


As a business owner is it vital that you have loyal and productive employees. Obviously and consistently demonstrating your involvement in the success and well-being of every employee is the key. And well run One On One meetings with your people are an essential element in making that happen.




Employees withhold their loyalty to you, withhold their best effort, or worse, abruptly leave your company, when you don’t communicate well enough and/or are afraid to give genuine and sincere feedback.


Big Fat Truth: You can’t buy engagement or loyalty. You must create those things. And you can. And once you do, your people will be both fiercely loyal and highly productive…if…they fully support your sparklingly clear vision of where your business is going and how you intend to get it there.


To build fierce loyalty and intense productivity you need to create the right opportunities for your people. You need to develop them and to give them interesting work.


You must communicate with them. This needs to be two-way. You need to listen as well as just talking to them, as this shows your respect, builds trust and openness. Then, you must take some measure of visible action based upon the wishes for change and improvement they express to you.


You need to appreciate your people. According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, Esteem is one of our most basic needs. You can help fulfil this in your people by giving your team members praise for a job well done, as everyone likes and need to feel genuinely appreciated. It’s hard to overdue this.


You need to inspire your people to find their own level of motivation as motivation comes from within a person. You inspire the development of motivation by creating a positive environment where your people can be successful and by supporting them, but most of all…by sharing a compelling vision of where you are going as a business and how you will get there. A sparklingly clear and compelling Vision Statement is a must have.


If you can do these things, your people can be genuinely loyal and highly productive, and they will fervently speak highly of you, their boss.




Utilize One On One interactions – 20 to 30 minutes every month – in which you ask some of the key questions I’ve outlined below.


One On Ones are all about your people and building a strong, trusting relationship with them. Asking the right questions and following through on what you talk about will build a strong, lasting relationship for each member of your team.




Beyond flashy perks and novel benefits, how can an organization show employees the kind of care that ultimately converts to loyalty and productivity? Consider the following.




Can you define your company culture? If you can’t sum it up in a few words, chances are your people don’t relate to it, and therefore don’t feel close to your company.


Do you have tools and resources that empower your people with effective ways to accomplish their tasks and duties? Do you provide tangible value to your people in exchange for the efforts they must put forth?




Technology improves your ability to deliver quality training and education, and helps you track performance and identify ways to improve. Your employees want tools that will help them grow and develop as part of your team.


Do you have the systems in place to support individual and team performance across an entire operational cycle of your enterprise, systems that support targeted training and improve results?






















VISION, SAM & POP – Keys to Victory


You want to have the best year ever in your business. Okay, but how? What’s the process to make that happen?


You begin the path to victory by creating a written Vision Statement, a paragraph or two describing where you want to take your business this year, what you want for your business. Then you decide upon a few goals you will need to accomplish so your Vision can come true. Your goals will need to be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time bound.


Next you need a Practical Tactical Plan of action that you will follow. Your PTP must describe exactly what you and others will be saying and doing in the regular and routine operation of your business in order that you can get you what you say you want.


Your PTP must also describe the Strategies and the Systems you will utilize in pursuit of your goals. What are these things exactly? A Strategy is a plan of action designed to secure a certain goal. A System is a set of procedures by which something is to be done.


Very important: the Strategies and Systems you plan to use must be tested – either by you or by someone else – so that you can be confident that they will work.


Now think SAM – Systems + Accountability + Motivation.


To get you what you say you want you must utilize External Accountability from a person who will follow up with you and make sure you are doing what you are supposed to do.


And – if sufficient Motivation is not present, nothing significant will happen. RESULTS require Motivation. Big RESULTS require BIG Motivation. So, start there. Go back to your Vision Statement and write another paragraph stating WHY you want what it describes. The WHY is your motivation.


Motivation must come before Strategy/Systems and Accountability.


Now then, finally we come to this. If none of this stuff is written down what is it? I don’t know but it’s not a plan. And what’s likely to happen if it’s not written down? Nothing much.


Think POP – PUT ON PAPER. Write it down. Share it with your accountability partner.


Always remember, it’s your business. You are in charge. You can win big or…not. Your choice. Please choose wisely. 

We Can Do Anything


One of the oldest rivalries in college football is between University of Southern California in Los Angeles, California and the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana. It just so happens that I grew up in South Bend and my family had season tickets the Notre Dame games. I was a big fan. We went to all the home games and I knew about the USC rivalry. So, when we went to the USC games, I played close attention to everything that happened. And at one of these games, my life changed.



Somewhere, during the first half, the USC running back made a nice first down and time out was called. During that time out, the play-by-play announcer just casually happened to mention that the USC running back was an Academic All-American… who also had the distinction of graduating from his high school at age 15. Then he started USC the fall of that year. I was 8 years old at the time, so I found that very interesting. But that wasn’t the end of the story. The announcer went on to say that this young man had already finished all of his academic graduation requirements and had entered into medical school at USC. So, while he was on the football team he was also going to medical school—at the same time! I was flabbergasted, dumfounded, literally stunned! Here’s why.


My father, grandfather, grandmother and one of my uncles were all physicians. For years I had heard stories about how hard, extremely stressful and all-consuming it was to get into and then graduate from medical school. For me then the idea of playing on a football team while going to medical school at the same time seemed impossible to me. How could anyone do that? I could hardly manage elementary school and I didn’t play any sport.


Well, suffice to say I was fascinated about this. And although I had no name for it, didn’t know what to call it, at that moment my interest in the concept we now call Peak Performance and the Psychology of Achievement began. And I wanted to know more about this stuff.


I left the stadium that day feeling challenged. I wanted to look at my life and see if I could do any more than just muddle along like I’d always done. Could I possibly be really good at something? This is what I asked myself for the first time.


A few weeks later I started my first business. But that’s a story for another time. 


THE LESSON HERE IS YES, WE CAN DO GREAT THINGS. We have to understand, as I did thanks to that football game experience long ago, that if other people can do great things—can excel to great heights, achieve mastery over something, do wonderful things in sports or business or any facet of life—if others can do it, we might be able to do it too. At a minimum, we can always to better. This is what I learned at that football game on a cold winter day in South Bend when I was just a kid. And I’ve never forgotten it.

The VISION Thing


What exactly is vision? Vision in a business is a statement of where you are going, how you will get there and, very important, why you want to get to that particular place. Everything you do in your business ought to be driven from the inspiration and power of a clear and widely shared Vision Statement.


Anytime is a good time to revisit, revise and strengthen your business vision. But the end of the year, or the start of a new year, is an especially good time to do this.


Should you wish to create a Vision Statement for your business here are two questions to answer.


1. WHAT & WHERE – Exactly what is it you most want from your business right now? Where do you want your business to be a year from now?


This follow-up question can get you started with an answer. “If you could wave a magic wand around your business and change or improve anything about it, what would you change?”


It is crucial that you describe in detail exactly what it is that you want, and in plain language. It’s helpful to answer this question as if you were speaking to a child.


Of course, you need to write down your answer. Put it aside for a day or two then come back to it, read it out loud, see if it suits you. Once you are happy with what you have, then go to the next question.


2. WHY – Why do you want that? How will having what you want help make your business-life and your life in general better, more fulfilling, and more satisfying?


Answer this question as if you were talking to someone who knows little or nothing about you or your business.


Once you clarify the “why” then and only then can you proceed to do the rest of your planning for growth and increased profitability. You see, the “why” is your motivation, your HUNGER – as in an overwhelming intense desire to achieve – and that must come from within.


Create your Vision Statement. Share it with your employees and partners. Then start setting some new goals and make plans to achieve them. It’ll be great.


Marketing – Make Yours Work Better



It is true that if you put your offer forward, out into the market place, eloquently enough, your stuff will sell big time. But, if you’re like most small business people, you do not have a college degree in marketing. So, what are you to do? You certainly want to sell more stuff. But how? What are your best marketing options, the ones that will make your marketing work better?


When you can SHOW your target market that what you do solves a problem, makes their life easier or gives them pleasure in some way, sales will happen, and your business will take off.


But if that’s not happening for you now, here are some underlying causal factors that may be holding you back.


  • No written marketing plan
  • No clearly identified target ideal customer or client
  • Offer is vague
  • Offer is not compelling
  • No measurement or accountability
  • Not enough time or money budgeted
  • Poorly organized
  • No follow-through
  • Too often caught up in the tyranny of the urgent
  • Don’t know how to talk (negotiate) to close enough sales


Any one of these things can kill your marketing before you start. If you have one of these issues or more than one going on, then you’ve found your place to begin making improvements.


Bottom line, your marketing message must do three things. First, it must CAPTURE ATTENTION. There’s a reason why people will spend thousands of dollars on a TV commercial or on a logo design. These things must instantly grab the attention of whoever sees, hears or experiences them in some fashion.


Second, your marketing message must CLARIFY. It must show what’s unique or special or how what you offer will help or solve a problem or give pleasure to the buyer.


Third, your marketing message must COMPEL. It must be crafted in such a way as to make it so some people, hopefully a lot of people, respond to it by calling or by coming in or by emailing or by visiting your website and eventually, again hopefully, buying from you sooner rather than later.


If the topic “Marketing – Make Yours Work Better” is of interest to you, and you’d like to attend the December meeting of the Master-Mind Alliance® as a guest and listen to what we have to say about all this, call us and we’ll make it happen. Who knows, it could change your life.


To attend a meeting with us just call me at 707-268-891.


When Good Plans Are Poorly Implemented




Life’s a bitch is a slang phrase used to state a condition or a feeling that occurs after an unpleasant or unfortunate event. The word “bitch” is intended to describe the way that life jumps out and bites you in the butt at an inconvenient time. Not always a single event, “bitch” usually means that many negative events have happened in a short amount of time to make the individual affected say this phrase.




Frustration is a feeling, a derivative of anger. The feeling of frustration usually occurs when you are stuck or trapped, or unable to move forward in some way. It could be caused by all sorts of things.


For business owners, one major source of frustration is when your well thought plan stumbles, falters or fails, because it does not get properly implemented.


Whatever the reason for frustration, it’s important to deal with the feelings quickly, because they can easily lead to more negative emotions, such as anger, or worse, succumbing to life’s greatest temptation which is…giving up, which is terrible.


Big True Fact: There is no point in expending scarce resources and lots of precious time to develop a decent plan that ought to make your business better in some meaningful way, if it fails short through a lack of proper implementation.




That’s the question huh? Yup.


Here are some suggestions that will lessen the possibility that your well thought out plan will fail due to lousy implementation. Do all the following and you will win more often.


COMMUNICATE: Communicate widely and loudly enough to ensure that everyone involved in your plan understands the entire plan and their role in securing the objectives through astute implementation of everything in the plan. Talk about it and write it down too. If it’s not written down it’s not a plan.


ASSIGN: Assign responsibilities for aspects of the plan to individuals and work groups.


START & TRACK: Start and track what happens in the first few hours. Track every part of the implementation phase. The start. The middle. And all the way through.


INSIST: Insist on individual compliance to all the behaviors in the implementation phase.


COACH: Instruct, educate, coach throughout the implementation. This is your main role in getting the help you need from others.


FEEDBACK & ACCOUNTABILITY: Keep the plan alive with regular feedback loops and report outs on plan progress, both individual contributions and team contributions. Hold people accountable for what they do and for what they fail to do too.


ADJUST: When necessary adjust and revise the plan and the implementation behavior immediately, but never change the goals.


Remember, “Well begun is half done.” ~Mary Poppins




Start today and stay with it. And remember, the major cause of poor implementation by a business owner with a well-crafted plan for improvement is…abandonment. If you abandon your focus on your plan you cannot win.




If you have trouble following through with activities intended to make things in your business-life better, seek professional help immediately. Call me if you like. Big True Fact: You just might do better with me on your side.








What Does Working ON Your Business Really Mean?


“I feel like my business owns me sometimes.” Ever said this to yourself? Can you relate to that feeling? If you had to answer honestly, in your heart of hearts, have you felt the same way at times? Is your business really enjoyable to own?


This is so common. A lot of business owners feel like they have a well-paying job for themselves. Sure, they are making money, but they have all the stress and pressure that comes with running an “owner reliant” business. In other words, they are working IN their business way too much, and not ON it enough.


Of course, lots of business owners wish they could be less involved in the day-to-day operations of their businesses. When you have 2 or even 20 employees, you can be intimately involved in all aspects of the business. But if you want your company to grow and perhaps get to that elusive “next level” everyone’s always talking about, you must build an organization that can get the job done without you personally having to manage every detail.


And every business owner already knows this. But, doing it consistently is hard.


Plus, this: If you think, “It just isn’t possible to build a business that I can leave for an extended period,” think again! It is possible to reduce your working hours substantially. It is possible to take extended vacation time with the peace of mind that your team will use the systems and internal controls that you’ve developed to run the place smoothly when you’re not there!


And, isn’t this why you are working so hard to begin with? To build a business, not just own a job?


Which brings me to the next question. Do you know how? Do you have a clear, concrete road map to build a business not just a job?




The trick is to spend more time in Entrepreneurial Mode and less in Technician Mode. Working in Technician Mode means doing all the money-making day to day stuff. Working Entrepreneurial Mode include the things listed below.


Entrepreneurial Mode Activities include the following:

  • Envisioning a better future
  • Setting business goals
  • Planning how to achieve each of them
  • Tweaking existing systems
  • Devising better systems
  • Training to improve employees’ skills
  • Monitoring performance systems
  • Minding the money and tracking cash flow
  • Enhancing profits
  • Exit planning


Here are some of the issues that must be hurdled to make the transition from doer (Technician Mode) to owner (Entrepreneurial Mode). Naturally, surmounting these hurdles is easier said than done and can take years to accomplish. This list does not have all of the answers but should at least provide you with the right questions to ask yourself.


1. YOU. You must get out from under the day-to-day. This may require getting out of your comfort zone, learning new things, and unlearning old habits.


2. HIRING. If you don’t learn how to hire the right people, you will continue to chase your tail. (This does not come from a fortune cookie; if anything, it comes from a no-fortune cookie.) Remember, hiring for conscientiousness is the most important thing you can do. People with a high-level conscientiousness sincerely care about what they do and make excellent employees. It just so happens that there is are a couple of pre-employment tests for conscientiousness. Ask me about this if you like.


3. STANDARDS. A company’s reputation and its customers’ satisfaction will be determined by what a company expects of itself. Setting standards should not be done casually by whoever happens to be in the driver’s seat. The standards should be well thought out and aggressively communicated, and they should be lived. Whether it is response time or product quality or how clean you keep the bathroom, there are numerous things that define a company.


4. TRAINING. People are not going to figure out everything on their own. And even if they somehow manage to, it will be after messing things up and potentially harming your reputation. Training is a forever on-going business owner task.


5. SYSTEMS, PROCEDURES, PLANNING AND TOOLS. There are ways to avoid mistakes, to keep track of things and to be more effective and efficient. Every time something goes wrong you should ask yourself, is there something we could have done to avoid this? Systems ought to dictate how things are to be done so individuals can simply apply the system and get things done right the first time and every time.


6. THE WRONG PEOPLE. Sometimes it is bad hiring, sometimes it is just a bad fit. You can put out fires all the time. Or you can get rid of the arsonists. That doesn’t mean the subpar employees don’t mean well. It may mean, assuming they have been properly trained and managed, that they simply can’t do well. This step requires the force of will, as in you will do something about it. Is there anyone working for you that you would be happy to see quit?


7. DELEGATION. This one seems obvious, doesn’t it? But delegation only works when you have the right people. And the hardest part is accepting that some of the things that you delegate will not be done as well as you could have done them yourself. You can afford to fix occasional mistakes more easily than you can afford to do everything yourself.


8. COMPENSATION. It is difficult to run a smooth operation if you are constantly losing good people. What is your turnover rate? Do you pay enough, respect enough, and provide a pleasant work environment?


9. FEEDBACK. Have you surrounded yourself with yes men and women? Of course, you must be able to handle the truth! Sometimes you will be wrong, sometimes you will be oblivious, sometimes you will be delusional. The last thing you want is to stay that way. You may feel that the lonely-at-the-top thing is very, well, lonely. But there is no greater feeling than knowing that people are with you on a common cause, (because they are conscientious, thoroughly trained, and well lead) and you don’t have to read their minds. Ask for and demand candid feedback often.

10. YOU, AGAIN. Maybe you really like being the sales rep, the production manager or the one doing the day-to-day work. Maybe you are trying to be someone you are not. You may have learned that there is such a thing as big enough. It can be liberating to people who are ambitious to recognize that they have limitations, and that they do not have what it takes to be the next Bill Gates. And that it is O.K. More than O.K.! Many business owners want to hire someone to take care of the things they don’t want to do. However, be careful about thinking that one person is going to come in and handle absolutely everything perfectly well all the time.


The list of 10 things was adapted from a 2011 New York Times article by Chicago business owner Jay Goltz.







I once wrote a book entitled “How Come You’re Not Rich Yet?” That’s a favorite question I like to ask business owners. Here’s why. We know how people can get rich in business. It’s not a secret. You just have to do enough of what’s known to work. Now it won’t be easy, but we do know what do to. And if you want to grow real big, you can become a millionaire or a billionaire if you want that.


Speaking of getting rich, Forbes Magazine recently published their annual list of billionaires in the world today. There are 1153 of them. I think the list needs some further refinement because some of these billionaires did nothing to make their money. They are on the list only because they inherited their wealth from a previous generation. I don’t care about them. I’m interested in the billionaires who are not members of the Wal-Mart family or the Saudi Arabian sheikdom and who did not literally stumble into a long lost pirate treasure. The self-made entrepreneurial billionaires in the world are the people I want to talk about. And every single one of those boys and girls is an owner of an extremely profitable business, that they founded, that serves many (or large) customers. It is from their personal creativity coupled with the sweat of their very hard work that these individuals became billionaires.


Here’s the significant point. Every one of these self-made entrepreneurial billionaires has a GRAND STRATEGY that works splendidly. They’ve figured out how to do business excellently. They have what in the Master-Mind Alliance® we call a DONE BUSINESS. That’s like having an MBA in your own business. And according to the money, the DONE BUSINESSES these self-made Forbes billionaires own has made them a ton of money.


Big time success in business for you, just like for the entrepreneurial billionaires in the world, requires splendid GRAND STRATEGY. GRAND STRATEGY includes many things. The centerpiece, the engine that drives GRAND STRATEGY is your SALES GENERATING BEHAVIOR. That’s the fire in the belly… and it must be splendid and stay splendid.


SALES GENERATING BEHAVIOR is all the things you say and all the things do that bring in the money. That has got to work. And you got to be able to do enough of it. Then, when you have access to a large enough pool of potential buyers… because your marketing works… you ought to be able to make as much money as you could ever want, right? YES.


If you have splendid GRAND STRATEGY and if you routinely wield splendid SALES GENERATING BEHAVIOR and if you routinely have access to a large enough pool of potential buyers of what you sell… there’s no reason in the world why you cannot get rich… if that is what you so desire, because that’s all it ever takes, that’s all it has ever taken and all it will ever take to get rich.




Now then, if you’re not RICH YET, or close to it… the only reason for that is that your GRAND STRATEGY is not yet SPLENDID. Something is askew. Your SALES GENERATING BEHAVIOR needs some improvement. Or, maybe it works just fine, but for some reason, you’re unable to do enough of it.


Please understand this. With nine YES or NO questions, we can examine the causes for that being less that rich yet predicament and perhaps find a place to begin improvements. Go through this with me and let’s see.


1. Do you have a ROAD MAP, some document that sets forth crystal clear INTENTIONS about money goals, growth projections, time you want to spend working and such? YES/NO. If you answer NO to this we cannot go any further. We’ve found our place to start making improvements.


2. Do you sell goods, products and services that people genuinely need or want? YES/NO


3. Can people afford to buy those things from you? YES/NO.


4. When they buy from you do you make a decent profit? YES/NO.


5. Can you thoroughly describe your ideal best customer? YES/NO. If NO, you can’t go any further. You must know this cold.


6. Are you making enough potential buyers find out about you? Is your customer or client attraction process working smoothly? YES/NO. If the answer is NO, could it be that your SALES GENERATING BEHAVIOR needs some adjustment or perhaps a major overhaul? YES/NO.


When you consider the effectiveness of your SALES GENERATING BEHAVIOR and find that something is missing we need to get into that, don’t we? Yeah. Because if we can figure that out… and can remedy that situation, if we can make your SALES GENERATION BEHAVIOR, including your marketing and advertising, work better, then you just need to do more of that, right? Yup!


7. Do you know how to make your marketing work better? The answer to this question is often NO. Sometimes it’s a YES BUT, meaning you’re not doing enough of what you should be doing. When we get a YES BUT, we need to probe deeper into that.


8. Are you being constrained or held back? YES/NO. If you are being unnaturally inhibited we need to know by what or whom.


9. Finally, we come to this question. Do you think there are other people in the world who sell what you do… yet who make more money than you do? YES. How do they do that? Are they doing things you are not doing? DON’T KNOW. Would you like to find out? YES.

Okay, by running through these nine questions, we can find a starting point, a place from which to grow your business by making improvements in INTENTIONS, STRUCTURES and BEHAVIORS.


The thing that makes it possible to become a billionaire is splendid GRAND STRATEGY. GRAND STRATEGY is about INTENTIONS (goals, ambition and motivation) plus STRUCTURES (mechanisms, systems and arrangements that make it possible for a business to function and achievement to happen) and finally BEHAVIOR (all forms of appropriate business action and activity where the rubber meets the road).


A huge part of the DONE Business Solution® is figuring out what needs to happen for you to make more money. Once we have a starting point, start making improvements to your SALES GENERATING BEHAVIOR, improving the things you say and do to bring in the money, then your entire GRAND STRATEGY can function more SPLENDIDLY. As a business person, it’s your main job to arrange your life so you can do lots and lots of whatever your splendid SALES GENERATING BEHAVIOR happens to be.


Now one more thing about those self-made Forbes billionaires, in the beginning everyone one of them worked real hard to make themselves wealthy. But after a while, they didn’t work so hard anymore. They don’t even work smart. They worked BETTER… and BETTER is better. It just is. In fact, that’s the trick in life. You win by being BETTER. BETTER wins the day. So go out and Be BETTER By Choice. That’s what I leave you with here. You can do that. You know you that you can do BETTER because others have. And if others can do it, so can you.


Delegation Reluctance


At a follow-up meeting with one of my Master-Mind Alliance members the other day, this frequently mentioned issue, “I am reluctant to delegate,” came up again.


People who are reluctance to delegate do so out of fear, which has been called a Faulty Expectation Appearing Real. They are concerned that those to whom they would delegate tasks and responsibilities will not perform as well as they themselves could, so they try to do it all personally.


Many small business owners spend 10% of the time being in the entrepreneur role–dreaming, considering the future, decision making, planning and seeking control, 20% of the rime being in the manager role–overlooking activities of others, pursuing progress, and striving for order, and 70% of the time being in the technician or worker bee role–focusing on performing routine tasks, one at a time or worse multitasking. I believe this allocation of time is backwards and ought to be reversed. It is far better for a business owner to be behaving like an entrepreneur 70% of the time, like a manager 20% of the time, and like a technician 10% of the time.


When business owners are in technician role too much, then their business runs them instead of the other way around. And eventually they crash and burn. The goal should be to work ON the business more and IN it less. After all, one of the reasons individuals go into business in the first place is to get free of a job so they can create jobs for other people.


To make this flip in how they spend their time, business owners must get over their delegation reluctance. Here’s how.


First, admit that with training and supervision, others can do the work well enough to please customers. Sure, people will make mistakes but very few mistakes are reversible or fatal. In fact, many can be turned into opportunities and every one of them can be a teaching moment. This is the mindset a business owner must have to delegate comfortably.


Second, use some entrepreneurial time to devise a system of reviews, spot checks and controls. Delegation is not an all-or-nothing proposition. For instance, an owner should not completely disengage from the purchasing function simply because he has appointed a purchasing manager. Instead, the owner should create an organized system of routine oversight and spot checks to ensure that work is being executed properly and diligently.


Third, answer these questions: How can my business operate without me? How can others work effectively without my constant supervision? How can I be free from my business? How can I do tasks I love rather than tasks I don’t like doing?


The art of being the owner of a small business involves transitioning from performing every task personally to directing and managing the efforts of others. When an owner masters this skill, there are no limits to how large the business can grow or how successful it can become.


Reflecting on these ideas, it may be apparent that what is to be feared is not delegation but, rather, delegation without tolerance for error and without an operational overview system in place.


Truth is, for growth to happen business owners must delegate and free themselves of a lot of routine matters and spend more time envisioning and behaving like the entrepreneur they were when they started the business.

The Future Based Self Question

“If we were having a discussion three years from today, and you were looking back over those three years, what has to have happened in your life, both personally and professionally, for you to feel happy with your progress?”


This question, invented by consultant Dan Sullivan, gets asked a lot in Master-Mind Alliance meetings. It’s the vision thing. It describes what you want for your future life. The FUTURE BASED SELF QUESTION is about INTENTIONS, GRAND INTENTIONS. And those drive 90% of what we work toward securing in life and through our business activities.


The FUTURE BASED SELF QUESTION asks us to imagine who we’ll they be just three years hence. It asks that we create in our mind a “Future Self”, not only in our professional life, who we’ll be as a successful business person, but also who we’ll be personally, what our personal life will be like.


Now imagine you have answered the FUTURE BASED SELF QUESTION, you have created an image of that future time, what I would do next is ask that you to use that image to make decisions in the present, today. Over the next three years, I’d ask that you continually use that image of who are going to be three years from now to make decisions and to make changes today that will fit that future you. It’ll be important. That image of a FUTURE YOU will be the basis upon which you communicate with others and decide how you take action.


Once INTENTIONS are clear and driving decisions and plans, we can more on to the next thing…BEHAVIOR. With clear INTENTIONS, we can start focusing on the behavior it will take for us to get to the FUTURE SELF place. This will drive additional decisions and formulations and re-formulations of STRUCTURE and continual adjustments to GRAND STRATEGY and the creation of GAME PLANS and all the rest of the stuff that is Master-Mind Alliance.


All from a simple question about three years hence. It’s a big deal this little question.

7 Essentials for Your Business Success

If you own a business, and don’t do anything with it, you’ll go broke. And if you continue not to do anything, not show up, not offer anything for sale, not communicate with potential buyers, you’ll stay broke.


On the other hand, if you take advantage of your opportunity, show up regularly and do enough of the right things in the right way, you will not go broke. You will flourish. So, what are the right things? Well, business people want to know that. They have questions. How can I make my business more successful? How can I get more of what I want? How can I win in MY business?


These are good questions. They should be answered. If you’re ready I’ll give you the answers. Are you ready? Okay, here goes. Here are the Seven Essentials that Produce Delirious Contentment In Business:


1. Make sure you have a WINNING-MONEY-MAKING-GRAND STRATEGY, an overarching plan that describes the ideal structure and operation of your enterprise… and that all that’s in your GRAND STRATEGY works like it’s supposed to most of the time. Getting this right will guarantee two things. First, that you can execute, pull the trigger, hit the nail on the head, in other words, that your efforts predictably produce desirable results for your customers and clients, and especially… for yourself. Second, that you can turn what you do best into plenty of income, CASH MONEY, so you can stay in business and be HAPPY.


2. Make sure you offer goods, products and services for sale that people want or need… and can afford to buy. So, no Ferrari dealerships in rural West Virginia and no air conditioner stores in Alaska.


3. Make sure you communicate your offerings to the correct audience; the correct audience means to enough-potential-likely-and-willing-buyers.


4. Make sure you close enough deals.


5. Make sure the money adds up in your favor.


6. Make sure you can do all this consistently… and… on a manageable schedule that leaves plenty of free time to spend any way you wish.


Now then, all this “Make Sure” stuff is about behavior, isn’t it? Yup, winning in business is about putting the right behavior in the right place at the right time. It’s behavior, behavior, behavior. And the right behavior gets you the number one characteristic every business person wants for his or her enterprise, and that is… PREDICTABILITY. It sure isn’t chaos and it sure isn’t uncertainty. Nope. People want PREDICTABILITY most of all. They want to know that when they do such and such they will get such and such results most of the time. With PREDICTABILITY, there is not much about which to worry. Not much to keep you up nights.


So now we come to that little three letter word HOW. How am I going to make this stuff work in MY business? I can see how this might work in someone else’s business, but what about mine, because MY situation is unique.

So, if you’re thinking about your business right now, you might be wondering HOW do I get these six ESSENTIAL MAKE SURES? Well, the answer to that can be found in ESSENTIAL Number 7.


7. Make sure you have an INPUT Generator… a safe place to regularly talk about all aspects of your GRAND STRATEGY and your goals and your Game Plans. A place where you can present your prickly issues and problems – and receive candid, unbiased, no holes-bared counsel to resolve them from people who understand you and who will advise you in a spirit of harmony. A place where you can make bold new commitments and devise fresh Game Plans that can be implemented successfully.


INPUT from this kind of special place makes it possible to keep your GRAND STRATEGY alive and to have all the rest of the ESSENTIALS working smoothly. Armed with intelligent INPUT, you can accelerate the performance of your business at will, overcome any obstacles that hold you back and defeat any behaviors that might be undermining your success. Then you’re always able to make measurable progress in reasonable time, which is ABSOLUTELY SPLENDID. So, this place to talk is the 7th ESSENTIAL.


Years ago, I talked to my business owner clients and lots of other people about this need I saw for an INPUT Generator, a save place for business owners to talk about their troublesome issues with hopes of finding solutions. And none of them had such a place, although they all thought it would be a good thing if an INPUT Generator for business owners existed. So, I started one.


I designed it to be like group therapy for business owners, a supportive and at times a Synanon type confrontation group. I built in a heavy emphasis on accountability and individual follow up sessions for everyone, because one thing I knew from personal experience… without follow-up meaningful progress does not happen.


This was the beginning of The Master-Mind Alliance program. My clients loved it because it worked. I loved it because it was creative and different and fun. The Master-Mind Alliance began out of a need I saw in my clients. And here we are.

Courage is an Angel

Yup, courage is an angel.


The Courage Angel makes the difference between a good business-life and a great business-life. Here’s the deal. Appropriate strategic behavior applied in just the right place, in spite of uncertainty and doubt and fear, is what it takes to go from an ordinary business to a DONE Business.


And that little Courage Angel is an amazing guy. He makes it possible for you to do the things that must be done, even though doing those things may sometimes make you feel uncomfortable. The Courage Angel helps you do them anyway… and that’s how you get all that you want out of life.


Who would not choose great over good, a DONE Business over an ordinary business?


Don’t we all want great? Yes we do.


Question is, how do we get that?  Ah yes, how do we install more courage into our lives and into our business ventures in particular.

But before we can talk about that, we have to be clear about what we are talking about. Just exactly what is courage anyway?


Wikipedia says courage is the ability to confront fear, pain, danger, uncertainty, or intimidation. That it is acting in spite of fear. Okay, I buy that, but where does courage come from? Well, it comes from within us, of course.


So again, how can we dig down inside of ourselves and act more courageously in life and in our business activities in particular? Where do we get the courage to go from good business to great business?


Four steps to greater courage and a greater business-life:


1. Think of The Results: Have a very clear picture in mind of what would happen if a particular act of courage you were contemplating were to actually be implemented. Think of the ultimate outcome. Would it be more money from your business activities? More time off? Greater self-fulfillment? Be specific.


2. Think of The Worst: We are often told not to think of the down side. This is ridiculous. Please carefully consider the consequences. What’s the worst can happen? You could lose everything. Go broke. Disappoint people who care about you. Now, use some common sense. Acting courageously does not equal acting stupidly. Being courageous means taking levelheaded action, following a decent plan, including all the necessary steps.


3. Think of What You Are Missing: “You miss 100% of the shots you never take.” ~ Wayne Gretzky, National Hockey League super star.


4. Just Do It: Is it time? If you decide it is, then go for it. Don’t let doubt talk you out of going for what you want.


The world belongs to those who reach out and grab it with both hands, to those who do something — rather than just wish, hope, pray and plan to do something someday, but only when the time is right. Those folks who are waiting, they’re probably not ever going to be happy.

Are You Ready for a DONE Business?

I want to describe a concept called A DONE Business. So, first things being first I should define what I mean by a DONE Business.


A DONE Business is a nearly perfect small business or professional practice that makes the owner or owners very happy. It’s truly a money making machine. It cranks out money and is easy to operate. It also dazzles customers so everybody wins! Neat huh.


Well there’s a bit more to it than that. Here are the details.


Any business that offers products and services people want or need, that can be sold at a price prospective buyers can afford, and then cost effectively delivered, for a decent profit, can be transformed into a DONE Business.


And when you have a DONE Business anytime you want, you can crank up the marketing and sell more and you can take lots of worry free time off.


We know how to make all this happen, it’s not a secret. It’s a matter of structure, strategy and behavior. And it’s simple. It’s not always easy but still straight forward and simple.


To tell if you can transform your existing business into a DONE Business ask yourself if you can answer YES to these questions: 1) Do you sell things people need or want? 2) Can the people who can be made to know about what you offer afford to buy from you? 3) Can you cost effectively deliver what you sell, at a decent profit? 4) Do you like what you do? if you can honesty answer YES to these four questions, then you can have a DONE Business and the great life that goes with it.


In case you don’t know me, a few words about me.


Since about 1979, I’ve been consulting and coaching small business owners and operators. First in the San Francisco Bay Area and since 1996, in Eureka, California, on the northern coastal region of the state.


I have a great job. I cannot think of anything else I could possibly do. In fact, I can’t do anything else. Can’t fix my car. Can’t … well I can do a few other things but I love my job. So, I’ll keep at it.



Small Business is Under Attack!

Small business, despite being the backbone of our economy, is under attack. It’s under attack through excess regulation.






It’s under attack through over taxation.






It’s under attack by minimum wage threats, it’s under attack by health care, it’s under attack by big business and it’s under attack by consumers.







It’s hard to comprehend the attacks small businesses face when in reality they represent 99% of employer firms, employ over half of all private sector employees and account for 40% of U.S. private sector payrolls. Small businesses and entrepreneurs have long been the backbone of the American economy contributing an estimated 46% of GDP.


Regardless, Washington DC and many state legislatures (e.g. California), continue to promote policies that favor big business over entrepreneurship. In addition, small business is often totally ignored and we end up with policies that have no benefit to, and frequently harm, the real needs of America’s backbone.


So what is a small business owner to do to fend off these attacks?  It’s my contention that there’s little to be done to fend off these attacks and instead small business owners should focus on protecting profits.


Let’s face it if, as a business owner, you had infinite revenue would the tax rate and costs from increased regulation really matter? The minimum wage could be $100/hour if you had enough gross profit to cover it! If you delivered unbeatable value and customer satisfaction compared to big business would you really be under consumer price pressure? The answer to these questions is “No.”


So instead of complaining, running scared or riding the cash flow roller coaster  (80% of small businesses ride that roller coaster and it is responsible for the vast majority of business failures) let’s dream about a different solution.


What if your business had all the leads it could possibly handle which generated more revenue than you ever imagined? And what if all that caused your business to be so profitable you no longer worried about the threats and attacks because it still made more money? Would that create a more valuable business that was more enjoyable to run and own?







Well that is exactly what successful business owners have done. Many have even turned, or sold, their small business into a medium or, in some cases, big business. Either way their immediate threats have been neutralized and their ultimate retirement or exit strategy has been solidified. So for those owners it is no longer a dream, it became a realistic solution.


What does it take to turn this dream into reality – is it only for unique businesses, is it only for sophisticated owners with special knowledge, or is it only for already super-successful enterprises? Again, the answer is “No” on all counts. Research shows that it can be accomplished by the owner of any business who sets out with the end in mind while equipped with determination, proven strategies and an informed support system.



So rather than spending this and future years feeling threatened or overwhelmed by external forces, protect against attack and fight back by focusing on the things you can control.


If you would like to learn more about these threats and solutions contact the author directly by sending an email to:

Make Sales or Die


Okay let’s be clear. If you own a business and do not make enough sales happen, what becomes of your business? Simple. It eventually fails. Should that occur, you will have to do something else, like go to work for a business owner who has figured out how to make enough sales happen. Or, if your business does not totally fail, it will certainly become a severe and stressful burden. And unless you fix that, you will wind up settling for less. Yuck! Who would want that? No one.



In all businesses cash is king, and cash comes from profitable sales. So, profitable sales must happen, regularly and without bone crushing effort.




What if right now enough sales are not happening? We’ll guess what, there is hope. There are steps you can take and you a process you can implement, that when done properly and fully, will turn things around and make it so more profitable sales do happen. This is the subject of this newsletter, and if you are interested, please read on.



1. First, you must be sparkling clear in your mind that you want things to be better, that you are ready, willing and able to do what might be a massive amount of work to turn things around. Don’t start this process if you are not yet ready.

2. Begin by clarifying your target audience, your potential customers or clients. What are their top needs, wants, issues and problems? What are the situations confronting them that will be genuinely resolved when they buy your goods, products and/or services?

3. Next tune up your offer. It must be low risk or no risk and compelling enough to generate interest sufficient to cause people to communicate with you.

4. Then, sharpen your marketing and your personal sales communications skills, and the skills of those who work with you as well.

5. Write a plan. Set reasonable goals and milestones and timelines to reach potential buyers and/or to get them to contact you, and to engage in sales generating conversations.

6. Implement your plan.

7. Finally, get whatever outside help and advice you may require in order to make all of these things happen effectively. Don’t think you must go it alone


You are not alone. There is plenty of highly qualified and capable help available to you. You just need to ask for it.




Remember, in the world of all possible offerings, there are things that are bought and there are things that must be sold. Groceries, people just come into the store and buy those. Supplemental insurance policies, those must be sold. That’s harder to do. If your offerings fall into “the things that must be sold” category sharp sales skills are a mandate.




Now seriously, do not stay stuck. If you are stuck and could use a little help, a friendly nudge forward, some advice and support, get it. Ask. Ask me, I’ll come talk with you personally, or we can talk by phone, or Skype.













To have a viable business venture – this must be one of your forever goals.


BUT…Who are your best buyers (we’ll refer to customers or clients as buyers in this document)? What do they want? What problems are they trying to solve or what do they wish to accomplish?


Do you know how many and/or what kind of leads you need to be most profitable in your business activities? Or what about what a buyer is worth to you? To know this, you need to build a measurable funnel that attracts the leads you most want, pre- qualifies them into prospects, converts them into buyers and then continues to sell to them.


You need to measure your conversions and understand how much a new or existing buyer is worth to you by monitoring their number of transactions over time and average amount of income per sale. From there you will be able to forecast your future revenue, profit margins and gross profit and can set up plans to attract more of the best leads, the leads that produce scalable growth.


To generate high profit potential leads with great net worth value, and to keep doing that, you must be courageous, smart and ruthlessly consistent.


To get there and to stay there you must get some things straight.


#1 THING TO GET STRAIGHT: Never make the mistake of confusing buyer pain point (purchasing motivation) with product or service utility.


If your business sells office furniture, the pain-point you are trying to solve for your potential buyers is not providing good sitting equipment for office goers. They want that of course but, it is not the big reason for them buying from YOU. You need to investigate, to go deep into the reasons why your past buyers have purchased from you instead of the other places from which they could have bought their furniture. Their reason for buying from you matters a whole lot. This reason you need to clarify and then use it your marketing.


POSSIBLE REASONS: Do you offer customized cushioning for buyers? Are your prices lower? Do you offer free maintenance? You might in fact be offering all these points above – but what was the point that sealed the deal for your past buyers? Identify these points – these are the real pain-points that your previous customers were facing. It is this that you must accurately understand if your lead generation is to grow expediently.




So, what makes you unique and special and memorable? Why must you know this? Why to separate you and your business from other businesses like yours of course, so the best buyers will buy from you without not even consider buying anywhere else.


What make you unique? Answer this question you must.


What makes your business and your offerings special? Answer this question must too.


#3 THING TO GET STRAIGHT: Who most urgently wants your solution – the products and/or services you want to provide? You must know this too.








A lead is a person who has indicated interest in the products and/or services you provide. They have initiated a contact with you or, you have initiated a contact with them. One or the other. And either way, they have indicated some degree of interest in what you offer.




Lead generation is the process of attracting and converting strangers and prospects into those leads as described above.






So not just anyone will do. Otherwise, sure, you may be busy selling your stuff but, you may not make enough profit to stay in business.




It’s this: ATTRACT (the right buyers) – CONVERT – CLOSE – DELIGHT. Simple to say not so easy to do.




There are 3 very basic stages a buyer will go through when investigating a solution for their specific problem or desired better situation.


Stage 1: Awareness – The buyer is made aware of a problem (example: reads an article about workouts for weight loss)


Stage 2: Discovery – The buyer begins to learn more about the problem and possible solutions (example: reviewing blogs, checking Yelp!, or following on social media)


Stage 3: Decision – The buyer engages with a business to begin making a decision (example: scheduling a consultation)




A lead magnet is something you can use to attract your ideal buyers to your business and get them started in the awareness stage of the buyer’s journey.


A Lead Magnet can take many forms. An Elevator Pitch, an Offer That Cannot Be Refused, an advertised extreme LOW RISK offer, Testimonials, Demonstrations, etc.




To succeed at Lead Generation, pick the target audience you most want to attract. Hint: The ones with the most money to spend might be just the ones.


Decide how to go after them most effectively and most economically.


Design and test an offer you think will attract those you want. Quantify the results. And if your approach works to your satisfaction, then orchestrate it – present your offer that way every time, as long as it keeps producing desirable results for you.




You must track your lead generation and sales conversion activities. To help do this it is very handy to have a database or CRM (customer relationship management) system that has the capability of creating lists and campaigns to track the degree of success with your various marketing tactics.


Tracking your progress will allow you to determine where to most effectively spend your marketing time and money. Do more of what’s working and stop doing what’s not. Simple.






Big Fat Truth: Just about anyone can make it so their business generates more income and more profit. It has always seemed to me that doubling your business income is a good idea. I’ve never met anyone who suffered terribly from making too much money by working.


There are six options pictured above that can be utilized alone or mixed and matched together to make this happen.


Let’s look at one of the easiest. Upper right: Adjust Pricing.


Think about this fact. Your costs are rising. Electricity costs more each year. Water costs more each year. Your insurance costs more each year. You probably pay your employees more as time goes by. So, if your prices never increase to keep pace with what it costs you to do business, you are falling behind and will eventually be facing financial ruin.


You have no choice. You must increase your prices to cover your costs and to ensure profitability. And if you increase your prices by say 10% over next year, a lot of that, perhaps the bulk of that extra income, will go right to your bottom line, as pure profit, money in your pocket. And that’ll be great.


There is an additional benefit to raising your prices too, which is, by itself nothing to sneeze at. When you raise your prices, some people will chose to not buy from you. They will go somewhere else to get they want or need. Therefore, you will have less work to do…but, because of your increase in prices, you will either generate the same amount of income, or more income, depending upon how much you increase your prices.


Less work, and the less chaos less work helps create, plus more money…all good things. Yup, yup, yup!


So do it. Increase your prices and get a twofer…more money and less work, that’s a good thing. And certainly, anytime you are chronically swamped with work and stressed to the max, raise your prices as that drives some potential buyers elsewhere giving you less work to do and lower stress, and, of course, more money.


In my 40 plus years of business consulting and strategizing with ambitious business owners, I’ve seen this strategy work countless times. When you have way too much work to do, increase your prices and the work goes down and the money goes up. Not a bad deal.


Increasing your prices is just one of the ways you can start on the path to INCOME DOUBLE HALF THE TROUBLE.



In this post, I am describing a little device or habit or behavior called the REVIEW & PREVIEW – it’s about what you did – and what you will do next – broken down as a daily accounting and planning session.


To use this device, simply pause at the end of your work day and REVIEW what you did with all those hours.


What did you accomplish? What did you get done that you had planned to do? What fires did you put out if any? What did you learn? What will you need to carry forward to the next day?


Take a few notes of your accomplishments in a file in your computer. This is your REVIEW of your day’s accomplishments.


Then, as you might expect, you PREVIEW you next day.


What will you do tomorrow? Who will you talk to? What must you absolutely get done without interruption. What can you do tomorrow that will make you feel proud and happy?


Make a few notes of the major things you will do starting tomorrow morning into a TO DO LIST with tomorrow’s date on the top. This is your PREVIEW behavior or habit. Then when tomorrow comes, glance at your TO DO TODAY list and get started.


I assure you that if you will do this simple REVIEW – PREVIEW routinely and religiously this behavior will help you tremendously. It will help you keep on track. It will help you wield more control over what happens in your business.


You will get more of the right things done on time and on budget. This will be good.


And you will have a written record of major accomplishments you can look back upon whenever you may wish.


Nobody can go back to the beginning and make a brand new start. But anybody can start today and make a brand new ending.


If you like this Insight & Strategy stuff – and happen to own a small business – perhaps you would enjoy attending one of our monthly Master-Mind Alliance meetings.


We’re all about planning how to make businesses work better.


And in truth, there is never a good reason to avoid talking about making your business work better.



Where Are You Going?



The answer is a complicated one, but here’s what we do know. High achievers think differently. They act differently behave differently. To find your dream and start changing your life, and get to better place, the first step is to take time to answer the following question. “Do you want to find out how good you can get.”


In 1991, on an airplane flight from California to Utah, author Stephen Covey found himself sitting next to San Francisco 49er football quarterback Steve Young. Young was in his fourth year on the team and playing behind Joe Montana, one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history. Young was frustrated by his lack of playing time, by the expectations of the fans when he did play, by the constant comparisons to Montana. Young knew who Covey was, the author of the widely acclaimed “Seven Habits of Highly Successful People,” so he shared his situation with Covey, even though he felt like a whiner venting all of this. But Covey listened.


Covey asked Young this question. “Do you want to find out how good you can get?”


Young said, “Yeah, I do.”


Covey then said, “Then go do it.”


This story was related to the members of the Master-Mind Alliance in our group meeting on April 12, just last week, by Dr. Eric Wennerholm, our resident raconteur. The crux of this story, as Eric so brilliantly put it, is this. WHAT’S YOUR DREAM? WHAT’S YOUR PLAN? In other words, if you are less than deliriously happy with your lot – be it football or a relationship or the status of a small business – then you must take steps to improve things or nothing will get better and the misery will continue unabated.


But what steps?


These: Ask yourself where you want to be? What would be a better place? Where do you want to go?


Now to answer these questions you must start with a broader and more basic question…WHAT’S YOUR DREAM?


In the Master-Mind Alliance we deal with this fundamental starting place all the time. An Alliance member or visitor to one of our meetings will say, “My biggest issue right now is…” And the other members will start asking clarifying questions and responding with suggestions and recommendations focused in a solution.




Until we are clear as to what the underlying desired outcome or dream is, we can never get a perfect resolution. A description of the dream must come first. Then we can get to the plan, the resolution, the new and/or better strategy that in reasonable time will secure the dream and produce happiness.


So, there you have it. WHAT’S YOUR DREAM? Then, WHAT’S YOUR PLAN? If, like Steve Young, you truly want to find out how good you can get, you must know what you want to get good at, and in what area do you want to play exceeding well. And that’s the WHERE ARE YOU GOING question. It all fits together.


Pick a goal and measure yourself against that goal. Strive to be the best, at whatever you choose, that you can possibly be. Define success your way, and then work to achieve your definition of success. Then, no matter what you else you achieve, you’ll be successful… because yours will be a life well lived.


If you’d like some strategic assistance with your quest for a better business, ask for our FREE REPORT: “How To Double Your Profits & Make Thing Easier In Your Small Business.”


To get your copy of this FREE REPORT, simply email us and we’ll make it happen. 

Never Let Loose Of Your Golden Goose

Business owners are entrepreneurial – meaning they take financial risks in the hope of creating profit. The problem is that many of them suffer from a unique form of
 attention deficit disorder. An idea for some new kind of business pops into their head and off they go on a tangent.


This can cause big trouble when the new and exciting looking opportunity takes their attention off the main thing, their “Golden Goose,” the business that works, the business that pays the bills, the business that gives them the financial freedom they ought to hold onto with all their might.


Two examples. Fred, the owner of a thriving sign making business, decides to open a thrift store to sell old clothes on consignment. Mary, the owner of a bakery, decides to start selling skateboards and organic pet food online. These forays into new ventures sound exciting and potentially profitable, so Fred and Mary dive right in and work to make their new businesses work. In the meantime, their existing business starts to suffer from a huge lack of attention. Soon they begin to show cash flow shortages, their employees high level of productivity begins to decline and so on – all because they took their attention off their main thing – and that’s never good.




The Golden Goose that you have spent so much of your time and energy and financial resources to develop needs your eyes and ears and heart in it or it will eventually stumble, falter and fail to be what it ought to be – a source of gold.


I am not saying that you ought never let your entrepreneurial spirit exercise itself, because that’s a big part of who you are. I am saying that you ought to use caution when you do.


Now then, if you ever have trouble dealing with any part of your business life at any time, you call me, okay. I will help you make things better.



Four decades of business consulting and coaching have produced in my mind a few opinions about the root causes of business trials and tribulations that, when left unchecked, kill momentum and invariably lead to stumbling, faltering and failure. I’d like to share this knowledge with you. So here we go.





The worst is the first of the five. It is COMPLEXITY. You cannot achieve or sustain greatness when you are constantly bumping up against a ceiling of complexity.


Here’s the deal. Every task or project you complete in the course of doing your work creates residual responsibilities and expectations. These residuals may be small, maybe not even noticeable, but they are always there. Over time, this left over residue builds up and presents as complexity. Eventually it forms a ceiling which limits further progress until you do something to break through the ceiling and reach a new state of simplicity.


In other words, the ceiling of complexity is a byproduct of your achievement and success.


How do you experience this ceiling of complexity when it happens? You can feel buried under a mountain of ever-increasing demands on your time and resources. So much so that you don’t even want to show up at your workplace anymore.

The antidote to complexity – namely simplicity – is of course, always the preferred state. To reach simplicity you must constantly be improving your skills and – you must somehow attain and utilize valid perspective. Utilizing astute input from mentors and coaches can help you streamline routine activities, reorganize, develop better ways to get things done – and ultimately guide you to the much preferred state of simplicity.



The second of the five business success killers is URGENCY. More precisely it is the tyranny of the urgent. When you are constantly working with persistently looming deadlines and intense pressure to perform quickly, painful mistakes will be a frequent and definitely unwelcome companion. Never enough time kills momentum.

In 1967, Charles Hummel, wrote a short essay he called, “The Tyranny of the Urgent.” In it he said, “We live in a constant tension between the urgent and the important. The problem is that the important task rarely must be done today or even this week…but the momentary appeal of urgent tasks seems irresistible and important, and they devour our energy.”


And I’ll add to that by saying that the tyranny of the urgent can drive you crazy. I’ve seen it happen and it’s ugly.


When you would give anything for a 26 hour day, when your priorities are all a jumble, when you don’t know where to start, that’s a signal that something is wrong. Then it’s time to look carefully at the urgent and the important stuff in your business-life.


  • What is urgent and important right now?
  • What is urgent but clearly not important right now?
  • What is not urgent but important right now?
  • What is neither urgent nor important right now?


The trick here of course is to spend quality time and effort working on the important but not urgent things. That is where significant business growth and additional profit can be made.


The problem with managing your time is rarely the length of a day, but rather the misdirection of your attention and priorities. Even if you had a couple of extra hours in your day, you would quickly fill those hours with additional tasks. The additional time would not guarantee an unhurried or well-ordered life. Only a judicious shifting of priorities and focus can put an end to the tyranny of the urgent and get you back to a sane work schedule of meaningful profit making activities.



The third of the five business success killers is DISTRACTIONS and distraction’s cousin, INTERRUPTIONS. The thing here is that life just happens to be one great big hailstorm full of distractions and interruptions. They can overwhelm and engulf you and waste countless hours of precious time you can’t afford to squander.


You know how this works. An employee comes up to you and starts talking about a movie they saw the night before. Or worse, an employee comes to you with a question about and work, and it’s a question to which they should already know the answer and not bother you with in the first place. They say, “Hey boss, got a minute?” And you say, “Sure come on in,” even though you’re busy with something important.


You’re a nice guy and you want to be reassuring so your door is always open. And when something like this happens, you stop what you are doing and listen a bit, and in no time, you find yourself engaging with them. You get into the conversation and immediately whatever you were doing or thinking about before is, well, halted, or just gone altogether.


Ten minutes later, they leave and you must regain your momentum, try to pick up where you left off and get something done before the distracting interruption began. If this happens a lot, it’s a problem and you need to stop it. You don’t like being distracted in this way, but you tolerate it because you are a nice person.


What can you do? You can tell your people that, sure you want to be available, but there are limits. When your door is shut, people need to knock and not just barge in. And when they say, “Hey boss, got a minute?” You have the right to say, “Not now, try me later.”


Oftentimes, you distract yourself. Even when you’re snowed under with work, you’ll still check your emails or surf the Internet for cheap vacation flights.


Dr. Gloria Mark, Professor of Informatics at the University of California, Irvine, says that distractions and interruptions are both stressful and costly. Research she conducted found that it takes an average of 23 minutes for a person to fully regain his or her focus on a task after being distracted. Multiply 23 minutes times a bunch of times in a year when this happens and it adds up.


So yes, normal run of the mill distractions and interruptions like these have costs and it takes a bit of thought to deal with them.


Here’s one thought. You can schedule a specific time in the day to check email, maybe at 11:00 AM and at 3:00 PM for example.

Here’s another thought. Sure, the ring of your office phone or cell phone often prompts an intense need to answer, even if you’re deep in concentration. But, you have voice mail and you can turn your phones off when you want to work without interruptions.


And… you can close your door even when you don’t need to. Just closing it for and sake of closing it will go a long way toward teaching yourself and others to respect your time and space.


The thing is you are totally in charge of allowing yourself to be distracted and interrupted, and with minimal effort of your part, you can significantly reduce the number of them in your day, week and year. Yes, you can.



The fourth of the five business success killers is ISOLATION. “A support system is critical for business endeavors. In the absence of support the environment will control and that is rarely a good thing!” ~Graham Skinner, Master-Mind Alliance Director, Chico, CA. Graham has it absolutely right.


The loneliness of the small business owner – and lack of a support system – has been written about a lot by many authors. Here’s the deal. When you feel stuck with a pesky cash flow problem, who can you turn to for advice? Certainly, not your competitors. Probably not your employees because if they could help, the problem would most likely already be solved. And probably not your spouse either, who might say something like, “Honey I hear what you’re struggling with and I’ve offered my suggestions, but if the problem persists you need to find someone who can help you solve it, and that’s probably not me.”


So, you feel stuck and you live with the isolation because indeed the buck and the complicated issues and the pesky problems stop with you. This is painful and stressful. You have a genuine need for helpful input and yet, you have no one who can meaningfully provide the help you seek.


What can you do?


Simple, you can search for a mentor or an experienced business coach. And arrange to meet with him or her, lay out your problem and ask for advice.


Or, perhaps even better, you can join a mastermind group made up of other ambition business owners who agree to offer each other advice and aid in a spirit of mutual respect and harmony. There are mastermind groups in many places, even on line.


Reaching out to a genuinely helpful individual or group of individuals, well, it’s the only way to minimize the isolation, that as a business owner, is your constant companion.



The fifth of the five business success killers is RELUCTANCE. When you are not sure how to proceed, when you are frozen in place by circumstances, when you are scared, angry, discouraged, concerned about dwindling resources, fearful of another lose or failure – or even fearful of success – for then much more might be demanded of you – and you do not resolve your situation in reasonable time, big trouble will in variably occur.


Where does reluctance come from? Reluctance is a consequence of confusion, uncertainty, lack of clarity, dwindling resources, time and personal energy.


Feel unprepared? Make a plan, add an activity schedule and just start.



Now then, what can you do about these FIVE BUSINESS SUCCESS KILLERS? How can you overcome them?


Simple, you can find and install better business strategy and better business behavior.


How do you get better business strategy and better business behavior when you’ve tried everything you can think of and no improvement has occurred?


Simple again, you can open yourself up to receiving help from people who can – and who are – willing to offer you meaningful help in a spirit of harmony.


Who are these people, and where can you find them? The people who can be most helpful to you are fellow business owners – peers who understand what your business-life is like, because they have been there and they have faced much of what you have faced.


How can business owner peers help?


Simple again, because they are not inside your business, yet are widely experienced in many aspects of business ownership, they are uniquely positioned to provide you with the one thing you can never provide to yourself, namely valid and reliable perspective, an objective look at what is going on inside your business. Outside the loop peers can see and can hear things you simply cannot.


How can you get started on this journey of receiving input?


First, you have to want better strategies and better behavior. Then you have to be bold enough to ask for it in the right place.


Where is that right place?


The Master-Mind Alliance® is the perfect place. The Master-Mind Alliance® is a terrific input generator. Taken collectively, the business owner members are a better business strategy and better business behavior input generator.


Alliance members will listen carefully to you as you describe what’s going on inside your business. Then, they help you process your issues and problems and offer you salient advice with which to create better business strategy and better business behavior. Then, they will nudge you to install that better business behavior. Finally, they will hold you accountable to all decisions and actions you take that will make your business better and more successful and more profitable.


Better input, better decisions and plans, better behavior and a truck load of accountability gets it done.

Time Blocking is Great



What is the number one thing people struggle with when it comes to getting things done? It’s probably time, right?


There are only 168 hours in a week and they go by quickly. And you have things to do.


To be super productive you must guard your time against distraction and interruption and you must avoid procrastination or you will lose the battle.


Ask yourself how much you struggle with getting things done…because you run out of time or are just procrastinating.


So, what can you do?


YOU CAN TIME BLOCK, that’s what.




Look at your available time and a list of things you what to accomplish, then identify blocks of time in your calendar to devote to each type of task and hold yourself to those blocks of time as much as you would a most important appointment. Sounds simple huh.


For example: Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 9:00 to 11:00 you make phone calls. Wednesday afternoon from 3:00 to 4:00 you go over financials, check on cash flow. Friday afternoon from 2:00 to 3:00 you look ahead to your next week and make a fresh TO DO LIST.


You might have several predetermined blocks of dedicated time in your week, perhaps even in your everyday calendar.


These scheduled blocks of task orientated times must be utilized as planned without distraction, interruption or procrastination.


Time Block. Do What Matters. Get It Done.


Now then, if you ever have trouble dealing with any part of your business life at any time, you call me, okay. I will help you make things better.

Perfection Is A Never Ending Quest


Yes indeed, an inescapable truth.


Here’s another. Change we must, often and forever.


A ton of stuff has been written about perfection and change. I’ll tackle change first.


What do we know about change? Well, I believe we all know that change is inevitable, inescapable and always a part of our life whether we like it or not.


Success and happiness in life requires struggle, and that means change and more change and then more change.


We change to make things better, to improve our situation and the situations of the people we care about.


Wikipedia says change is the process or end result of becoming different. Sure, but better – nearer to perfect – never intentionally worse. Changing your situation to intentionally make it become worse in some way would be stupid don’t you think? Yeah.


Now about perfection. Perfection is a steady state we seek – the desired end result of the changes we make.


Human beings are constantly chasing an ideal, a notion of perfection. This is the reason why we change so much and so often. We want life to be better. Of course it is perfectly human for us to want this. Better or perfect can mean simpler, easier, faster, slower, richer, wiser, longer, shorter, stronger, healthier, all sorts of things.


Now Sir Winston Churchill was a very influential world leader in his time. He was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1940 to 1945 and again from 1951 to 1955. A wise and cleaver man to be sure.


When Churchill was running the British war effort against the Germans and the Italians in WWII, he was faced with an unimaginable number of necessities to change things every day, probably every hour. After all, the future of humanity as was a stake.


In the quotation above Churchill is saying that to get what we want, to live the life we want, we must be prepared to work on making changes all the time, forever and ever seeking perfection. Big, small, easy, painful or whatever we must change if we are to enjoy our life.


WHY – because the external and internal environments in which we live and work change all the time. Nothing stays the same for long. As soon as we get all settled into something terrific we’ve just created as a result of effort, the universe comes along as says – “Surprise, things beyond your immediate control are now different. More is required of you if you want to restore balance and be happy again.” Such is life folks. Like it or not.


What will you change today? You might have an answer to this. But what will you need to change next week or next month? This you may now know until next week or next month comes along.




When you successfully change and make your situation truly better, for a while – you do get to experience perfection – and that feels great. It is addicting almost. So perfection we seek because it feels so good. Again, perfectly normal and human of us all.


FINALLY – A big thanks to William Hardwick, owner of A-1 Cleaning Service and HumWebIt in Eureka, for sharing Churchill’s quotation with me a couple of days ago. I was thinking about the quest of perfection and the need to never ending change for the rest of the day and decided to write about it here. Thanks Will.

Small Often Leads To BIG!



By Graham Skinner

Master-Mind Alliance® – Chico, CA


Minor changes can have a major effect. The thought of growing a business is daunting for many an owner of a small business. Sadly, this can stand in the way of true prosperity. The reality is that growth can come much more easily than would ever have been thought possible – just by making small, easy to manage changes.


It’s said that the flapping of a butterfly’s wing in Brazil caused a major event (a tornado) in Texas some years ago. While the veracity of that actual event is open to interpretation, it is a fact that that minor mathematical changes have huge effects in Quantum Physics. Well guess what, the same is true, and demonstrable, in analyzing the financial statements of businesses.


For instance small increases of, say, 5% in several key metrics such as gross revenues and gross profit margin in conjunction with corresponding reductions in some expenses can yield over 25% additional net income in most businesses. 25% in additional net income (i.e. CASHFLOW) with a relatively minor increase in gross revenue! Obviously results will be different in each business, however the concept remains the same – small, easily implementable changes lead to more cash flow.


In fact we have seen multiple situations wherein net income doubled by implementing strategies to make changes of just 10% across the key functions of leads, conversions, transactions, prices and profits. Imagine what happens when you really focus and increase one of those areas by 50% – the numbers become exponentially fantastic. This is how you can take a 6 figure business to a 7 figure business in one year.


So, look at those reports your accountant or your accounting program produce for you. Figure out what YOUR metrics are and how you might improve them just a little bit (or a big bit if you’re ready). If you have no accountant or accounting program, get one – used properly, they pay for themselves quickly.


If you would like ideas on how to interpret your numbers and implement manageable change then contact us. We’ve been there, we’ve done that and we’ve paid for ourselves many times over.



Here’s an inescapable truth. Success and happiness in business requires struggle. The positive is the side effect of handling the negative. And as you all know only too well, you can only avoid negative experiences for so long before they come roaring back to life.


An interesting question, a question that perhaps you’ve never considered before is how much pain are you willing to endure in your business-life? What are you willing to put up with in your struggle to attain and sustain success in your business? Turns out that the answer to this question is a terrific determiner of how your business-life turns out.




At the core of all human behavior, our needs are more or less similar. Positive experiences are easy to handle. It’s the negative experiences with which we all struggle. Therefore, what we get out of life is not determined by the good feelings we desire, but by what bad feelings we’re willing and able to sustain to get us to those good feelings that we want.


We all want to become and then remain financially successful in our business endeavors. But we don’t end up that way unless we find an acceptable way to appreciate and accept the risk, the uncertainty, the repeated failures, and the fact that we’re often required to work insane hours on something we’re unclear as to how successful it will turn out to be.


The quality of our business-life success and happiness is not determined by the quality of our positive experiences – but the quality of our negative experiences. And to get good at dealing with negative experiences is to get good at dealing with life. So buck up and get with it.


The crux of all this is the question about the pain. What is the pain that we want to sustain, that we are willing to endure to get what we most want?


Answer that question and we will get ourselves going. Answer that question and we can change our life, for it is the answer to the pain question that is what makes us who we are. It’s what defines us and separates us and ultimately brings us together.


We must want the reward and the struggle. We must want the result and the process. That’s what it takes to win the never ending struggle. End of story.


The WHAT and the WHY



Someone asked me the other day how is it that so many already successful Master-Mind Alliance business owners members double their business income in just a few months or a couple of years in the program? I have been asked this question before so I have an answer.


The answer is…


Excellent, thorough and comprehensive planning: including strategies that work, and a big dose of support and accountability. That’s it. Oh, and more thing – HUNGER. The business owner has to really want to make his or her income double or triple or quadruple.


Every new member to the Master-Mind starts planning to get more of what they want – often it’s some combination of more money and less work – by answering EIGHT DONE Business Generating Questions. A DONE Business is a nearly perfect business, one that generates plenty of cash money, as we used to say in Texas, and is easy to operate so the owner can have the life that owning a business is supposed to make possible.


The first two of the eight questions are these:


1. WHAT – Exactly what is it you most want from your business right now?


Sometimes I ask this follow-up question to get people started with an answer. “If you could wave a magic wand around your business and change or improve anything about it, what would you change?”


It is crucial that the person describe in detail exactly what it is that he or she wants, and in plain language. I often ask them to answer this question as if they were speaking to a child. Then I ask them to write down their answer.


Once I, as an outside listener, understand what it is they want, then comes the second question.


2. WHY – Why do you want that? How will having what you want make your business-life and your life in general better, more fulfilling, and more satisfying?


And I ask them to answer this question as if they were talking to someone who knows little or nothing about them or their business. Once I understand their “why” then and only then can we proceed to do the rest of the planning paradigm. You see, the “why” is their motivation, their HUNGER – as in an overwhelming intense desire to achieve – and that has to come from within.


However, if they are not sparklingly clear and concise as to what they WANT and WHY, guess what happens. Not much! No business owner or professional person I have ever met has successfully and on a reasonable schedule ever doubled or tripled or quadrupled his or her and income without first establishing this strong upfront clarity. Sure, blind luck plays a role sometimes in quantum leaps forward but that’s rare.


CLARITY AND HUNGER + HARD WORK AND ACCOUNTABILITY generate INCOME DOUBLE and HALF THE TROUBLE. It all starts with a power filled answer to the WHAT and the WHY. Get that right and we can drill down through the other six of the EIGHT DONE Business Generating Questions.








Yes you will…IF you ask and answer 3 questions.




1. What was your biggest business VICTORY in 2016? What was that thing you did that made your business significantly better, more profitable, easier to manage, more fun, and so on.


Give yourself a few minutes to sort through all your accomplishments and pick the really big one. Write down what you did and the results you got to experience as a result.


2. What was the biggest business LESSON you learned in 2016? What mistake or error or screw up did you make – and then recover from – that was a big gift of learning, something you can use to be better from now on?


Again, give yourself a few minutes to think back through all twelve months of 2016 and pick that one significant lesson learned, Write down what happened and how you fixed it and the lesson or lessons you learned from that experience.

Note: A lesson learned from a mistake is another victory.


3. Of all the things that you might chose to FOCUS your attention on next year, which if carried off well would measurably improve your business…what’s the main single one? Where exactly ought your focus be?


For this exercise you can only pick one thing, so what is it?


Write it down and start planning how you will accomplish it.


VICTORY, LESSON, FOCUS – these 3 little questions and answers have huge implications as you move into the New Year. 

8 Simple Yes or No Questions Business Health Questions







Get out your pencil and check YES or NO as you read through these eight key business health assessment questions.


Note: There is no “maybe” or “sort of” answer to these questions. If it’s not a clear YES, it’s a NO.



1. Do you operate your business from a written plan that contains           goals and describes how you will achieve them?

2. Do you have a simple way to track business growth over time?

3. Have you doubled your income from sales in the past 3 to 5 years?

4. Do you have an adviser who helps you create winning business           strategy?

5. Do you usually work in a low pressure relaxed state of mind?

6. Are you able to leave work at work when you go home?

7. Can you be gone a lot and have your business still function well?

8. Do you have an exit plan in mind?


How many YESES did you get?


If your business running splendidly, you got a lot of YES answers. 


If you said NO too many times you might want to set up a time for us to talk a bit.


Things can be better.


You can have more predictability, more growth, more profits, more prosperity and more business happiness.


You can answer YES to everyone one of the eight questions, and you should.

You Must Separate Work-Life From Home-Life



“I want you to pay attention to me.”


You’ve had a trying day at work. You drive home worrying about work matters. You walk into your house and in five minutes your spouse says, “Where are you, because you’re sure not here with me?”


You brought your work stress home and were unable to “be present” with the folks who live there. You were distracted. Your mind was clearly on other things. You were quick to anger. You were doing harm to your home life and to yourself personally too.

If this is ever you, your unpleasant demeanor and “not present” reaction to the folks at home is unnecessary and completely avoidable – IF – you apply corrective strategy and take appropriate action.

Practical steps to deal with this need to separate your work-life from your home-life come from research on “psychological detachment” – the ability to leave work-stress and worry at work and go home mentally unencumbered.

And yes, this is one of those things that is easier said than done.

The big trouble comes when you do enough to “detach.” And Big True Fact: Mental detachment from work is hardest just when you need it most. Nonetheless, there are clear findings on how to help switch off from work. Just like you can wash your hands to avoid illness, you can prevent your stress from rubbing off onto others.



One of my favorite authors and motivational speakers, Jim Rohn, once said, “Every day, stand guard at the door of your mind.”

Negativity of any kind is a distraction from your true desires. If excessive worrying, and the mental stress it creates, festers too long, stays with you when it should be gone – like when you leave work at the end of the day – it becomes cancer-like, in that it eats away at your dreams and destroy the peace and tranquility you ought to enjoy in your home life.

By failing to leave your work worries at work, you invite those unpleasant feelings to permeate your outside of work relationships. Do this enough and you risk ruining those family and friend relationships that ought to nourish you and make you a more human and loving person.


Here are six strategies that have been proven to separate work-life from home-life.


I recommend that you go through your next day’s tasks before your leave your work place. Make a list in a notebook and put the notebook aside till the start of the next day.

Before you leave work, taking a few minutes to plan your activities for the next work day is an excellent idea. It is especially important to list the main thing(s) about which you are highly concerned and deeply worried.

Extra Bonus: Having an ongoing record in a notebook you keep is an effective score keeping device as well. It’s good to keep track of things, especially what happens with the things about which you worry.

As part of this strategy, I recommend you write a “START HERE” list for your next work day. This is a great way to be prepped on what matters most for when you return. Now, this list of thing(s) that weigh on your mind is far more likely to be non-routine matters, things that are different or unusual or problematic, rather than ordinary things you do every day or week.

Make this “START HERE” and put it aside. Then at the beginning of your next workday you’ll be prepared – you’ll be ready for what lies ahead. And you’ll have no real need to worry about anything until you get into work next time.

NOTE: please avoid going to the corner bar and tossing back a few big orange drinks as this closing ritual often just makes matters worse.


Find someplace outside you house to park your work worries. This sounds weird but you can metaphorically park your worries behind before you go through your front door. You could choose the branch of a tree or a flower pot or just about anything handy. Whatever you choose for this, reach out and touch that physical item and say in your mind (or out loud) that you are parking your worries there – and that you’ll pick them up again the next workday.

Lean forward, touch the tree branch, or whatever you chose, and say “I’m leaving work concerns here right now.” Then, head inside to focus on your home life. This is a great way of stopping your mind whirring over what you might have to do your next day at work.


When you step inside, go up to your spouse or child or whoever and hug them and say “Hello love, I glad to home with you!” Then get into their world and out of yours. Smile, make eye contact. Pay attention to the people who live with you. Prove to them that you care about their lives.


When you first get home, turn off from the outside world. Put your cell phone in the charger. Leave the internet and your email untouched. And very important, never look at email just before going to bed.


By taking off and putting away what you wore to work, then donning some other combinations of shirts, pants, skirts, blouses, shoes, slippers and such, you make a strong physical statement that work is over. This is especially important for home-based workers who need a little extra in terms of disconnecting and psychologically detaching.


Finally, bear in mind the research highlighting the importance of using some of your non-work time to do what you enjoy and what makes you happy. You might think of this as getting some “me time.” The idea is that your “me time” activities help you cope with your family and work responsibilities more effectively, as well as helping keep your mind off work related worries.

In conclusion, of course you have many different roles in life. But you are ultimately one and the same person, with limited time, energy and resources. If pressure is applied in one area of life, the consequences ripple outwards to other areas. So take care and build an effective separate work-time from not work-time habit, and you’ll be healthier and happier too. So will everyone else around you.

To Grow Your Business Follow The Right Sequence Of Steps


To grow your business, follow the right sequence of steps.


Here are four ways to grow your business.


A. You can focus on market penetration and sell more of the same product or service to more of the same people. This notion is commonly known as up selling or cross selling.

B. You can sell different products or services to your existing customers.

C. You can take your existing offerings out to new markets.

D. You can create new products and services for new markets and customers.


The highest probability, lowest risk strategy is “A”. The second lowest risk, fastest payback is “B.” Yet, time and again business owners by-pass these two steps and leap right into higher risk “C” and “D” strategies. Never make this the first thing you do. Instead find ways to increase the effectiveness and productivity in step “A” before moving on.


Improving your “A” game will take your venture up the growth ladder, and that will be great, and great is good, you want as much of great as you can get.


Here’s what one business owner I know has done to improve his “A” game.


Jack Wilson, (not his real name) owns a local floor and window covering business. It doesn’t really matter what kind of business Jack owns because any business owner can do this.


To play the “A” game to win, Jack regularly and routinely makes something we call Customer Care Calls. The profits from this activity are enormous and easy to generate, especially when compared to all other growth activities.


Here’s what Jack does.


Every Tuesday morning Jack sets aside a time block of one hour, between 10:00 AM and 11:00 AM. During this dedicated Focus Time period Jack is on the phone. He makes calls to some of his existing customers. He sets aside one full hour as his objective is to keep dialing until he actually speaks to six individuals. If he speaks to his six in the first 10 minutes he’s finished.


If Jack does not get through to the person he is trying to reach, and there is a way for him to leave a message, he simply says, “This is Jack Wilson from Carpets Are Us and I will try reaching you at another time.” Then he calls them back the next Tuesday morning.


For the six individuals he does reach on his phone call, the conversation goes something like this. “Hi Bill, this is Jack Wilson from Carpets Are Us. As you know, we installed new carpeting in your living room about three weeks ago and I’m just calling today to see that everything is fine and dandy. Is it?”


Bill answers and says he and his wife and kids love the new carpet and that things are just fine.


Then, and here’s the good part, Jack says, “Well, I remember when we were out there that your wife asked me to take a look at your kitchen floor. Apparently she thinks the linoleum is starting to look a bit dated. So I was just wondering if it might be time for me to come show you some samples of what we might do to brighten up your kitchen for you. I have my appointment schedule in front of me, do you think later this week or early next week I might stop by?”


Then he stops talking and waits.


About half of the time this works, Jack gets an appointment to come show his previous customers something else. And most often his follow-up appointments and presentations result in more work and more income for Jack. This is very good of course.


Here’s the thing. When you make Customer Care Calls, you are talking to people who already know you, like, and trust you enough to have recently already purchased something from you. Repeat sales are so much easier to make than brand new ones for this reason.


Now Customer Care Calls are not going to be possible for every type of business. For example, owners of grocery stores and many retail establishments rarely know the phone numbers of their customers. For them up selling and cross selling can happen in other ways, but not by Customer Care Calls. But for those businesses where customer’s phone numbers are known, it ought to be full speed ahead.


To set started with Customer Care Calls for your business, simply make a list of recent customers or clients, whatever term you use to refer to recent buyers, and set aside a time block when you can call them without interruption. You get to decide how any individuals you wish to speak to, six, four, or eleven whatever. And I recommend that you leave no message other than that you called and will try again at another time.


This always works.


Over the years I’ve coached all sorts of people through this process, you name it, insurance agents, real estate agents, construction company owners, caterers, sign makers, investment advisers, accountants, advertising executives, IT company owners, automotive repair shop owners, dentists, dog trainers, psychotherapists, and more.


So do the proactive thing. Instead of waiting around for potential customers to contact you, make a few strategic phone Customer Care Calls and generate some easy sales every week.


Any business owner and/or professional person, utilizing targeted Customer Care Calls, can sell more of the same stuff to the same buyers who already know them. There is no rocket science to this. It’s just the smart thing to do.


There is never sense in ignoring opportunity so you should start making Customer Care Calls tomorrow.

Of course, there are other ways to up sell and cross sell – to play the “A” game – Customer Care Calls just happen to be one of my favorite because you are totally and fully and completely in charge of this make more money activity. That’s a good thing.

If you are reluctant to do this for any reason please call me immediately and I’ll convince you to incorporate this top money making activity as part of your regular routine. Then INCOME DOUBLE & HALF THE TROUBLE will be right around the corner.


Seriously, if you have trouble dealing with any part of your business life at any time, you call me, okay.


PLEASE…Double Your Business Income




Why should you do this?

Well here’s the thing.

When you avoid taking steps to double your income, you are losing money. How much money are you losing? You are losing whatever your current annual gross income generate by your business is right now. And his loss will continue for every year that you work, until you retire.

For example if your annual gross income from your business activities is $500,000, and you avoid taking steps to double your income, you are losing $500,000 a year for every year you run your business until you retire. Figure twenty years until retirement, that’s a loss of ten million dollars. Ten million dollars is a lot to give up.

We have dozens of proven strategies for different types of business and know absolutely which steps you can take to double your income in reasonable time. In fact you can do it without spending more time in your business and minimal, if any, additional marketing dollars just by increasing each of 5 key metrics by a mere 10%. So do you think it might be smart to talk with us? Yeah.

A Written Operational Plan is a Must


Plan for your business success Humboldt County

Sometimes business owners ask me if it is really that important to have a written operational plan. The answer is YES, YES, YES.

I don’t care what you call it, it can be a business plan, a growth plan, a marketing plan, whatever you like, but you definitely need one.

And it must be written.

Here’s why.

A WRITTEN PLAN POINTS YOUR BUSINESS IN A DESIRABLE DIRECTION. First and foremost, you want that. The people who help you operate your business want that too. They want to know where you (and they) are going.

People work for more than a paycheck. They work for ideals, goals and a mission or purpose. As the leader of all those who help you, it is your task to inspire them to help you. And by pointing them in a desirable direction, and by outlining clear benefits they can expect to enjoy when they help you secure your vision, those you lead will be far more likely to help you get all that you want.

A WRITTEN PLAN SHAPES STRATEGY. And the right strategy creates prosperity and happiness on the part of the business owner.

Every business and business owner needs a growth and prosperity strategy – and it needs to be written done in the form of a plan. And strategies can never be created in a vacuum. So instead of looking at what’s new or what competitors are doing and trying to copy them, wise business owners create the most effective strategies possible to accomplish the mission their company is set out to accomplish.

Here’s the deal. There are six and only six ways that a business can be made to grow by applying strategy. I say “made to grow” because a business does not grow by itself. The business owner and his or her people have to do things and say things to make the business grow.

Here are those six things.

Double Your Income Humboldt County

Please note that these six things also contribute to INCOME DOUBLING, a very nice benefit to be sure. Who does not want to their business to generate more money? Well, no one I’ve ever met thinks that’s a bad idea – and indeed I never met anyone whose business suffered because it generated too much money.

A WRITTEN PLAN PROVIDES A TEMPLATE FOR DECISION-MAKING. Your plan sets important boundaries which enable you to delegate both responsibility and authority to others…so you don’t have to do everything yourself. Writing things down provides you with a framework for thinking throughout your organization. It gives you boundaries and guardrails to follow so you can stay on the path to your preferred future.

AND FINALLY, A WRITTEN PLAN FACILITATES EVALUATION AND IMPROVEMENT. No plan is perfect and things will go wrong. But when you have a plan, you can measure your progress against your plan and make course adjustments and operational revisions as needed along the way.

Big True Fact: With a written operational plan for your business that details key goals and the steps you and others will take to secure them, you have a much better chance of consistently saying and doing things that will indeed make your business grow and prosper like never before. And make your life less stressful and more satisfying at the same time…great outcomes!

Of course, I can help you formulate a simple plan. It does not need to be 50 pages long with lots of statistical stuff. A couple of pages will do nicely for starters.

Are Business Goals Ruining Your Life?

What are your goals?

In 1953 Yale University started a long term study the goal setting habits of the graduating class of that year. They wanted to know how the careers of those who set goals would turn out. Years later they found that the 3% of the graduates who routinely set and worked on goals – had amassed more wealth than the other 97% of the class combined. That’s an amazing consequence and an almost overwhelming endorsement of goal setting huh? The only problem is that the Yale Study of Goals never took place. It’s a myth.

And know this please. It turns out that setting and then chasing after goals can often backfire in horrible ways. There is a good case to be made that many of us would do better to spend less time on goal setting and instead spend more time focusing on how we would like the future to turn out.

Let’s face it, we live in a world where acquisition, achievement and career success have become all important. This has been supported by our innate desire to have more and be more in life.

A whole movement which studied the psychology of success, whether it’s achieving our personal goals and/or our business goals, has taught us that the only way to “succeed” is to set clearly defined goals. Having set these goals, they are achieved by focusing unwaveringly on their achievement and taking action, often daily, to achieve those chosen outcomes.

But the truth is – outcomes and never guaranteed regardless of what we do and the very goal setting process could be ruining our lives.

So what should we do?

Well how about this?

Within all of us is a sense of inner wisdom that can be used to guide us in every aspect of our life including being successful in business. It can guide us to achieve all that is for us to achieve. This inner wisdom can inspire us with new ideas and options that we had perhaps not considered and it can be used to guide us in the creation of our dreams. By dreams I mean those ideas and often random synchronicities that come us to that inspire us to act on them. They are not goals that we set, but are ideas that well up from inside us, that just come to us and take hold of us. These dreams feel right, they energize us and they are totally in alignment with who we are.

Most importantly of all, our inner wisdom can guide us in how to be happy in all that we do because it has our fulfillment at its core. This innate wisdom really can see the bigger picture of our lives as well as our talents and skills and it gives us these gifts of creative insight at just the right time. And often all we have to do is ask is “What is the Universe offering me right now?” “What things are happening naturally and easily for me at this moment?” It may be that right now there is no action to take, no dream to act on and if we can accept that everything is perfect for us, then we really are acting in alignment with Universal flow.

So goal setting has a place in our lives and in our business activities of course. But, so does that inner wisdom we have, to which we might benefit from giving more of our attention.

Some of the above article liberally adapted from the writings of Sara Alexander Oliver Burkeman by me.



JULY 2016

Let me share a universal truth.

If you are determined enough to own and operate a small business, the number one thing you want is to exert maximum control over the outcomes of your money making activities so that your enterprise may thrive and continue to exist. In other words you seek the ability to confidently predict results. Without this ability your business will always be uncomfortably stressful to operate and it may stumble, falter and may ultimately fail.

On the other hand, when you are armed with the ability to confidently predict the outcomes of your money making activities you will have low stress levels and plenty of free time, an altogether highly desirable life style, all the consequences of you doing your own thing in your own way. This is a life only a few get to enjoy as most never will. It is entrepreneurial freedom and that’s absolutely splendid.

To have those things your business operation must run systematically, so it can actually run by itself, without you needing to be there all the time. That’s entrepreneurial freedom and that’s absolutely splendid.

Getting there requires astute strategic planning and nearly flawless implementation of top money making activities. And of course, chaos must be made to give way to predictability.
JULY 2016.2The die with all faces showing sixes above is an example of predictability. No matter how you toss it, it will always come up as a six.

Here’s the question then. How can more business owners get more of those three things they all want?

With helpful input, that’s how.

Big Fat Truth: It is very difficult to become — and then to remain super successful — when working in isolation, making decisions and doing your problem solving and planning all by yourself. Running a small business is just too complex and too hard to be done well without external perspective, input and support.

Business people who want to long term success, sustainable success, need regular input on strategy and plans from folks like themselves who are willing to share their knowledge and expertise and who understand what it’s like to have the buck stop at their feet because they’ve all been there. Successful business owner peers are most able to actually offer meaningful help and support to others like themselves because they understand, they get it.

Every business owner needs a place where they can get together with supportive peers and say, “I don’t have this all figured out.”

Long ago I had a flash of insight. I thought, “Hey by golly, if I can create a committed community of business owners, and in so doing provide a place where they feel it’s safe to say three magic words, I don’t know… and then receive helpful problem solving and shrewd planning input from their peers… I just might have myself a business. So I did.” And 40 years later, I’m still at it. It’s called the Master-Mind Alliance®.

How’s it going? The best answer comes from the results experienced by our members. And I’m happy to say that in the last few months of 2016 we added four more business owner members of the Master-Mind Alliance® to the BUSINESS INCOME DOUBLE CLUB. These four business owners drove out the chaos, instituted better systems and strategies, achieved predictability, doubled their business income, and they’re doing great.

One did better than double, he quadrupled his business income.

Business people who want to be successful in the long run need input on strategy and plans from folks like themselves who understand and who can actually offer others the special kind of help and support because… they’ve all been there.

If the notion of a committed community of business owners who help each other prosper sounds intriguing at all to you, and if you think you might like to explore your options with us, you are invited to bring yourself to a meeting of the Master-Mind Alliance® with no cost or obligation attached. You can meet members of the Master-Mind Alliance®, experience what we do, and of course talk to the newest members of the BUSINESS INCOME DOUBLE CLUB.

So come on… you can’t lose. At the very least, you’ll learn a couple of new things about business strategy and meet some great local business owners.

Fierce Conduct



What does it mean to engage in FIERCE CONDUCT? What does it mean to speak and act deliberately? How does one actively engage with others?


Think back. Have you had someone in your life – a parent, an aunt, a teacher – who took an significant interest in you, someone who made it obvious that he or she liked you cared about you? Do you remember anyone life that in your life? If you do, then you probably recall that you liked and respected that person, felt affection towards that person, and wanted to be around that person – and might have even wanted to help that person with whatever activities he or she was involved in – that’s what we’re talking about fostering.


Let me suggest something – that person back then was probably – no not probably – that person was most assuredly acting FIERCELY, engaging in FIERCE CONDUCT.


For our purpose here FIERCE means Focused, Inspired, Energized, Ready, Confident, and Enthused.


Perhaps you’ve also been around people, who had some influence or authority over you, who were stand-offish, aloof, cold and secret about everything – or who were definitely unlikeable in a variety of ways, not caring at all. And you may remember how you felt about them. Did you feel like helping them much? Probably not. These folks were anything but FIERCE in their conduct.




Anyone can learn to be more confident. And it’s a skill we can teach ourselves.


Begin by understanding that confidence is an ability people are born without, it does not come naturally. In fact, being shy and cautious is the natural human state. Shy and cautious is how people in early times lived long enough to pass on their genes. You had to be cautious to survive. But the things our very long ago ancestors needed to worry about are not the things we need to worry about today.


So, how do you teach yourself to be more confident?


1. Put your thoughts in their place.

Researchers tell us that the average human has 65,000 thoughts every day and 85 to 90 percent of them are negative – things to worry about or fear. These warnings to ourselves are left over from our cave-dwelling past. It makes sense – if we stick our hand in a flame our brain wants to make sure we don’t ever do that again. But this survival mechanism works against us because it causes us to focus on fears rather than hopes or dreams.


The point is to be aware that your brain works this way, and keep that negativity in proportion. Actively realize is your thoughts are just thoughts, they don’t necessarily represent objective reality.


2. Begin at the end.

Know where you want to go. Everything you do should be leading you where you want to go.


3. Start with gratitude.

Begin the day by thinking about some of the things you have to be grateful for. Big True Fact: Most of the 7 billion people in the world won’t have the opportunities you have, probably ever. If you start out with that perspective, you’ll be in the right frame of mind for the rest of the day.


4. Take a daily step outside your comfort zone.

There’s a funny thing about comfort zones. If we step outside them on a regular basis, they expand. This is good. If we stay within them, they shrink. This is bad. Avoid getting trapped inside a shrinking comfort zone by pushing yourself to do things that are outside it.


5. Remember: Dogs don’t chase parked cars.

If you’re running into opposition, questions, and doubts, there’s probably a good reason – you’re going somewhere. That doesn’t mean you should ignore warning signs, but it does mean you should put those negatives in perspective. If you make changes and challenge the status quo from time to time, that will be good. That will help you grow and do great things.


6. Get ready to bounce back.

It’s never failure that destroys our confidence. It’s not getting back up. Take the lesson, get back up, and go fiercely at it again. Remember failure had a good side. It teaches us lessons for future attempts. Baseball players with the biggest home run records also have the biggest strikeout records. Taking more swings gets you where you want to go.


7. Find a mentor.

Whatever you’ve set out to do, there are likely others who’ve done it first and who can offer you useful advice or at least serve as role models. Find those people and learn as much from them as you can.


8. Choose your companions wisely.

Another Big True Fact: Your outlook – negative or positive – will be the average of the five people you spend the most time with. So be careful who you hang out with. Make sure you’re hanging out with people who FIERCELY encourage you and lift you up.


9. Do your homework.

In almost any situation, preparation can help boost your confidence. Have to give a speech? Practice it several times, record yourself, and listen.


10. Get plenty of rest and exercise.

There’s ample evidence that getting enough sleep, exercise, along with good nutrition profoundly affects both your mood and your effectiveness. Moderate exercise three times a week for 20 minutes does great things for the mind and body and it also helps ward off Alzheimer’s and depression which is very good.


11. Breathe!

When you breathe heavily you saturate your brain with oxygen, and that makes you more awake and aware. It’s very important to breathe deeply in a tense situation because it will help you realize that you really do have a lot of control over your body and your emotions.


12. Be willing to fake it.

While you never pretend to have qualifications or experience that you lack, you probably do have most of the skills you need – and can likely figure out the rest. Never hang back by assuming you need to have vast experience for an upcoming event or experience. Just start and go for it. That’s the FIERCE CONDUCT way.


13. Remember to ask for help.

Assume people have no idea about what you want. Then educate them. FIERCELY tell them. Once people know what you want, and that you want their help – because you have asked for their help – you may be surprised at how forthcoming they are. People are really flattered when you ask for advice and support. And if someone says no you can always ask someone else. So ask.


That’s it for this edition. Now go have a FIERCE CONDUCT day.


How To Establish Trust By Talking

December 2015

Is there anything more important to living a happy life than being able to establish trust with another person? I doubt it. After all, when people trust us we can do great things. Yet we do not learn about this in school. They don’t teach this, although they should.

To make up for that short coming, here are seven things you can do to establish trust by talking to people.

1. BE A STORY TELLER. People love stories, they listen more intently when to stories. They remember them. So tell good stories. You can even make them up, they don’t have to be true, just interesting and memorable.

2. SHOW GENUINE INTEREST. Demonstrate to the person with whom you are talking that you are sincerely interested in them. Ask about them. Look at them. Make eye contact. Smile.

3. ASK GOOD QUESTIONS. Drum up some always interesting questions you can ask. What was the most interesting thing that happened to you in the last month? What is your opinion of …? Who are the most important people in your life?

4. FIND COMMON GROUND. You will probably have something in common with the people you talk with so delve into that a little bit. Doing this helps you connect to them.

5. BE YOURSELF. You cannot truly be another person so don’t even try. You are already fascinating, so just go with that.

6. SHOW GRATITUDE. When appropriate, when someone does something nice for you, show your genuine appreciation for what they said or did that benefited you.

7. BE PERSISTENT. Keep at this. Trust matters in human interaction so never give up. Keep these seven trust establishing tips in mind and in your service.


It’s The Hassles…

Dec 2015


How many times a day are you distracted or unnecessarily interrupted and knocked off track, or made to feel inadequate or “less than” by what other people say to you, or ask of you, or do to you?

And when these thing happen to you, how many times is it because, although you ought to controlling some situation or other, in fact you are not doing that?

In other words, perhaps when these things happen to you, when you are suffering from a minor or major hassle – it just might be your fault.

Here’s how to prevent or at least minimize the number and severity of hassles caused by the humans in your life.


If you set up clear expectations as to what people can get from you up front, and stick to the agreements you make with them, and demand that they do the same…then the frequency of hassles, like those I’ve described, ought to be reduced significantly, don’t you think? Oh yeah.

GOAL #1 in your business is to achieve financial independence through entrepreneurial brilliance and innovation.


WHO MUST YOU CONTROL? Your customers and clients and your employees, partners and associates, that’s who. Establish boundaries with all those involved in fulfilling your responsibilities. And…very important…establish the mutual agreements and commitments you need…in writing.

Seven Comittments – Building Blocks Of Success


A long time ago I wrote Seven Commitments – made them part of my work and the lessons I teach. In my opinion these commitments are the building blocks to success.

Here they are:

1. Responsibility—“I will use all my power and freedom to create my own life.”

2. Passion—“I will align my interests, enthusiasm and talent with the most appropriate territory.”

3. Insight—“I will know myself, acknowledge my limits and play from my strengths.

4. Openness—“I will seek and accept good counsel and assistance from all helpful resources.

5. Thoroughness—“I will assume nothing without confirmation.

6. Consideration—“I will judge no one without investigation.”

7. Adaptability—“I will regroup and change goals, plans and strategy as necessary.”

The Seven Commitments – there you have them.

Now then, as you get going today and this week, try to remember some of these commitments and try to make them part of how you operate. Do that and you will have a great week and a great life – full of accomplishments.

Praise Early And Often Or Be At Risk

OCTOBER 2015.2

​“It’s very important to praise people early on – otherwise they might die of disappointment.” ~Elizabeth Taylor.

Please note this Elizabeth Taylor is not the person you’re thinking about. This is not the actress. This Elizabeth Taylor is the British novelist.

HERE’S THE TRUTH. To elicit maximum discretionary effort, to insure supreme performance output, and stellar cooperation from those you wish to inspire, you must praise early and often.

HERE’S HOW. Tell them what you want them to do. Tell them what’s in it for them. Then watch them. And when you catch them doing something that significantly contributes to your goals – then pounce. Immediately let them know you appreciate their extra effort and winning result.

TO HAVE A MOTIVATED WORK FORCE THIS IS A MUST DO. Otherwise, those you wish to influence will lose interest in giving you supreme performance and revert back to just getting by. And the total performance of your business will suffer needlessly.


This is not a rocket science thing. It’s easy to do, it’s great, and it’s good for your business.


Oct 2015

What about business anger?

Wikipedia and I believe that anger is a completely natural emotion that we all experience. Despite this fact however it can still be unpleasant and lead to irrational behavior and impaired judgement, potentially resulting in emotional or physical pain. While some forms of anger are perfectly healthy and normal, others pose more of a serious problem. Knowing about how anger can manifest itself differently and understanding the different types of anger as well as the different ways individuals can react to them can help you to control your own and understand the reactions in others.

Three types of anger are recognized by psychologists: The first form of anger, named “hasty and sudden anger” is connected to the impulse for self-preservation. It is shared between both human and non-human animals, and it occurs when the animal is tormented or trapped. The second type of anger is named “settled and deliberate” anger and is a reaction to perceived deliberate harm or unfair treatment by others. These two forms of anger are episodic. The third type of anger is called “dispositional” and is related more to character traits than to instincts or cognitions. Irritability, sullenness and churlishness are examples of the last form of anger.

Psychologists view anger as a primary, natural, and mature emotion experienced by virtually all humans at times, and as something that has functional value for survival. Anger can mobilize psychological resources for corrective action. Uncontrolled anger can, however, negatively affect personal or social well-being. While many philosophers and writers have warned against the spontaneous and uncontrolled fits of anger, there has been disagreement over the intrinsic value of anger. The issue of dealing with anger has been written about since the times of the earliest philosophers, but modern psychologists, in contrast to earlier writers, have also pointed out the possible harmful effects of suppressing anger. And of course, displays of anger can be used as a manipulation strategy for social influence.

The biggest problem with anger is unresolved anger. Anger that festers and destroys ordinary living is unresolved anger and it can wreak havoc over lives and it can of course ruin the functioning and even the existence of an otherwise well managed business enterprise – when those who operate it are caught up in the negative downward spiral of anger left unresolved. We might call this Business Anger.

How do you know if you have unresolved anger? Good question as many who suffer from this malady do not know that they do suffer from the malady. Here’s a quick test.

Think back to a time when someone hurt you – either physically or mentally or when you found the consequences of some event devastating and anger producing. As you are thinking back right now, what do you feel? As you recall this person or event do you feel resentment? Do you get upset and emotional? If so, guess what, you have unresolved anger.

As mentioned above, your unresolved anger might be associated with your work. If you feel upset when driving to work, if you suffer chronic frustration because things are not as you wish them to be too much of the time…if you are severely irritated with bad results from your marketing or the productivity of those you supervise…then obviously you must rework your plans and strategies and your implementation behaviors until things get better and your frustration level subsides.

If you apply all that you know and things do not improve then by all means get some outside input from people who might be able to see things you cannot and offer supportive suggestions and remedies.

Clearly, if an anger producing event you seem not to be able to let go of is in any way connected to the operation of your business – then you must take remedial steps – because the performance of your business is being negatively affected by the inner turmoil affiliated with this event. To resolve the turmoil, you must get past your anger about whatever happened in the past, or is still happened in the present, so you and your business can proceed on a healthy and prosperous path.

Here’s how to do that.

First, tell your angry story to yourself fully and completely. Sit on the edge of your chair and for a moment let it barrel through your mind like an out-of-control train careening down the tracks.

Second, take a big deep breath and stand up. Start recognizing and believing that the story you just reviewed no longer serves you. Yes, what happened happened or what is still happening is still happening. But how much longer are you going to let it be your ball and chain?

Third, shake off the negativity with these strategies that help you soften the story. Open up with compassion to everyone involved, including yourself, especially yourself. Recognize that you are bringing the past bad feeling into your life experience by repeating the story endlessly. So stop that right now. Bring your full attention into the sensations you are experiencing in the moment, today, not the past which is over, finished and done. Even yesterday is over with, finished and done. Even the last minute is over with, finished and done.

Finally, commit to bringing all your actions in alignment with what you really, really want. And that is, to be free in the present to proceed in all your actions fully in charge of what you experience today in every way. An affirmation may be useful. “I am totally in charge of my life experience and today I choose happiness.” And if all else fails and you are still reliving old anger incidents, put a big rubber band on your wrist and whenever misplaced anger rears its ugly head, snap the rubber band real hard. Works every time.

There you go. Now you know all about anger, and how to live free of the negativity of anger left unresolved.


Gumball machine

What do gumball machines, football games, sailboats, cars and law schools have to do with life? Quite a lot it turns out. At least as far as events have unfolded for me.

This article is about the FIVE ESSENTIAL LIFE LESSONS I learned as a kid from age 9 to 16 that have stayed with me all my life and served me well in everything I’ve done.



When I was nine years old I started my first two businesses. Two businesses, my father taught me to never do anything small so two businesses. I had no intention of doing any of this. Stuff just happened to me and one day I was an entrepreneur.

Here’s what happened.

One day my father brought a gumball machine home and set it up on the kitchen table. We never ate in the kitchen as we took all our meals in the dining room, so the gumball machine had a private spot of its own. I was thrilled. Put in a penny, turn the knob and out would come a delicious brightly colored gumball. Yum.

The next morning I carried my new gumball machine to school. It was show and tell day and for once I had something entertaining to show and tell about. Shockingly my presentation was a smashing success. People got out their pennies and bought gum from my machine right there on the spot. I was thrilled. And later that afternoon a number of my little school chums came to my house armed with more pennies to buy more gum. I was in business. I reloaded my gumball machine and kept it all polished and shiny.

Now it just so happened that we lived across the street from my school and in those days all the kids were sent home for lunch. So my gumball business was busy twice day, at lunchtime and after school. I was making pennies and being popular too.


It wasn’t long before it occurred to me that although my business was thriving I was only making pennies. It took a hundred of them to make a dollar. But what if I were selling gumball machines instead of gumballs one by one? What if dad could bring home more gumball machines that I could sell to me existing customers and then supply them with boxes of gumballs when they ran out? Now I could make dollars instead of pennies.

Well that’s what happened. I asked my dad if he would bring home two more gumball machines. He asked me what I planned to do with them and I told him. We had quit a little discussion about it. The next day my dad brought home two more. And I sold them. Then I got more and sold those too. I never knew where they came from, but I knew how to sell them. And the boxes of gumballs for the machines came in the mail from Philadelphia I think.

So my second enterprise – I had a vending machine dealership, that’s what my dad told me I was doing.

My mother opened a savings account for me at the local bank and I added to it regularly. I was nine, had two small businesses and my fortune was steadily growing.



Selling gumball machines for dollars beats selling gumballs for pennies. Why work for pennies when you can work for dollars. Dollars are better. Go for the big return, especially if the work effort is the same or less.

Much later in life I came to appreciate another form of leverage. Why work five days a week if you can figure out how to earn just as much working three days a week and enjoy four day weekends? Yes, more money – less work, that’s better, much better. Leverage is good.




I grew up in South Bend, Indiana. I don’t recommend it. I don’t think you should ever visit South Bend or even fly over it on your way to somewhere else. There’s nothing there, just a few motels and a mannequin factory. The place is a hell hole, especially in the freezing cold winters and in the stemming humid summers.

However there is one thing. Notre Dame University is in South Bend. And they have a football team. We had season tickets to the football games and went to all of them, even in the freezing winter months. Dad would buy a couple of bags of hot peanuts from the concession stand and in we’d go.

Our seats were in the end zone, two rows from the top, not great but we were in the stadium. And Norte Dame Football games were terrific. I still remember some of the players like Paul Hornung, who later played for the Green Bay Packers, Ralph Guglielomi who went on to play for the Washington Redskins and three other teams, and John Mazer who became the head coach of the New England Patriots.

I was in the third grade and very new to football back then, so I didn’t know much about how the game was played.


Right away I noticed that the players on the offense held a little meeting between every play. They gathered themselves into sort of a circle and leaned into to it, sometimes with their arms around each other’s shoulders. I learned was circle was called a huddle. The individual players would “huddle up” and talk for a bit, just a few seconds, and when they were through talking, sometimes they’d clap their hands together, shout something encouraging and then line up for the next play.

My dad told me that the purpose of the huddle was to assess the current situation, plan what to do in the next play and assign tasks to the individual players. I thought that was neat. I mean when a lot is riding on results of something you are about to do, why not pause and assess what’s going on, then plan before taking action, especially when there’s a bunch of really big guys who are determined to stop you from doing whatever you wish to accomplish – like advance a football down the field towards to end zone.

The football players would huddle up between every play whether they were ahead or behind, didn’t matter. plan they would always do.

About this same time I learned to play the board game called Chess and realized that to win that game it was imperative to look ahead and plan ahead. Strategy mattered, another form of planning.


No matter what you are doing life or in your career, take time to huddle, to assess, to think, to talk things over with peers and associates and partners, then decide what to do next and how to keep getting better – then boldly implement planned for action. And never stop planning, even if you are way behind in whatever it is you are endeavoring to do. You nearly always can get better, if you plan well and enough.


There’s a pattern to planning, a rhythm almost. PDCA: You PLAN, then you DO, then you CHECK to see what happened then you ACT and then you repeat. And you can do this forever.




My uncle Bill and Aunt Virginia came to me one day and asked if I would crew for them in their sailboat races for the season. The Borough family had two cottages on a place called Diamond Lake in southern Michigan. I was 13 years old at the time and I said yes.


Bill and Ginny had been sailing for years in several types of boats and were experienced racers. Once I was onboard with the idea, the three of us raced at Diamond Lake and other lakes in Michigan and Indiana. Most every Sunday morning during the summer months we were on the water. And we won a lot, most of the time in fact. There was a reason for that.

Bill and Ginny knew that if we were able to win the start, then if we made no significant mistakes we would win. It so much easier to get out ahead at the start of a sailboat race than it is to catch up from behind. So true in many other places too of course.

One of my jobs on the boat was to count down the minutes and seconds left before the starting gun announcing the official start would be fired. I had a stop watch for this. While I was calling out the time, Uncle Bill would be tactfully steering the boat so as to be in just the right spot the moment the gun went off. This was not easy because the skippers on the other boats were trying to do the same thing. They too wanted to get the most advantageous start so they could have a good change as winning. But Uncle Bill was really good at this. Most every time we won the start we won the race. And I still have a couple of trophies to prove this.

It was also important to keep your focus on what’s going on around you. One day my uncle somehow misplaced his focus and he fell overboard. Aunt Ginny and I were stunned. She turned the boat around and we went back and picked him up. But we lost that race. Focus matters just like starting right.

I took this start well lesson to high school. Whenever a book report or a term paper was assigned to my class I stared it immediately and finished it as fast as I could. Many of my school chums waited until the last minute to get started and suffered the consequences. Better to get a good start to win.

Be alert and pointed in the right direction at the right time.


Start well



There is a huge difference between needs and wants.

I define NEEDS as goods, products and services that are required to sustain life. We NEED food, clothing, shelter and health.

I define WANTS as goods, products and services that are not necessary but that we desire or wish we had. We need a car or a truck to get us around but we don’t need a Ferrari. We need a warm coat but not a mink. We need a wrist watch but not a Rolex.

And NEEDS are more in the realm of the intellectual while WANTS are more in the realm of the emotional.

Some day in the week I turned 16 years old I took and passed my driver’s license test and got a my first license. This was a really big day for me. Now I could go places on my own, whenever I wanted and not need to wait to be driven by an available adult.

Since age 14 I had been working in my father’s office after school and during the summer time as a medical laboratory technician running blood tests and such.

My dad was a physician, a psychiatrist and a neurologist. Dad never did anything small so he had two medical specialties and practiced medicine for a time in four states simultaneously, had an airplane.

In his South Bend practice he kept the psychiatric units in both hospitals full and also had a second location where he did electroshock therapy. In his main office, in addition to conducting psychotherapy interviews in the psychiatry realm, he kept an EEG machine running too. That was the neurology side of his practice. He employed four nurses, a receptionist/office manager and a bookkeeper and me, the lab tech. He practiced what he called volume medicine. Dad did a lot, worked seven days a week.

I was paid to do my job, and since I had no need for money while living at home, and knowing that one day I would need money to buy a car, I saved most of what I earned. A few days after the blessed day when I had my driving license, with checkbook in hand I went car shopping.

Now it just so happened that the Studebaker automobile factory was in South Bend. It was our major industry. And there were lots and lots of used Studies around and for sale. Many were affordable, no that’s not right, many were cheap.


So I bought one, a 1953 Studebaker Champion. I paid $475 dollars for it. My first car, the car I needed. I put a radio in it and had it repainted a nice two tone white over green. My Studie had a V8 engine and a three speed column shift. Working the clutch was tricky for me but I eventually mastered it. However this was not the car I wanted. It was common, mundane and not that fun to drive.

57 Vette

So I bought another car, a 1957 Chevrolet Corvette with a full race cam, two four barrel carburetors and loud mufflers. The Vette cost me $2,750 most of my money at the time. But I didn’t care. I really wanted that Corvette. I was black with red interior. It came with a three speed transmission but I changed that. Put in a four speed – now I had exactly what I WANTED – and yes, the fabulous positive emotions were all there big time with the Vette.

Boy oh boy was that car fun to drive. I kept it for years and wish I still had it. In fact the only mistake I admit to ever making in life was when I sold that first Corvette.

I’ve owned two other Corvettes since then but nothing was so liberating nor gave me such joy as the ‘57.




As mentioned previously, my dad was a psychiatrist and Notre Dame University is located in South Bend. There was law school there.

NDU law school

Twice a year my dad would go on campus to lecture at the law school. The academic dean wanted him to talk about insanity – the medical and legal definitions and such. Law students need to know and understand how insanity might matter to them for that time when they might be prosecuting or defending someone possibly suffering from mental illness.

On a couple of occasions I went with my dad when he delivered these lectures to at the Norte Dame Law School. The place was amazing.

Dad boiled insanity down to simple language. I’ll paraphrase from a term paper I wrote on this in high school. “Some people are nuts. They have no idea of what they are doing. They have delusions and/or hallucinations running wild in their heads that prevent them from thinking straight. Therefore, they are not responsible for consequences of their behavior. They are mentally ill. They are insane.

Their insanity might be a permanent condition or it might be a temporary one. The causes are multifaceted. They might have an organic brain disorder. They might be severely impaired in response to a one time severe emotional traumatic life experience. Some recover and some do not.”

As I was writing my term paper I came upon another definition of insanity, one from Albert Einstein, “The definition of insanity is repeating the same behaviors and expecting different outcomes.” I liked this better than my dad’s psychiatric definition. It seemed to have a much wider application.


Indeed continuing to do things that do not work while expecting different results is insane. Yet, we see people around us doing this all the time.

Millions of business owners do this, especially with their marketing. A simple SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) nearly always reveals problems with what do you think – marketing, that’s what.

Here’s the situation, the business owner knows that his marketing does not produce the financial results he wants. He has engaged in his current marketing activity long enough and thoroughly enough to know for sure that it is fatally flawed. Yet, he keeps trying it over and over and over. This is unproductive, futile, useless and pointless. To get better results the business owner must do something different. Since he’s stuck and feeling resourceless, he ought to huddle-up with helpful advisors and figure out his best to change his behavior, then do that and see what happens, break the cycle of insanity.

So why do we see this not changing behavior situation so often?

Because people strenuously resist change, even when change they must do get better results. Weird human nature but there it is folks.





Leverage all that you do for bigger returns and greater happiness. Keep planning and improving what you do. Start well, keep your focus and never give up. Differentiate between needs and wants. Go for wants there’s more fun there. If what you’re doing isn’t working, it is insane not to change. Avoid insanity at all costs.

What Do You Deserve?

March 2015.2



Winston Churchill’s rallying cry for the British people during WWII was simple and succinct. “Hoping and praying for victory is fine, but deserving it is what really matters.” According to Churchill, victory comes only to those who work long and hard, who are willing to pay the price in blood, sweat and tears.

Churchill had it right. Hard work is the building block of every kind of achievement. Without it, everything else is pointless. You can start with a dream or an idea or a goal, but before any of your hopes can be realized you must truly deserve your success.

Want to succeed? Okay, then succeed. Deserve it. How? Outwork everybody in sight. Sweat the small stuff. Sweat the big stuff. Go the extra mile. But whatever it takes, put your heart and soul into everything you do.

Success is never a lucky break. It is never a divine right. It is never an accident of birth. Success is a choice. One we know a lot about.


Asking yourself what you deserve is a deep question. You’ve probably never thought about this much, especially in regard to the big picture of how you live, how you behave, what you accept and how you treat yourself.

If you are like most people, and of course you are, you’ve never written down an answer to this question. So what are you waiting for? Is there a more important question? I don’t think so.

The what do I deserve question is certainly one you ought to answer – and then you ought to share your answer with those closest to you, your family and best friends and business partners and coaches.

Do that and you’ll be ready to make a PERSONAL DECLARATION OF DESERVING.

You can make a Personal Declaration of Deserving – and you should. Why, because you are worthy of your desires. And because really wanting what you want gives you the power to get whatever that happens to be.

To what do you think you are entitled? I think I know. I think you deserve and are entitled to respect, acknowledgement, fairness, opportunity, love, happiness, good health, peace, prosperity, security and abundance. What do you think?


Mastery of a business takes a while. Once you have it clear as to exactly what you deserve and want, how you’ll get it, what gaps need closing and how you’ll do that, and you’ve carefully written everything down – including an implementation plan and schedule – you can start – and as you proceed, you can adjust – and one day, in the not too distant future you will be there. Everlasting PROSPERITY will be yours. You will have achieved what we in the Master-Mind Alliance® call a DONE BUSINESS.

SWOT Your Goals & Win More Often


Do you set goals for your business? A lot of people do, but for way too many their goals never come to fruition. There are two reasons for this. The goals along with the steps necessary to achieve them are not written down. And they are not set properly in the first place. Writing goals down is easy. And setting them properly is too once you do the required pre-work. The required pre-work that makes setting goals work is a SWOT Analysis. SWOT your goals and win more often.

SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. A SWOT Analysis helps a goal setting business person discover if any progress preventing or dangerous conditions are present. Clearly, before setting goals intended to produce business growth and additional money making, it’s good to know if any serious issues demand immediate attention. A SWOT Analysis also helps a goal setting business person utilize his or her strengths to capitalize on opportunities to improve business performance.

Here is the SWOT Analysis procedure. Strengths: List your advantages and all factors that help you make sales, plus any unique resources you have. Weaknesses: List your disadvantages, limitations and all factors that restrain your sales, plus the things you could improve upon. Opportunities: List your chances to improve overall performance, opportunities to seize ASAP, plus opportunities to create next. Threats: List all external troubles, impediments to growth, plus competitors that concern you.

Now, onto goal setting: First set goals that will wipe out your weaknesses and mitigate your threats. Then set goals that will utilize your strengths to exploit your opportunities. Write down all the steps to take as you go after each goal with enough detail that someone familiar with your type of business would understand your intentions. To secure your goals look at the step-be-step implementation plan every day and perform the next step or steps.

Follow this system as you implement action to secure each goal. Think, sense and perceive – then decide and chose what to do in the step before you – then take bold action – then observe and evaluate results and revise if necessary – then repeat.

And of course your goals need to be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound.

The entire history of the world demonstrates that this goal setting and goal getting procedure – following on the heels of a SWOT Analysis – works just fine.

To Improve Your Business


Okay, you created a plan to improve the performance of your business. And you wrote it down. That’s great. Most business owners don’t have a written plan of any kind.

But you cannot stick your plan in a drawer and never look at it again, because to get what you want you must implement what’s in your business improvement plan. That means you need an “implementation plan” too.

An implementation plan is a subset of your improvement plan. It contains specific goals to attain and projects to initiate and complete. It outlines exactly how your goals and projects are to be accomplished in enough detail that someone familiar with your type of business could read it and immediately understand what you and those who work with you will be doing in the coming weeks and months to make your business more profitable, easier to operate and more personally satisfying to you.


It is the degree to which you work your goals and projects toward a positive conclusion that determines your level of success – your future – the quality of life you will get to enjoy. In other words, your future is a direct consequence of your behavior. The things you say and the things you do create your future.

For you to be happy, your behavior must have impact, must generate positive results, must secure the goals you set and complete the improvement and expansion projects you design and initiate. And the beautiful truth here is that all the things you choose to say – and all the things you choose to do – are totally under your control. You are in charge of all of that, totally.

We know a lot about this.

Richard Borough’s Master-Mind Alliance

Richard Borough’s Master-Mind Alliance

So…what is the Master Mind Alliance® anyway? What’s it all about? Current-Mastermind-Logo

What if you are a business owner and sometimes you are frustrated because you know things could be better than they are right now? What do you do about that? What might help?

Well, INPUT from peers might help. You know, people who also own a business and who also have at times been stuck with some pesky problem or issue and who might be willing to act as an advisor and mentor to you.

And guidance from a business coach might help too.


That’s a bold mission statement that can be summed up like this: INCOME DOUBLE HALF THE TROUBLE. 

Here’s the deal. And you already know this. To be successful in the long run, you must offer things – goods, products and services – that enough people are willing to buy. There must be a reason for potential buyers to contact you, or to accept your contact when you reach out to them. That’s basic business 101 right? Yeah.

For this to work, there also must be a way to economically communicate your offer to the people who would most likely buy from you, if they knew about you and your offer.

And of course, acceptance of your offer, in the form of purchase, must result in enough profit for you to keep going, to stay in business.

Now then, if you could figure out how to do all this yourself, there would be no need for masterminding or for the Master-Mind Alliance®. Or, if you could figure out how to do all this – and were able to make yourself do what you need to do – there would be no need for a business coach to provide encouragement and accountability.

We are here to supply business owners and operators with helpful problem solving INPUT and advice from peers. Richard Borough’s Master-Mind Alliance® business coaching program does just that. In spades.

Our business coaching also provide genuine ENCOURAGEMENT so the input people receive turn into implemented strategy, that is, bold and direct profit generating action.

And last but not least, our business coaching provides a boat load of follow-up and ACCOUNTABILITY so participants in our program will actually do what they agree is good for them, that is, take all reasonable necessary steps pertinent to making measurable progress in reasonable time actually happen for them.

We know that without follow-up, meaningful progress often does not occur. People get distracted, it happens all the time.

Here’s how we operate.

Once a month the Master-Mind  Alliance®  brings together a group of successful business owners who meet to solve problems, evaluate opportunities and work on an assortment of strategic and operational issues. We have chapters in Eureka, CA and in Chico, CA. Our meetings are confidential forums of business owner peers who rely on each other for wisdom and counsel. The goal is more success and greater happiness for all participants.

Hey, I have to advertise once in a while.

INPUT, ENCOURAGEMENT, and ACCOUNTABILITY, that’s about all we have to give.

You have an idea of what you want. Now you just have to figure out how you will get there.

Please remember the business coaching at the Master Mind Alliance® helps with that part.


Stock Photo


Starting with opening the door in the morning, every successful and prospering business enterprise has a set of ESSENTIAL ROUTINES – behaviors and activities that satisfy the needs and wants of the people who buy, and that generate income for the business so it may thrive and continue.

There are ESSENTIAL ROUTINES that present goods, products and services to the audience of potential buyers for the business. There are ESSENTIAL ROUTINES that implement good marketing plans, that make sales conversations happen, that deliver what’s sold, that collect the money, that manage all the people involved, that keep score, and that collectively keep the enterprise moving forward. There are lots of appropriate ESSENTIAL ROUTINES – behaviors and activities – and they must all be performed properly and on time and on budget – and be tuned up and refined from time to time – so the business can prosper over the long haul.

It is crucial that the people who own and manage the enterprise keep the ESSENTIAL ROUTINES sharply and cleanly functioning properly. In fact, seems to me like that’s “job one.”

Here are some business health questions to ask yourself from time to time. The answers will help you asses your current level of capability to grow and flourish. They can also work to identify potential performance gaps to close.


What are your ESSENTIAL ROUTINES? How well do they work for you now? What’s missing? Is there anything else you need? If you need better ESSENTIAL ROUTINES, are you able to take care of that by yourself, or will you need help? If you require assistance, where will you find the help you need?


You know, you might to look to the Master-Mind Alliance® as a best source of help with your ESSENTIAL ROUTINES. Suppose you did that – might be great. In fact, is there any really good reason to avoid giving us a look?

The Master-Mind Alliance® meets every month – in Eureka, CA on the second Wednesday – and in Chico, CA on the third Wednesday. A simple phone call gets you an invitation.

Master-Mind Alliance® – because nothing should be beyond your reach.

Income Double



 We are convinced of this Big Fat Truth. There is a PATH to PROSPERITY – unlimited prosperity for every viable business. Your business passes the viability test if you are selling goods, products and services that enough people need or want, are willing to pay for and can afford.

As an owner of a viable business you can find your PATH to PROSPERITY, get on it and stay on it. Then you can DOUBLE your INCOME and you can DOUBLE your INCOME again, and you can become more PROFITABLE, and you CUT your management EFFORT considerably, perhaps in half. You can create a stronger and better business. You can do all these things. You can have a life – a great life – IF you will just do enough of what’s known to work. And we know a lot about that.

At the Master-Mind Alliance® we solve business problems. We get business owners started on the road to INCOME DOUBLE HALF THE TROUBLE, to having everything they want. That’s what the business coaching strategies and planning provided by the Master-Mind Alliance® are all about. Business transformation is a journey and yours can start whenever you are ready to begin.

If you are determined to experience INCOME DOUBLE HALF THE TROUBLE or simply to make things better in your business – there are a few steps you must take. One of these steps is to develop and maintain sparklingly crystal clarity about the few very important things. Collectively these very important things are called Your MOSTS.

To facilitate yearly, quarterly and monthly Game Plan formations – on the way to INCOME DOUBLE HALF THE TROUBLE – and a stronger and better business – you must accurately determine each and every one of the Your MOSTS. Once you have done so, you will be in a position – based on objective and subjective data – to decide how to restructure your offerings (if necessary) and where to put MOST of your marketing and selling energy in the present and future as you make your business better, much better.

Your 5 “MOSTS” are the following:

1. Of all the goods, products and services that you sell, which ones generate the MOST Gross Income?

2. Of all the goods, products and services that you sell, which ones generate the MOST Profit?

3. Of all the goods, products and services that you sell, which ones are the MOST Easily Sold?

4. Of all the goods, products and services that you sell, which ones are the MOST Popular with buyers?

5. Of all the goods, products and services that you sell, which ones are the MOST Personally Rewarding and Satisfying and Fun for you to provide?

Start by reviewing sales activities over the past year or so. Dig into your sales numbers, into your profit and loss statements and drill down to specific answers to each of the five questions. Then make a simple list as below.

Stuff that generates MOST Gross Income

Stuff that generate the MOST Profit

Stuff MOST Easily Sold

Stuff MOST Popular with Buyers

Sales MOST Rewarding and Satisfying and Fun to provide

MOST Rewarding and Satisfying and Fun to provide

Now ask yourself these INCOME DOUBLE HALF THE TROUBLE planning questions.

A. As I go forward in my business in the next 12 to 24 months, what goods, products and services does it make the MOST sense to concentrate on selling the MOST?

B. What adjustments to my OFFERINGS (if any) will be MOST prudent to make?

C. What adjustments, revisions and do-overs should I make to my marketing plans and efforts? 

D. Where precisely should I spend the bulk of my marketing and selling efforts?

Now then, based upon your analysis, start figuring out the top money making activities and behaviors that you will implement in the next 90 days and begin.

Transforming your business takes a while. Improving the performance of your business is never easy. There will probably be setbacks. Certainly mastery of INCOME DOUBLE HALF THE TROUBLE takes a while. However, once you have your MOSTS in hand you can start – and as you proceed, you can adjust – and one day, in the not too distant future you will be there. Transformation will happen and everlasting PROSPERITY will be yours. You will have achieved what we in the Master-Mind Alliance® call a DONE BUSINESS.

Asking For Help Works

Asking For Help Works



Now What? Image of Asking For Help Business Coach Eureka

This is so very true. If you simply repeat doing what does not now give you what you want, you will only keep getting what you are getting already, more of the same, that result you don’t like. In order to get something different, something hopefully better, you must steer your ship into uncharted territory. Might be scary – but how do you do that even though it is scary and even though you don’t know where to go or how to get there? Well, now you have an interesting problem.

You’re a business owner and you want something you do not have, and you do not know how to get it. So what’s the strategy for that? It cannot be trial and error, shoot a big gun and hope you hit what you want, because that will probably take a lot of time, waste a lot of resources unnecessarily and perhaps never get you what you want.

Here’s what to do. ASK FOR HELP. That’s right. It’s like the guy who spends all afternoon driving around looking for a street he’s not been on before when if he’d just stopped to ask someone for directions he’d have arrived at his destination in a few minutes. But he doesn’t because he’s reluctant to ask for help. What’s wrong with him? What keeps him from asking for help? Is it fear of feeling embarrassed, admitting he’s lost, what?

The answer to this conundrum is irrelevant; it really does not matter why he does not ask. What matters is how long does the guy wish to stay lost? And what if he never gets to his destination, what are the consequences of that outcome? If he really wants to get to his destination, sooner or later he will have to suck it up and ask for help.

It’s the same for each of us. When we are well and truly stuck, do not know what to do, we must ask for help. And helpful input is always out there somewhere. No matter what the issue, someone has faced something like it before and resolved it. Thirty some years of facilitating the Master-Mind Alliance®  business coaching program has proved over and over again to me the truth of this fact. There are very few completely unsolvable business problems.

No matter how weird or strange an issue or how pesky and seemingly unresolvable a problem, when a member presents it to the group for input – input flows – most of it helpful. Why does this work? Simple, the one thing you can never give yourself is clear perspective. That must come from outside the inner loop – from people who see things you cannot see. That’s how asking for help – and getting it – works.

And embarrassment, I’ve never have a seen a business owner crushed with embarrassment for asking what he or she thought was a silly question.

Everyone gets stuck sometimes. Asking for help from helpful people helps. Offering fresh perspective from outside – this is what the business coaching provided by Master-Mind Alliance® is all about.

© Master-Mind Alliance – September 1, 2014

Entrepreneural Joy

What Does Every Business Owner In The World Want?

Every business owner wants “ENTREPRENEURIAL JOY.”

As a business coach and owner of a business coaching firm I want that – and I know you want that too. Here’s the thing. You can have ENTREPRENEURIAL JOY, yes you can, when you have all three component parts working for you. The three component parts are:

  1. A clear path to prosperity – that can be everlasting – with no fuzziness – no chaos – and no doubt.
  1. A systematic way to keep your path free of interference – and your powers of focus and concentration sharp as you move ceaselessly ahead.
  1. Balance – the gift of being able to love your work and to love your life too.

When you make it possible for yourself to have the three things that comprise ENTREPRENEURIAL JOY – your life will get and stay better forever – yup, yup, yup.

So then the question becomes – “Okay smart guy, you’re a business coach, you should know, so how do business owners get and keep these three things?” Yeah that’s the central question. You want to know the answer to that huh.

Making it happen is all about accepting what we call the Master-Mind Alliance® Challenge. The Challenge is about putting yourself in the right place – asking the right questions – being open to change – being open to accepting the right answers – then willingly and diligently applying the new information to tweak what you are doing in your business and how you are doing it – or – in some cases – taking that input and making major changes in what you are doing in your business and how you are doing it.

The self-daring part of the “Challenge” is the being open to change – plus being open to accepting the right answers – and then being willing to taking new action. This is business coaching in a nutshell.

That’s right, I said “self-daring,” you are daring yourself to do something that will hopefully cause a quantum leap ahead. Your business coach may need to prompt this self-daring or you may get there on your own. But one way or another, self-dare you must.

Big Fat Truth: A closed mind is a terrible thing. A closed mind has stopped growing. A closed mind is the mind of a doomed person.

Being wide open to new and better ways is the mark of a champion in any endeavor. As a business coach I know I dearly love working with clients who are wide open to input, the individual who is always looking to finding a better way – for it is that person who has a decent chance at everlasting enlightenment and, of course, ENTREPRENEURIAL JOY.

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Let me ask you a starting business coaching question.

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Are you currently…

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Got this in abundance?

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If so, that’s great. And – you can always choose to make your life and your business-life even better. Yes you can. The limits are way out there.

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Big Fat Truth right here…

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Start with this.

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Realize this Big True Truth.

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Please understand how this looping system works.

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Now – the business coach in me says…get yourself ready to take this.

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It’s only 3 months. And you can do a whole lot in that amount of time – if you want.

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Set some of these.

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Make this be one of them.

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Keep this going.

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Do what ever it takes and this result will be yours to enjoy.

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That’s the Master-Mind Alliance® Challenge illustrated.

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Now – please tell me what you think of this?

Business Wisdom from Bill Graham



How do some people do success so much easier than others do?

Let’s look into that.

My business coaching Eureka practice has been headquartered on the north coast of California for since 1997. But back when my business coaching practice was based in Palo Alto, California, through a mutual friend, I met Bill Graham, the rock concert impresario and friend of folks like the Rolling Stones and Paul McCartney, whose business was based in San Francisco. Graham died in 1991 in a helicopter accident during a rain storm, but the business he founded still exists. Anyway, my friend help me get an appointment with Mr. Graham. I went to his office, set up my tape recorder, and we talked. I was writing an article for my business coaching newsletter so I wanted to catch every word.

After a few minutes I asked, “Bill, what is the secret of your success?” He answered in one word. “Relationships.” Then he went on to say that the rock music business is full of narcissistic, self-centered, egotistical people who are all richer than God and really don’t need you. To do business with them you’ve got to make them like you. This is hard for three reasons: 1) lots of people are after them all the time, 2) they have buffers, people whose job is to keep you from talking to them, and 3) they’re weird.

How to you build relationships with people like that I asked. Another one word answer, “persistence,” he said. He explained. “Because of the life these folks have chosen they are lonely little kids inside, longing for friendship and love. So I give that to them.” How, I asked. “By genuinely listening and getting to know what they value and believe and need and want,” he said. Quickly adding, “This is where the persistence comes in. It’s hard work and it takes time. And many concert promoters like me will give up. I never give up, so I win.”

Relationships, persistence, and never giving up on what you want – the psychologist part of me thought I’d best remember this good lesson as I might find ways to use this with my business coaching clients which I have done a bunch of times.

For example, during the recent terrible recession, which officially began in 2007, one of my business coaching Eureka clients, we’ll call him George, did something interesting. At my urging, George decided not to participate. He planned to boycott the recession. Like it was for many if not most business owners back then, George’s sales were way off and he was suffering and worrying a lot. So of course he knuckled down and concentrated on his top money making activities and watched every little expense like a hawk. But that did nothing to bring new business to him. What he did next, however, to his amazement, turned everything around.

My business coaching sessions got George to make a list of every customer he’d had over the previous five years, he put all their names and phone numbers in an Excel spreadsheet. Then I encouraged him to call and make an appointment to personally go out to meet with every one of them. I had told him the Bill Graham story about the value of personal relationships, which got him inspired to accept this business coaching assignment and start.

Several of our business coaching sessions helped George decide what to say. And I taught him some verbal persuasion behaviors and provided encouraging follow up as implemented his chats.

George told his former customers that he valued their business, that he wanted to help them be successful in all their endeavors, and would do whatever he could so see that they were happy. George persisted. He met with many of those on his list more than once, several times in fact.

This strategy worked. George’s former customers became his most loyal customers. They began buying from him again and they kept buying from him, more than they had before. This simple sounding business coaching actually resulted in George doubling his business income and increasing his profits – during the worst of the recession in recent memory I might add – and that made him real happy. I was happy too of course because of George’s success and because he let me use his story as part of my business coaching Eureka marketing efforts. It’s nice when everyone wins.

Bill Graham is absolutely right. Relationships, persistence, and never giving up, yup, good idea – and any business owner can do this, not just when times are tough, but all the time. And they should, because it works wonders.

Income doubling and profit building are at the heart of every business person’s desires – and the strategies that make that happen clearly exist – and business coaching can help even the most skeptical business person apply them successfully. Wins all around.

Shocking News


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In 11 studies conducted at Harvard University and other places – researchers found that most people would rather electrocute themselves than spend 15 minutes alone in a room with nothing to do but think.

Now the research subjects were not strapped to a death producing electric chair. But all they had in the room with them – in addition to their minds – was a machine for administrating small electrical shocks – which were indeed painful.

In the 15 minute time period, almost two thirds of the subjects gave themselves three or more electric shocks out of sheer boredom – seemingly unable or unwilling to spend a short amount of time exploring their own minds. One man administered 190 shocks to himself rather than just sit quietly with nothing to do.

So what does this mean?

Some would argue that this means that the attention span of the general population is slowly eroding away to non-existence. Why? It seems our addiction to electronic devices like smart phones and television and the allure of computerized media tools such as Facebook and Twitter is causing our attention to dwindle. Simultaneously the non-in-person interaction all these digital options provide makes us crave more stimulation so much – that electric shocks are better than the boredom of silent thought.

Most people seem to prefer to be doing something rather than nothing, even if that something is negative and painful. And sit quietly alone and meditate even for 15 minutes, forget about it.

How far does this go? I know people and you probably do too, who just cannot be still. They are always plugged into their smart phone, constantly interacting with their email, Facebook, Twitter and all the rest. They do this all day long, even during meals. Heaven forbid they miss something. If they check their Facebook and nothing new has been posted since the last time they looked, they feel disappointed and even sad.

The Harvard researchers duly noted that analytical and critical thinking is what defines us as human beings and is an essential skill when deliberating the future or recalling the past. The notion that a startlingly high number of individuals – perhaps the majority of under the age of 40 or so, seemingly now cannot or will not engage in analytical and critical thinking is highly disturbing and does not bode well for the continuation of the human species.

The French scientist and philosopher Blaise Pascal nailed it when he said, “All human evil comes from a single cause, man’s inability to sit still in a room.”

And none other than Albert Einstein wrote, “I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of IDIOTS.”


See how long you can go without checking your email? How long can you stand having your cell phone switched off? Can you last through one day, a week end? How long can you go without logging onto Facebook, a couple of hours? How addicted are you?

And the acid test, can you sit alone in a room without the television or radio on for 15 minutes and do nothing but think? And if you can do this, do you like it or hate it. How uncomfortable are you without the usual bombardment of electronic stimulation? Would you ever consider sitting quietly alone for 15 minutes once a day as part of the routine of taking care of your analytical and critical thinking skill? Yes or no.

Napoleon Hill wrote the following about thinking. “Every one of us is self-made. The habits that we select and internalize are the component parts of our success composition. Our habits of thought are the most important ones to cultivate first since once control is gained over these, it will be simple to follow the marching orders that we assign to ourselves. By first controlling our thoughts and balancing our emotions, we then can select the most expedient road to our goal in life. In disciplining ourselves to take proper action, we are notifying our ego that we mean business in achieving what we want in life. You cannot take possession of your own mind or direct it to definite ends without a practical system – a system of self-discipline.

So electric shocks or quiet analytical critical thinking, what will it be for you for me and for our society as a whole? Maybe we should learn about this in school. Although by the time kids reach school age these days it might already be too late. They may already be addicted to electronic stimulation. Certainly they have already consumed thousands of hours of television and they probably already have cell phones and a Facebook page.

We’re probably doomed.

© Master-Mind Alliance – July 18, 2014