Do you remember the first dance/party you ever went to? You laid out that perfect outfit a week in advance, scheduled that tight haircut with your barber. You washed the family car even though you didn't have a license yet. You took two showers that day sprayed on the best cologne/perfume you could find (Faberge' for me). Not a whole in your socks or underwear and your breath was taken care of with ,what else but, Big Red chewing gum! You were straight! Everything was perfect down to your mom pumping Guy's "Groove Me" in the car, on the way to the dance, because she liked that jam too!

All this preparation was for a reason. It was to build your confidence. To make sure you could handle any situation the party might throw your way but most of all it was so you felt strong enough to ask that special girl for the couples slow dance to R. Kelly's new song. With all that work you knew you were going to get that dance, right, but right as the DJ says it's time to slow it down you freeze up. You go through your mental checklist, everything is straight, you glide over to the spot where the fly girl crew is hanging out and you look her dead in the eye and ask "May I Have This Dance?". She smiles and said she thought you would never ask. Victory! you said and all the hard work was worth it.

Alright, Maestro what is this all about? Well, all the things I just described above we seem to forget to do when it comes to attracting new customers and clients. Everyone of those details described before were absolutely necessary not because the fly girl might have said No had you not washed your mom's car but because washing your mom's car added to the confidence it took to Make the Ask! Never let anything you have control over stop you from making the ask.

Take two showers, wash your car and your mom's too. Put on the latest and greatest cologne (not Faberge' I hope), get that fresh cut and spend some time on putting that perfect outfit together. It will all be well worth it when your client looks over the Starbucks bistro table and says those magic words, "I thought you would never ask"!

Make Money, Have Fun & Be A Blessing,
I have always made friends with those older than myself. I can't really tell you why, but my mom always called me an Old Soul. This may explain why I enjoy the sayings that old men have told me over the years. One of my favorites is, " You know Ideas are like A**Holes, most all of them Stink and Everyone has one". Yeah, I know it's crude but it's also true.

You see after being in the business of providing advise to small business owners for over 10 years, I have heard my share of Great Ideas. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy hearing people who are excited about their business and the opportunities associated with the companies they love. I don't take issue with that one bit.
Many years ago there was a Wendy's commercial where three ladies are at a counter with a huge bun on a plate. One lady picks up the bun top and history was made. Why was that commercial so magical? How do you break that formula down and apply it to your business or career? Well let's take a look at marketing basics.

Marketing is the science of exposing your product or service to potential buyers. How do you decide to buy what you buy? Nine times out of ten it's because you have been marketed to. At this point in our world there is so much marketing going on that companies will do just about anything to get you to remember there product or service.

Talking lizards that sell insurance, cookies that sing as they roll down the street in their convertible, and even a gang of nerds that sell mobile phone plans. Does any of this work anymore? Did it work years ago? What should you do moving forward?

Yes it still works as it worked years ago and you need to jump on the band wagon! As I always say, businesses succeed because of high sells and they fail because of low sells. People buy what they want, need and can afford. It's your job to show them that your product or service is just that. You have to show them, Where the Beef is!

Do they want it?
Do they need it?
Can they afford it?

Spend most of your time letting them know. Keep your product or service on their mind and you will enjoy years of success.

Make Money, Have Fun & Be A Blessing,
Many times in my career, I have been guilty of giving away what I should rightfully be paid for. In my haste to get the deal, I present to much, I show the big picture, I lead myself right out the door by providing solutions before anyone cuts a check.

For years I felt the only way to get the business was to show you were qualified to do the work. Often that meant you could leave nothing or very little to the imagination. Oh, how wrong I have been and continue to be from time to time.

It's very simple, no one is going to pay you for what they can get for free! Implementing your ideas are not the hard part, they can get anyone to do that, but coming up with the idea is not that easy to come by for plenty of people. So what is the solution?

First you must clearly identify the problem that someone is looking for a solution to. Next, you must be clear as to whether or not they are looking for a solution from you. "Are you engaging my services or asking me to bid on the work?", should be the next question. Next, you must create the solution that addresses all angles of the problem. Now you are ready to present and this is where you have to be much like a, Vegas Show Girl inside the Champagne Room. Not to fast, it's just a metaphor, keep those things tucked away!

When you present you must be deliberate, methodical, exciting and vague. For instance, you can say something like this. I know you all were really looking to solve this problem with this budget but what would you do if I were able to not only solve that problem but also this other one and do it for half your budgeted amount. Next, tell them you have the solution but instead of giving it to them proceed to explain what you will need from them to make it a reality. Then Shut Up!

That's right Shut Up, you have given them as much as they need to make a decision. If they want more information, so do you. Is there a problem that I didn't address? Is there a new problem? Only speak about problems and what it will take to implement a solution but never talk about the solution itself until a check has been cut!

Make Money, Have Fun & Be A Blessing,
Finding your niche market can be quite the undertaking and many people refuse to even travel that road at all. Yes, most people tend to beat the same path as everyone else. It's a well worn path and the more the merrier seems to be the motto of the keepers of the path! Stop!!!!!!

It's time to take a detour, the world rewards a trail blazer! Will you begin the next path that millions beat their way down for eternity? I can not imagine a better existence than one that creates a legacy. Your question is probably, How do I become a trail blazer though? Let's see if I can answer that in a short and simple manner.

Well, pick your love! Learn everything you can about your love, tell other people who love what you love about how you can help them love what you both love even more for a small fee! Huh?

Pick a niche and serve the heck out of that niche but be sure to pick one that will reward you with a base of business. Don't beat the path where everyone goes, create the path that serves a specific group and you will enjoy a rewarding career.

Make Money, Have Fun & Be A Blessing,
In this dog eat dog world everyone is always on the lookout for an advantage, for that one thing that will help them to standout from their competition. This is not always that easy to do, you look around for ways to add that little extra touch that will make the difference. I remember back in my financial planning days, there was the "War of the Pens". I mean if your ink pen didn't cost at least $100.00 you weren't worth 100 bucks either.

I even had one of the trainers at the office demonstrate how you use the $100+ pen in a presentation with a client. Now that's competitive advantage, right? Wrong! When you truly have a competitive advantage no one will care what kind of pen you have.

So what can be seen as a competitive advantage? I feel that only specific and deliberate actions offer competitive advantage. For instance, if you decide to meet everyone in the neighborhood that surrounds your office and thats your market, you will have a competitive advantage over the person in the office next to you who never talks to anyone from that neighborhood.

Work like hell to separate yourself from your competition and you will enjoy true success!

Make Money, Have Fun & Be A Blessing,
You ever heard the statement "Take the Bull by the Horns"? The phrase alone conjures up a mighty beast of a problem that you decide you are going to make submit to your will and your way. Most people that defiantly make this bold statement, have no idea what type of fight they are picking! I mean really, why would anyone come up with this type of analogy? For one it means that for whatever reason, it's not business as usual, that's for sure!

Most problems in business are very apparent. Lack of income, expenses to high, assets shrinking or liabilities increasing are very apparent problems in business. One would tend to believe that with the problems so easy to see that the solutions should be just as easy to figure out. I mean all you need to do is Take the Bull by the Horns, right? Wrong! The problems aren't what you see or what is so apparent. It's often the result of the real problems.

If you truly want to take the Bull by the Horns, you better be ready for a fight! Just as the mighty beast we know as a Bull would never go done without a tremendous fight, neither will your business problems! So prepare properly, Matador!

You must be aware of your surroundings at all times. A keen eye and clarity will allow you to approach that Bull safely. Understand you can never completely anticipate the uncontrollable but you can certainly recognize patterns! Never take for granted that your skills as a Matador make you untouchable. Approach each problem as if it were a fresh new experience. Be sure to focus all your adrenaline and energy into the process not the outcome(which really is completely out of your control).

So, should you take the Bull by the Horns? Well that is a matter of personal preference but if you decide that is your cup of tea just understand you are in for a very long bullfight, that maybe entertaining to spectators but violent, uncertain, scary and unpredictable to you! Be safe and enjoy the ride!

Make Money, Have Fun & Be A Blessing,
One of my favorite things to do in life is to speak to business people and entrepreneurs who are excited about their work. As I listen to them talk about the intimate details of their work, I always ask what it is they love most and what it is they find most difficult. Well, as you might imagine the answers for the first question are as numerous as the businesses themselves. Without fail the thing they find most difficult is generating new customers/clients.

I like to refer to this as revenue enhancement, also known as marketing. The absolute best form of marketing is word of mouth. There is nothing that can generate more business and loyalty the way a warm referral from someone can. The great thing about this is it is largely in your control.

When you offer great products and services, it is your right or privilege to ask for referrals but most people never do. This is a big mistake. Why let a satisfied patron leave you without giving them instructions on how they can help you to grow? You should tell them what you want them to say and who they should be saying it to.

This is an example of what you could say to generate more referrals. Thank you for visiting us, how was your experience? Great, well since you enjoyed your experience so much please give this discount card to your family and friends and invite them to call us, so we can deliver to them the same experience.

Make the most out of every encounter with your patrons and you well be sure to get more, often!

Make Money, Have Fun & Be A Blessing,
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