Category Archives: Business

Gamify Your Workplace

Ready Player One! This book, the movie, has taken over the zeitgeist of popular culture in the world of gamification. The movie focuses on a dystopian future where the majority of people are living out their lives in hopes that it will unlock the keys of this virtual reality that is called the”Oasis.” The only the incentive and hope these people have is unlocking the game that will give them ownership of the Oasis and become rich beyond their wildest dreams. The idea of this advanced gaming technology and the prospect of riches is quite appealing to the current millennial generation. There are now gaming leagues where people are paid to play video games competitively. I grew up during the gaming evolution starting with an Atari system then upgrading to a Nintendo then to a Super Nintendo and it goes on and on. 

Gaming is a part of our everyday lives whether we know it or not. With my apple watch I have daily health goals that help me reach three goals represented by rings. Movement, exercise and standing. When I reach those goals the rings spark and complete the circle on my watch. Then if I complete my daily goals along with weekly and monthly goals I get virtual medals. Yes as silly as it sounds I want those virtual medals because I am gamer. This has gamified my daily exercise routine to inspire and incentivize me to accomplish my health goals. Even when answering my emails and yelp inquiries is a game for me. If I can get my email inbox to zero is an accomplishment. On yelp when I receive sales lead there are statistics that show me how fast I respond and the percentage of people I respond to. I am proud to say I have an average response rate of 40 minutes at 100% inquiries responded to. It’s silly but this statistic has challenged me to improve. There are even apps that gamify your daily tasks along with saving money. Habitica takes simple tasks like brushing your teeth and rewards you for recording your progress. Qaptial will have you save money and put money towards rewarding vacations or that bike you’ve been wanting to get. 

There is gamification everywhere in the business world and we just don’t recognize it. Athletes are the ultimate competitors and they are constantly looking at their statistics as bar they want to raise. For example in baseball, pitchers want to lower their ERA (earned run average) and hitters want to raise their batting average. They are constantly working at their position to become the best. Linkedin ranks the power of your profile with a ranking. I’ve worked on getting my profile to “all star” level but that’s not enough. Linkedin even gives you analytics for the posts you share. Sure this gives you insight who are you reaching and how effective your posts are. But this is a form of gamification which I call “Leveling Up”. With any type of video game you can gain experience points which helps your character get closer to mastery level. Linkedin is doing the same thing. It is incentivizing you to engage with potential contacts and buyers. It challenges you to get more connect with more contacts and increase your influence with your posts. Once you have reached mastery you now have to level up by paying for premium features that will give you access to more features, more connections, and more sales. They tell you that you can “unlock the power of linkedin” with four different levels of paid upgrades which gives you more access. Hmm, this sounds like a challenge and a game that I must win! 

Competition brings out the gamer in all of us. By creating healthy and fun competition in the workplace can drive results. Not everyone competes in the same way. Some like the idea of competing again each other and some rather compete with themselves. Introducing gamification into your workplace can be a fun idea and can improve production and event morale with your company culture. But the key is letting your people participate organically and autonomously. In my market there is are organizations that have corporate games that let companies compete against each other in sports related environments. But remember like in high school not everybody was an athlete but we had “mathletes” who competed in different forum. I competed in debate which was competitive speaking. The idea that I could win a debate competition was compelling and exciting. If you decide to introduce competition and gamification into your workplace understand everyone competes in different ways. 

Gamification is trending everywhere in pop culture. Prime time and day time game shows are more popular than ever. Gaming is now on all our smart phones. I remember the days with my old flip phone staying up late playing “snake” of all games. Now there are games of every type on our phones. My favorite is “HQ” which is a live game show hosted by comedian Scott Rogowsky. This game is played twice daily live in the afternoon and the evening. The winning pot of money is shared with the users who answer all 12 or 15 questions correctly. You only have 10 seconds to answer the multiple choice questions and if you make it all the way to the end you could share $2000 or $25,000. I have never made it to the end but I have friends who have shared in the winnings and he took home .85 cents. But what is great about this game people are playing this in boardroom. They gather together and crowdsource the answers or split up their guesses if they don’t know the correct answer. Then if one person wins it all they split the pot. 

Gamification is all around us and we don’t even realize it. Everyday you may have the opportunity to compete and be rewarded for your efforts. You can implement ideas like this in your personal life or with your team to drive productivity, sales and employee engagement. I challenge you today to take gamification to the next level with your business so you can be a workplace all star! 

“Breathe life into Your Party”, by booking the High-energy Speaker Rob Ferre for your next event! As a Corporate Keynote, Workshop, or Seminar Speaker Rob entertains his audience with experiences that will inspire you! He founded his company, Life of the Party Entertainment, in the family entertainment capital of the world, Orlando Florida; where he learned the value of proper training and education while he worked for Disney, Universal Studios, and Nickelodeon.  Call 888-766-3155 to book Rob for your next event!

There’s a new “PPP” in town

There’s a new “PPP” in town…and not applying it to your business objectives will cost you millions!

What is it?

PPP = Produce Poachable People 🤩

If you’re in a #humanresources or #leadershipdevelopment role, you would do well to start Producing Poachable People.

People for whom your competitors would do anything to hire!

❓ “Greg, why should we do that – they’ll take all of our talent!”❓

If that’s your concern, you’re not alone.

The most commonly cited reason for under-investing in training & development is: we’re worried they’ll leave.

But with research showing that:

▪️ Most employees will “boomerang” once in their career (return to a previous employer after voluntarily departing), and
▪️ Most workers will have between 9-11 jobs in their career…

It makes good business sense to produce poachable people.

Create a place so compelling to work, grow and make an impact that when they do see the grass isn’t greener they come running back.

Word will get out about the investment you make in your people and your talent management department will be overflowing with candidates.

And the ones who do leave, and don’t come back, will be ambassadors for your brand.

When they’re asked about their time with you they’ll say things like “Yeah, the culture wasn’t for me but BOY do they invest in their people” 😍

TL;DR: Produce Poachable People – it’s good for business.

Gregory Offner is the “Man with a Million Dollar Voice” having recently undergone 14 surgeries needed to repair and rebuild his vocal cords!  Greg has become an expert at Disruption having gone through this experience that nearly left him mute, wondering if he would ever speak or sing again in public, and what would be the next career path if these surgeries failed!  This also ignited the critical spark needed to transform his work from a “personal curiosity” to a “professional mission” – to help individuals and organizations identify the “one change that can change everything!” Call 888-766-3155 to book Greg for your next event.

Gratitude is Vital to Managing Remote Teams. Here’s Why.

In the past year and a half, employees have gotten really good at working from home. Even though, some managers still find it challenging to inspire their teams when they don’t see them daily.

This week I had a chance to interview Robert Glazer, author of the new book,How to Thrive in the Virtual WorkplaceHe says part of managing remote employees is setting clear expectations and consistently tracking employee outcomes. Managers and leaders who regularly connect with their direct reports make them feel valued. Bob points to gratitude as key to connecting with our remote workforce and provides three easy steps.

  • Make Gratitude Focused on Accomplishments

With many organizations working remotely, employees can feel their colleagues or boss don’t notice their hard work. It’s more important now than ever to over-communicate. Consistently expressing gratitude, publicly and privately, helps address this pain point.

Bob says it’s crucial to show gratitude right away. The best leaders are fast to thank and credit others, and one of my favorite ways is to send a simple handwritten note of thanks. I guarantee this will make your team feel appreciated.

And for those employees who like to be publicly recognized, highlight someone who’s made an extra effort during a team huddle or on a group message board. Bob said, “When you’re sharing your team or department’s wins with your greater organization, take care to thank your team members by name who helped move the company forward (not just a generic ‘thanks to my team’).”

  • Check-In with Gratitude

Of course, you don’t need to reserve gratitude for big wins. Bob suggests regularly reaching out to others in your organization—colleagues, teammates, even your manager—and letting them know why you’re grateful to work with them. You don’t need a reason to tell the people you work with that you appreciate them. These small check-ins will strengthen the bonds within your team, especially while working from home.

An extra benefit of being grateful for your teammates is that it’s an excellent way to energize ourselves. We all face challenging days, weeks, and even months at work. Many of us have faced some of the most challenging work experiences of our lives in the past year. But when we can ground ourselves in gratitude for our colleagues, we will find it easier to keep pushing forward, even when things go wrong.

  • Create Gratitude Buffers

When working remotely, the lack of a commute can be a double-edged sword, says Bob. While no one likes sitting in traffic or cramming onto public transit, commuting helps us separate our work and home lives.

He suggests remote employees create a similar effect with a buffer at the beginning and end of the day. He said, “It’s helpful to start the day with a morning routine that helps you ease into the day, rather than jumping on your work email as soon as you get out of bed. And having a clear shutdown routine at the end of the day will help you transition out of work mode and into your home life”.

The consistent thread running through these buffers is to practice gratitude. Bob recommends starting a gratitude journal and writing down three to five things you are grateful for at the beginning and end of the workday. Not only will doing this help you signify when it is time to start and stop working, but it will also help you begin and end your day with a positive mindset, which is crucial for effective leadership.

Let’s face it, remote work is an adjustment, especially if you’re leading others. Building more gratitude into your life and leadership will help you thrive and inspire others.

Whether you’re planning a small executive retreat or searching for a dynamic keynote speaker for your annual conference, Chester Elton gives you a highly sought-after New York Times best-selling author and business strategist, who brings energy, substance, and real-world experience to your stage! One of today’s most influential voices in workplace trends, Chester Elton has spent two decades helping clients engage their employees to execute on strategy, vision, and values.
To book Chester for your next event, call 888-766-3155.

Five Keys to Protecting Your Company’s Most Valuable Asset: Its People

Your company’s most precious cargo is its people. Each day that you walk into your office, establishment or organization, you are responsible for cultivating the culture. You are responsible for fostering a workplace culture that is one based on commitment and trust. As you nurture and grow the culture of your workplace, it is imperative you realize that your most valuable resource – your most precious cargo, as they say in the aviation business – is your people.

As you look to understand what you can do each and every day to impact your company culture, you need to look at the ways you can best take care of your teams. The foundation of taking care of your people is creating and cultivating a culture of trust. It is only when you cultivate cultures of trust and commitment that you can truly begin to support your company’s most valuable resource: the people within it.

A simple way you can create the professional environment you want is to implement a model, the C.A.R.G.O. model, designed to create and nurture the workplace ecosystem that thrives on commitment and trust.

When the right tools, training and resources are provided, people know they have all they need to succeed. Shown here is chain saw safety training led by Donny Coffey, CTSP, and funded by an Arborist Safety Training Institute (ASTI) grant. Photo by Max Babe.

C: Creativity to address challenges

As you look to take care of your people, it is essential that opportunities are provided that allow for creativity. This creativity is useful for many things – primarily in addressing the many challenges that present themselves constantly in the workplace. When you trust and empower your people to harness their creativity to address and solve problems, it accomplishes many things across the many levels of your organization. Freedom to be creative instills a sense of intrinsic trust and helps reinforce an employee’s innate abilities and talents. Creativity to address challenges strengthens the case as to why you hired them to work in your organization in the first place.

A: Access to tools and resources

When the right tools and resources are provided, people know they have all they need to succeed. Too often there is an expectation of the people in an organization that cannot be fulfilled due to a lack of resources or support. Effective leaders must be prepared to properly equip their teams with the right people in addition to the right tools and resources to set them up for success. Access to the appropriate tools and assets is imperative to creating and building a company culture that is rooted in trust.

R: Responsibilities

It is essential that team members are empowered to own their unique responsibilities in an organization. When team members truly own their piece of the daily duties, tasks and projects, it reinforces the reality that their work really matters. When your team members are aware of their value to the entire operation and that others are counting on them, just like a combat aircrew, they will step up and perform to their best abilities. Empowerment of staff , ensuring that the training and processes clearly define and delineate their responsibilities, will lead to an empowered organization. This empowered organization will be full of team members who know what they are responsible for and are ready to tackle the tasks at hand.

G: Goals and objectives

Goals and objectives of your team(s) and organization have to be plain and clear and articulated in a way the team members can understand and appreciate. The best leaders must share the goals and objectives with the team. Your team needs to know its leaders are fully invested. In turn, it’s necessary for members of your team to share their individual goals and objectives with each other and the leadership. This ensures that everyone holds each other accountable. Beyond holding one another accountable, knowing each other’s goals and objectives allows you to know that everyone is committed, in some shape, form and fashion, for the greater good of the organization and each other.

Goals and objectives of your team(s) and organization have to be plain and clear and articulated in a way the team members can understand and appreciate. The best leaders must share the goals and objectives with the team. Your team needs to know its leaders are fully invested. Photo courtesy of Chippers, inc.

O: Opportunities for success

As a leader, you must provide the opportunities for your people to succeed. These successes exist as large and small opportunities. When provided with incremental chances to succeed and win, team members will stay engaged and continue to be committed to the organization and the team. Consider opportunities for team members to succeed in the simplest ways, ways that lead to team wins, that lead to organizational wins. Everyone loves to win. Everyone loves to be on a winning team!

The most precious resource in your organization, the most precious cargo in your aircraft, are your people. As you conduct business each and every day, are you and the leadership team equipping your people to sustain themselves and your organization through the inevitable turbulence they will encounter en route to accomplish their mission? When you provide your people with the right C.A.R.G.O., you will create, promote and cultivate a workplace culture of trust that is bound for success!

Jason Harris is a motivational speaker, consultant, and certified character coach who values dedication, service and excellence. As a decorated combat veteran, Jason brings unique perspectives gained from his battlefield experience to your organization, empowering you to unleash the untapped potential of your employees. Using real-world examples, Jason sheds light on how the invaluable talent each person brings to your organization can positively impact your mission. He teaches you to Trust Your People Like Your Business Depends on it, because it does! To book Jason: https://bit.ly/3rcqRu9

The Promise of a New Year

Let’s not waste the opportunity to:

  • Think bigger
  • Help gratefully
  • Encourage sincerely
  • Compliment
  • Act mindfully
  • Serve happily
  • Lead decisively
  • Plan courageously
  • React kindly
  • Articulate clearly

People love the new year for the sense of renewal and a fresh start.

Think about how to make the most of your time, talents, and resources.  What will make the most sense for you, increases your happiness factor, and focus on where you want to be in a year?

It is important that we know what we want more of, as well as what we want less of. 

Maybe you want a promotion? More money, power, prestige, and influence. 
Maybe you want a demotion? More free time, decreased stress, and less responsibility.
Maybe you want deeper friendships, better relationships, and more community involvement?
Maybe you want fewer complications?

Think about what gives you satisfaction, joy, and provides value to your sense of purpose. 

Then make a P.R.O.M.I.S.E. to yourself to enthusiastically pursue those aspects that are the most meaningful,  most productive, and most important to you.

P. Plan courageously.

Want to take a vacation? Buy the tickets now and block the dates on your calendar before the year gets booked up. Want to acquire another company? Make the offer.  You can secure the funding later.  Ready to move across country?  Start packing now.  Put the house on the market.  Start job hunting. 

Assume that you will succeed when you take the necessary steps.  Be confident that you can handle the setbacks. 

Many people say they have a dream, but they don’t achieve those dreams because they allow the dream to dissolve without forming it into a plan. 

Take the idea and craft it into a plan.

R. React properly.

It is easy to overreact to bad news or the impact that an external shock might have on your business. React properly. Assess the situation for what it is.  Implement the right response quickly.  

O. Offer gratefully.

If you make an offer, do it with intention and gratitude. If you are in a business relationship and you feel you are getting taken advantage of, chalk it up to a lesson learned and move on.

A colleague was bemoaning that she had to redo her entire contract because one customer managed to work around some of the legal language to get more services than my friend understood she should provide.  My response was: “So what? Provide the services and move on.” 

Don’t let one negative encounter sour your relationship with your well-intentioned clients.  Don’t assume they were trying to take advantage of you.  

Every time I shop at a big box store, the ones where you have to show your sales receipt on the way out of the building, I wonder, “What prompted them to hire people to stand at the doors and check receipts?  Was there a parade of shoppers racing for the doors with carts full of rotisserie chickens, dog food, and muffins?” 

I wonder about the opportunity costs of hiring all of those people over decades to check receipts, and the additional time it takes for people to leave the store because of this process.  Were there that many people stealing the 64 packs of toilet paper?

Make the offer.  Be grateful for the people you get to work with.  Assume that people are mostly good. 

M. Motivate individually.

People are individuals, not a demographic. While our brains like to categorize people into boxes to make it easier for our brains to make sense of the data, it is a lazy way to respond.  People are different and they need different responses from us.   The danger is that we might think everyone in a certain category automatically shares specific traits so they receive the same response.  Appreciate and motivate individuals based on what matters to them as individuals, not according to their demographic profile.  

I. Imagine outrageously.

What would we do if we knew we couldn’t fail? What could we do if we thought big, like, really big? Where would our careers go? What would our business be like? Who do we admire? How did they think bigger?  Contemplate others who are big thinkers.  How can we think without constraints?  Imagine thinking crazy big thoughts.  

S. Strategize mindfully. It is easy to fall into the trap of “What did we do last year? Let’s do more of that next year (especially if it worked).“ That breeds status quo.  Great strategists look first at the changing needs of the markets and future trends, and then they ask, “How can I serve that market with what I know?  How am I different from everyone else in the market?  What makes me and my product offerings better?  What problem am I solving? What needs am I addressing?  What am I improving?”

Then, they craft the solution to the market needs.

E. Encourage sincerity.  People need genuine encouragement.  People need to know they are valued appreciated, and respected.  People have to be encouraged in a way that matters to them.  Leaders need to help the people around them stay focused, positive, motivated to do what they do. 

This year, let’s make a P.R.O.M.I.S.E. to stay motivated and inspired, while helping those around us do the same.

Mary Kelly, PhD, CSP, CPAE, CVP, CDR, US Navy (ret) What do all of these designations mean to you? Mary Kelly has EXPERIENCE and it’s this experience that your executives and your audience must learn to change the way they thrive in work and in life. Of all her titles, Mary’s favorite is teacher and after an outstanding career, she is focused on teaching professionals to navigate the economy, build their business, be a true leader and get more done.  Add inspiration, grace and a few hilarious stories and you have yourself one unforgettable keynote speaker, whether Virtual or Onstage! Mary just recently was named as one of the Top Keynote Speakers of 2020 by Top World Sales Inc, and her new Best-seller, “Who Comes Next?: Leadership Planning Made Easy” was awarded the Gold Winner Book Award for Non-fiction. To Book Mary Kelly for your next Virtual, Onstage, or Hybrid Event Call today at 888-766-3155 or visit https://bit.ly/3n1KYIM

Are You Adaptable? Ask These Five Questions and Find Out!

The need for adaptability has never been greater than it is now. The ability for people, teams, and organizations to adapt to changes in their environments, has been called the new competitive edge. The same is true for individuals: employers increasingly want workers who can adapt to an ever-changing workplace.

Someone who is adaptable is open to new ideas, and doesn’t need to do things just because “that’s how they’ve always been done.” They’re able to anticipate changes and don’t panic when things don’t go according to plan.

To stay relevant as an organization you need to think and act in an adaptable manner. As a leader or senior manager, you play an important role in leading your team through periods of change, whether that be new workplace procedures, new goals or new technology. An adaptable mindset empowers you to support your team more effectively and better manage the impact of new challenges.

Adaptability also tends to improve your level of resilience, meaning that periods of uncertainty are less likely to impact on your overall personal wellbeing. Adaptable people tend to be happier and more content as they’re not struggling against the tide or trying to resist when things change.

Being adaptable also has a direct impact on your personal sense of happiness. Being adaptable means not feeling hopeless and helpless in the face of change. If you can tell yourself that you have the skills and ability to change yourself, even if you can’t change the situation, you have figured out the key to being happy regardless of your circumstances.

If you are adaptable, you will also bounce back from adversity more quickly. This is because you would change yourself to accommodate your circumstances.  This means less time trying to change your circumstances, which may or may not work, and more time adjusting your own attitude and expectations.

So, are you adaptable? Here are five questions to ask yourself in order to find out:

1.    Can you handle failure?

To adapt means to grow and change what you consider to be right to something new (sort of- the new right) in your life and career. If you are not able to do that, you stagnate. This is something that individuals and organizations alike struggle with- habits that have led to success in the past are now being questioned or need to be replaced. This is confusing at times and creates much anxiety for many. Can they actually implement those new habits? Will those new habits actually lead to success? With new habits comes the unknown, with trials, errors and a high potential for things not working out the way we hope they will. Our old formulas for success can no longer be applied.

Coming up with new ones does not guarantee that we hot it right. We all have different levels of tolerance to the idea of potential failure. If you cannot stomach the idea of potential failure, your anxiety will cause you (or your team, or your organization) to cling back to the old, seemingly (yet not so much anymore) ‘safe’ way of doing things. Ask yourself this: can I, actually, stomach a potential failure?

2. Are you proactive?

Adaptable people and organizations tend to be proactive. This means that when problems arise (and problems always arise), instead of blaming, accusing, or freezing- they are forward-looking in their approach to resolving situations. This means that the underlying question is always: how do I/we make sure that THIS doesn’t happen again? What can I/ improve as a result? The benefits of a proactive approach are that it creates improvement rather than despair, and growth rather than anxiety and negativity.

3. Do you keep yourself accountable?

Accountability is the mother of all change. When we hold ourselves accountable for our share and responsibility in every situation rather than blaming and accusing others, we have the power to create real change. I oftentimes find that people who feel stuck, and as a result very frustrated, are actually people who refuse to see their share in the situation, and as a result, cannot see their potential to change things on their end. Think of it this way: if you have potential responsibility of 50% to every situation that you are struggling with, specifically if it involves other people, you also have a 50% change capability.

4. How positive and optimistic are you?

A positive self-attitude relies on our inner belief in our own power, or in the power of the team or the organization, to succeed and grow. Without positivity and optimism, there is no wind in the person, the team or the organization’s sails. Optimistic people tend to be much more adaptable compared with people who are negative and pessimistic. Most people are somewhat in the middle. Caught yourself talking negatively to yourself in your own head? Noticed that you are being negative when you talk to others? Catch yourself and change your language. Replace phrases of doubt with phrases of optimism, words of negativity with words of positive encouragement. It is a conscious choice that you can make every day, every minute.

5. Are you able to see the big picture?

Resistance to change is often borne out of a lack of understanding of why it’s necessary or the potential benefits it will bring. An awareness of the wider context and an understanding of how things work and connect empowers you to see beyond potential challenges to the wider goal and motivates you to find solutions. If you are a leader, make sure to communicate the big picture to your team, and make sure that it is clear to you first. If this involves your personal life, make sure the big picture is clear. Why is change needed? What impact will it have? Read the articles. Get the tools. Gain knowledge. Understanding the bigger picture will answer your ‘why’ and give you a sense of purpose and determination.

Whether you are more or less adaptable, it is a skill to work on. Adaptability is one of the most sought-after traits for leaders. It is also one of the most important parameters for success in every dimension of life- both personally and professionally.

As Tracy Chapman sings in her song ‘The Times They Are-a- changin’:

If your time to you

Is worth savin’

Then you better start swimmin’

Or you’ll sink like a stone

For the times they are a-changin’

Yes, the times are changing. Work on your own tolerance to change. Improve your adaptability. As a leader, work on creating a culture of adaptability. Tracy Chapman is right. Times are a-changin’.

Dr. Michelle Rozen, International Keynote Speaker, Change Expert and Author, is a highly influential Social Media Expert, and featured on NBC, ABC, CNN, FOX News and many other media outlets discussing change, motivation and how the human mind works to become exceptional in every area of our lives, professionally and personally. Dr. Michelle Rozen is one of the most sought after International and National Keynote Speakers!  Book Dr. Michelle today: https://bit.ly/34QbHPv

Do You Want Less Stress and Higher Prices?

If you are a small business owner, independent contractor, or have any career in which you predominantly work for yourself, you’ve probably experienced a time when you’ve been without clients or otherwise out of work.

This is always incredibly stressful; even if you’ve got money in the bank, at some point you can’t help but worry that you’ll never work again. You wonder how you’re going to pay your bills, and what will happen if you’re out of work for more than a couple weeks. Then the minute you get a new job, client, or contract, you most likely throw yourself right into the work. You get excited, devote all your time to it, and get everything accomplished quickly and efficiently. After all, getting the job done with speed and thoroughness is the best way to serve yourself, isn’t it?

If you’ve answered yes, you unfortunately are at least partially responsible for those dry spells when you’re completely without work. Even though it seems like a good idea to do your job both well and quickly, focusing solely on that means you aren’t spending any time on building new business.

If you get too involved in the project at hand, your sales and marketing will lapse and there won’t be anything in the pipeline for when the project is over. Building a successful business, whether you’re a business owner or contractor, is a process.

To rely on that process, you must work on building new sales and doing the necessary marketing. Doing a great job for one client is valuable and can certainly get you more work if they hire you again or exalt your skills to friends and colleagues. However, setting a slightly later deadline to complete the task and using the extra time to ensure you have new projects lined up will serve you far better.

So what is the magical balance between sales, marketing and delivery that is the secret to having consistent work and driving up your prices?

The answer is simple: 80 percent delivery, 20 percent sales and marketing. You’re probably familiar with the Pareto principle – the idea that 80 percent of your results are derived from roughly 20 percent of your focus.

Here, my version of the rule is a bit different; it dictates that in order to ensure that 80 percent of your efforts are delivering on paid work, 20 percent of your time weekly should be spent on marketing and sales activities.

When I tell this to clients, they often ask: why weekly, rather than just 20 percent of my total work time? The answer is simple; technically if a job took 16 days then you dedicating four days to marketing that would be 20 percent. However, the unfortunate thing about sales is that it isn’t that simple. When considering sales, you must consider the time it takes:

  • to get a meeting with the prospective client
  • allow potential clients to make their decision
  • And, if they hire you, to prepare for you to start.

If you wait until the end of your current job to do this work, you’ll end up sitting at home with nothing to do. You will start to feel desperate for work and in many cases, instead of driving your price up; you will negotiate your price and possibly lower it just to pick up work. Ensuring that the phone call you make this week becomes a meeting next week and a full-fledged job on week three requires you to set aside that marketing and sales time this week, and do so every week hereafter.

So what if you are busy with a project and spend five full days on it? Well then you should be spending a sixth work day on sales and marketing. Working a full week on a project doesn’t give you a pass to stop; it is necessary to the health of your business. People always tell me,”I only want to work 40 hours a week.” If this is the case and you want a successful business, then only commit to 32 hours of paid work and spend the other 8 on sales and marketing activities.

It really is that easy. As a result of following this extremely basic idea, you will run far less risk of being out of work for periods of time. This is especially true because clients will see you have constant work and they will perceive you as busy, talented and in demand. If the standard rule for a restaurant applies to your business, we know that customers will pay more for in demand talent.

To give you a real-life example, last year I coached a contractor who, when she was booked, worked 60 hours per week. If she believed a job would take 120 hours, she worked two full weeks without stopping, investing no time into marketing or sales. Then, after the two weeks were over, she had no work. She would panic; we would have a coaching call where I helped her reduce her stress by reminding her that the only reason she didn’t have work was due to the fact that she hadn’t called anyone.

I motivated her to reach out to her contacts, suggesting she act as though she had a space coming up, but then became fully booked- that way, she introduced a sense of urgency while seeming like the most desirable candidate for a job. Finally, I reminded her that once she got work, she needed to commit to a delivery date that allowed her to spend only 80 percent of her working time on the project itself. She repeated this cycle of neglecting her sales marketing, and therefore her own well being, numerous times; however, eventually the idea stuck. Since that time she has reaped the rewards of higher pay rates, consistent work, and reduced stress from having more reliable and profitable work.

I have also worked with a client in a more corporate position; he supplies organizations with gift hampers. He hated marketing and sales, so every time he had an order to prepare for, he completely let that aspect go.

Then, when an event was over, he was without work and forced to layoff staff, only to hire all new personnel the next time he got a job. Hiring and training the new staff would eat up a great deal of time and effort when he was already busy with event prep.

I suggested to him that if he devoted time to marketing and sales on a weekly basis, he might be able to afford keeping seasoned staff on permanently. Initially, he responded with hundreds of reasons why that wouldn’t work, including the customers’ expectations of a swift delivery date; however, once he agreed to submit to the process it resulted in far less fluctuation in the amount of work at any given time, and a steadily growing business rather than one that continuously fluctuated between growth and shrinkage.

If you only concentrate on the job at hand, you do yourself a disservice; you’ll have to experience the fear and stress of looking for work without a safety net, and you’ll never be able to increase your rate. If you always have business, you’ll be able to raise the price you charge, because you won’t fear being out of work, and because people naturally desire the services of a busy person.

After all, the general consensus is that such a person must be the best at their job; it’s the reason they’re always fully booked. On the other hand, if you don’t have work, you’ll get desperate and your rate will stay the same or may even lower. So, begin blocking out a day once a week for sales and marketing. Invest that 20 percent of your time in your healthy, sane, and busy future.

Matthew Pollard is an International Award-winning Top Keynote Sales Expert Speaker, Blogger, Podcaster, and Best-selling Author. If you’re looking for a keynote speaker with an edge, who provides absolute return on investment, who will assist your organization in achieving unprecedented results, Matthew Pollard is your Rapid Growth® Guy!  Book Matthew Pollard today https://bit.ly/345Gz1r

BEYOND CORONA

Who would have thought one month ago that a virus could so drastically disrupt our marketplace. It has us washing our hands profusely, fist bumping instead of handshaking, and walking through airports and shopping malls just praying no one touches us. 

If nothing else, this virus reminds us just how fragile our marketplace is, how much is out of our control, and how things can change on a moment’s notice. Even if you are in an industry that is strong right now, not being directly impacted, it  is still a good time to sit back, take a breath and ask yourself, are you prepared, are you ready for massive disruption? 

We are living in a time of constant change, a global market has opened up opportunity and new threats, and technology is constantly redesigning the marketplace. The one thing we can all agree on, it is probably the one thing we are all worried about, is what has made us successful to this point, what has grown our companies, is not going to be enough going forward. We need a different approach and a new style of leadership. 

Today, we need a plan for the Corona Virus, because who knows how long this will impact our economy, and the level of change it will invoke.  Here are:

5 Strategies To Help Your Sustain Your Business, Calm Your Team, and Move Beyond Corona 

  1. Focus on What You Can Control – look to what you can control, and pretty much forget the rest. Oh yes, you need to keep an eye on what is happening with the virus, but do not obsess. There is nothing you can do about travel being closed to Europe, events being canceled or the press hyping up the dangers. Your energy is better spent focusing on your business and what you can control: helping your customers, looking for revenue opportunities, limiting expenses, and working with your team on finding new opportunities.

  2. Be Transparent – be as open as you can with your team right now. If this is impacting your business, even if you are worried it will, share that with them. Your team can handle tough news, they can handle challenges, what they can’t handle is the unknown. Over communicate is the right strategy right now and ensure what you know your team knows.

  3. Engage Your Team – after you share information with your team, ask them for their ideas and opinions. You need all hands-on deck right now, and everyone fully engaged. Remember, people support what they help create, and asking your team for their input will ensure you are tapping every resource you have at this critical time. 

  4. Diversify Revenue – ask yourself if you can diversify revenue at all. Whether your income stream is compromised or not, it is still a good time to diversify. Can you offer some things online? Can your salespeople sell into different markets? Is there a new service you could be offering? It may take a while to get these revenue streams going, but now is a great time to plan.

  5. Create A Plan – and last but not least, get a plan if you do not have one. Corona will not be the last disruption we have to the marketplace, and you need to work with your team to create the strategy for situations like this. Remember, if you see change coming it is opportunity, ignore it and it will defeat you.

Change grows like kudzu in our marketplace today, and as a leader you have to be prepared.  These strategies will help you get through this crisis and help you turn all of this uncertainty to your competitive advantage. 

Meridith Elliott Powell, Keynote Speaker, Best-selling Author, and One of the Top 100 Sales Experts on LinkedIn is an award-winning leadership and sales expert. Meridith’s cutting-edge message, rooted in real-life examples and real-world knowledge will make your audience laugh and learn as she walks you through the sales and leadership strategies you need to succeed. Meridith Powell is one of the most sought after Sales Strategist and Leadership Experts! Book Meridith Powell today: https://bit.ly/2Vvm4XG

How 15 Minutes and $15 or Less Will Create Amazing Impacts!

Do you have 15 minutes and $15 or less to see an amazing impact in your business and life?This principle works!

Recently I  presented at an event hosted by the University of Michigan, and enjoyed dinner afterwards with my client, Marilyn.

During casual conversation while deciding what to order, my host mentioned she “goes hog-wild” for A&W Root Beer. Good thing she didn’t say Dom Perignon, since dinner was on me!

I made a mental note of her affinity for A&W Root Beer and pondered a few alternatives on the flight back.  Arriving home I jumped online for less than 15 minutes and ordered a case of A&W Root Beer for less than $15, which was delivered to her home address within three days.

Pretty cool. The moral of the story? I was re-booked there the following year,  right? Ehhhhh…..no.
I was referred to a colleague who booked me the following year, right?
Ehhhhh…..no.
In fact, over three years went by, and I didn’t hear anything from Marilyn!

Until one day, I received a phone call. Here is how it went:
Marilyn: “Andy…Hi—It’s Marilyn from up in Michigan, do you
remember me?”

Andy: “Sure I remember you, Marilyn. How are you doing?”
Marilyn: “I’m great! Hey, I wanted to tell you that I’m so sorry I
hadn’t kept in touch. You’re not going to believe this, but, the very
next day after your program…well, I quit my job! I’m doing
something completely different now. But, guess what….?”

Andy: “What?”
Marilyn: “I just became chair of the planning committee for our
upcoming conference, and we’d love for you to be our keynote
speaker. Are you available on August 23rd ?”
Andy: “Yes…that sounds great. Would love to do it!”

Once again after that event,  Marilyn and I again enjoyed dinner together. I just had to have this conversation:

Andy: “So, Marilyn, I have to ask…After three years, what made you decide to track me down to present this program for you?”
Marilyn: “Sure, Andy. I’ve been waiting three years to tell you this. You know, I love your program. You’re really a great speaker. But, there are plenty of other great speakers out there who also present great programs, as well. Do you remember that case of A&W Root Beer you shipped to my home?”

Andy: “Sure….absolutely.”
Marilyn: “Andy, do you know I STILL have one can of that A&W Root Beer in my refrigerator, that I show my friends and family when they come over? That was the greatest small gesture that anyone has ever done for me when it wasn’t my birthday or Christmas.”

Wow!

As great as we think we are at what we do, there is another person, or another company, who can probably perform the same function or service just as well as we can.

So, what makes the difference? The little things. The little things which take 15 minutes or less, and $15  or less. What an amazing investment of so little time, and so little money.

We use the excuses of: “I don’t have enough time” and “I don’t have enough budget,” don’t
we?  Sure we do. We should always have 15 minutes or less, and $15 or less, to spend on the most important people in our life and career.

Fifteen minutes per day is just 1/100 th of our time.  Here’s the challenge! What amazing impact can you make today with your special client, significant other, employee, or new contact, using just 15 minutes and $15 dollars or less?

Andy Masters is an award-winning author and international speaker who has written 5 books, earned 4 degrees, and presented hundreds of sales/service, leadership, and personal development experiences. Andy has earned the prestigious “CSP” designation of the National Speakers Association (NSA), the highest earned international recognition for professional speakers, in which less than 10% of speakers worldwide have achieved. To hire Andy for your next event call 888-766-3155 today, or click here: Hire Andy Masters

The Get PR Famous Formula!

If you’re looking to get more exposure for your product, service or brand and/or wanting to be “famous” in your industry and stand out as THE expert, it’s time to incorporate the Get PR Famous Formula into your regular marketing plan. By adding visibility into your day-to-day plan, you WILL be exposed to more potential customers and you will grow your business.

The Get PR Famous Formula is what you use to attract and pitch the media. Getting local media coverage makes you a star in your community. Getting national media coverage gives you tremendous credibility with potential clients and customers. The proven system is simple. You want to be newsworthy, you want to create great hooks, and you want to find the right journalist.

Last year alone, the people who followed this system were exposed to almost one billion
people and generated over eight figures in sales from free publicity.

Step 1Be Newsworthy
Being newsworthy is as simple as using outside of the box thinking to come up with creative story ideas:

1) Take a national trend or study and show how it relates to the local market.

2) Niche what you do and pitch around that. Think of a target. What do you do that is in the
small red circle that makes you unique in your industry?

3) Sign up for Help a Reporter Out/HARO, www.HelpaReporter.com. This is a free media query service where media outlets are looking for sources and quotes for national magazine articles, television shows, newspapers, and blogs. This is THE fastest and easiest way to get national media coverage. Want some tips on how to respond to HARO queries, get the free guide at www.FreeGiftFromChristina.com .

Step 2Create Great Hooks
The hook is your subject line. It’s how you get the journalist to read your email pitch. A hook is as simple as what you see on a magazine cover. People are paid a lot of money to get you to make a $5.00 impulse purchase in the grocery store check-out line based on the “hooks” you see on the magazine cover. My favorite is AARP Magazine. Just Google, “AARP magazine covers” and see what’s there. Do the same for industry related magazines or magazines you know your customers are reading and see what they are using for hooks. Then, just plug and play your newsworthy story idea into an existing hook and you’re one step closer to success!

Step 3Find the Right Journalist
This step is vital because you don’t want to send, for example, your business-related story to the book editor. People are always amazed at how frequently I get on television and in
magazines and newspapers. It’s all about finding the right person to pitch. I’m always asked how I do it. Here is my top-secret resource for finding journalists…. It’s Google. Google is a question search engine, “Who writes about real estate for [name of publication].” Locally, you’ll usually get their name, email, and phone number all in one search. Nationally can sometimes take a page or two of digging but they will be there. A resource I just discovered to find email addresses is, https://hunter.io. Give Hunter a try if you can’t find them on Google.

By putting these three steps in place when pitching the media, you will be light years ahead of  your competition and you will stand out to journalists. The more you pitch, the more you are seen as a valuable resource and it won’t be long before the media is reaching out to you for quotes about your expertise.

Christina Daves is a High-energy Speaker, Serial Entrepreneur, Award-winning Inventor, Publicity Expert, Best-Selling Author of: “PR for Anyone” and TV Media Personality.  With a “girl-next-door” appeal, audiences are captivated by her authenticity, sincerity and her struggle for, then capture of, success. Christina offers real stories on how to reach your goals using simple, yet proven, tactics that have catapulted her businesses, and helped a host of other entrepreneurs achieve success. Christina’s energy is infectious and her passion and perseverance ignite the audience with actionable lessons they can incorporate into their businesses the very next day. Her “never give up attitude” and “find a way to make it work” mantra, are inspiring to her audiences. To have Christina at your next event contact 888-766-3155 or click here: Hire Christina Daves