Posts Tagged ‘entrepreneruial success’

Networking Success Plan

Remember the statement “You never have a second opportunity to make a first impression?”

Be genuinely interested in helping, not getting.

Be genuinely interested in helping, not getting.

Your opening words, attitude and tone create either a positive or a negative first impression.  Why do so many people waste valuable networking opportunities?  They do not attend with a specific success plan but rather a “grab cards and go” plan.

If you are like me, you meet new people almost every day.  You have the opportunity to attract them to you or push them away.

How many times have you been at networking events and see someone gathering a stack of cards and leaving their card with barely more than a “Hi, I’m so-and-so; do you have a card?”  This type of card gathering is a total waste.  You might as well throw a stack of your cards in the trash.

Be honest, what do you think they do with the cards they gather?  They either add them to a mailing list and pitch the cards or just pitch the cards.  If they couldn’t be bothered to hold a conversation with you at the time, how much value do you expect they will give your card after the event?

News Flash

Networking events are for networking.  Networking as defined by the business dictionary is “Creating a group of acquaintances and associates and keeping it active through regular communication for mutual benefit.  Networking is based on the question “How can I help?” and not “What can I get?”  In that context, card gathering has nothing to do with helping or communicating.  You could accomplish as much by having a display on the wall with numerous pockets for different cards.

If you are going to spend your valuable time attending a networking event, respect yourself and the other attendees by actually meeting them and holding a conversation with them.  Attend the networking event with a specific success plan of getting to know at least three to five new acquaintances.

Follow Up

A critical element of your success plan is actually becoming acquainted with potential new clients or referral partners.  Have a conversation about what they do.  Ask clarifying questions to learn more.  You cannot refer them and they cannot refer you to your target audiences until you know specific information about them, their business and their target market.

Waste of Time

How many times have you received a referral, set up the appointment and met the individual only to learn that they have absolutely no interest in what you have to offer.  The entire exercise was a waste of time for you and the individual to whom you were referred.  Someone gave you a referral just to say that they gave a referral.

Networking to learn about each other and genuinely help each other is valuable.

Just as card-gathering is a waste of time, so is referrals-for-the-sake-of-giving-a-name.  You don’t want to waste your time and hopefully neither does any other entrepreneur.  Our time is valuable.  Our reputation is even more valuable.  Card-gathering and bad referrals create negative PR.

Make it a part of your networking success plan to respect those you meet, hold a conversation and be genuinely interested in them and their business.  Attend with the idea of helping, not getting.

Are you seeking more success in your life and career? Inquire about hiring Elaine Love for your next sales training, executive meeting or personal growth presentation.  Go to:  www.Elaine4Success.comwww.Elaine4Success.com/Contact

Sports Car vs Entrepreneur

As a “gear head” sports car enthusiast with more wanna-be than genuine technical knowledge, I invite you to make Baby.sma comparison with an entrepreneur; I do know entrepreneurialism.

Sports Car

My sports car is pure white with red leather interior.  She has smoked gray T-tops which she never wears unless in a dire emergency.  (She prefers to only go out on pretty sunny days.)  She is vintage; don’t ever call her “old.”  It feels like her nose arrives a half a block before I do.  She has a delightful purr due to the dual glass packs.

She is a 1980 Corvette Stingray with 32,142 miles on the odometer (Yes, the odometer is legitimate.  It has not been adjusted.)

The Steamboat cops named her the first day I drove her in to town.  They stopped me immediately and said, “Baby, oh Baby!”  Baby became her name.

How does a sports car resemble an entrepreneur?

Speed – Just like an entrepreneur, when the situation demands speed, both a sports car and an entrepreneur can respond with instant acceleration.  Not only instant acceleration but sustained speed as long as is required to accomplish the task.

Cornering – With an unexpected change in the economy or the desires of the marketplace, an entrepreneur can rapidly adjust and turn a sharp corner or a complete U-turn if necessary.  With unpredictable or fickle marketplace desires, the entrepreneur can navigate smoothly and rapidly through a series of “S” curves which would make a normal person dizzy.

Showmanship – From the flare and pizzazz of a web site, sales brochure or stage performance, an entrepreneur can deliver the message with style.  An entrepreneur knows how to dress the part, deliver the message and entice the audience to enjoy every minute of the presentation.

If you have ever examined a sports car on display at a car show, you know that a speck of dust or a fingerprint would not dare come near the engine, the body, or even the inside of the glove compartment.  They have a spit-shine which would make a military officer turn green in jealousy and yet sports cars are a close equal with an entrepreneur in full sales display mode.

Engine – An entrepreneur’s organization is fine-tuned from the janitor who keeps the establishment clean and perfectly maintained to the CEO who serves as visionary and conductor of the entire company.  Ideally the marketing department coordinates with the sales department and both of them work closely with manufacturing and shipping.  In a perfect world, every department coordinates and cooperates with every other department.

For a sports car to run perfectly, every mechanical part must work with every other part.  Can you imagine if the tires decided to have a dispute with the axels?

Every department, just like every part must work smoothly with every other segment.

Complete Package – Just as a finely tuned sports car is a complete package from under the hood to the perfectly polished exterior, so is a well-managed and efficiently operated entrepreneur’s organization.

Are you seeking more success in your life and career?  Inquire about hiring Elaine Love as a business and communications professional – business coach, presentations coach/trainer and content writer.  Go to www.Elaine4Success.com/about or www.Elaine4Success.com

Fabulous 5 Daily Activities

Taxes are going up.  ObamaCare continues to roll out more complications, contingencies and costs.  The

Push past emotional blocks

Push past emotional blocks

dollar is losing its former high status in the world economy.  Our national debt is rising.  Is all the news doom and gloom?  No.  As entrepreneurs, we still have a business to run; ideally running that business at a profit.  What can we do?

 

Running Your Business? 

 

How many times have you reached a point in your business when you experienced a bit of a slump in profits?  What did you do about it?

 

During the initial growth days of Mountain Castles, I was focused from morning until night calling on Realtors, devising new ways to attract clients and servicing the clients already under contract.  The business of running the business soon consumed all of the time and active personal marketing dwindled.

 

We know what happens when marketing decreases.

 

What Worked Before?

 

Go back to the basics.  What activities were you doing when your business worked the best?  Chances are that you were doing one or more of the “Fabulous 5” Daily Activities.

 

  1. 1.      Daily action plan

 

At least the night before write out the most important tasks to be accomplished the next day and exactly what time you would dedicate to each activity.  Follow through.  (My preference is to lay out my entire week on Sunday for the upcoming week.  Each primary activity has its time slot.   Non-business emails and phone calls are ignored during that time.  Turn your phone off and minimize your email program.)

 

  1. 2.      Prioritize Activities According to Goals

 

If the activity will advance you toward the achievement of your goals, do it.   If the activity takes you away from your primary goal, eliminate it.

 

Are your goals written?  Thoughts about goals rather than written goals are merely wishes.

 

Goals should be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely).

 

Specific Goal – weigh 120# by June 30, 2013

 

Measurable – scales do not lie (no fair standing with one foot on the floor or in the air.)

 

Attainable – if the current weight is 130, a reduction of 10 pounds in 105 days is certainly attainable.  If the current weight is 230, that goal would not be attainable without surgery.

 

One or two pounds reduction per week would certainly be within reason.  Gradual weight reduction is more likely to stay off.  Note, I did not say lose weight; if you lose it, you may find it again.

 

Relevant – A goal to weigh less at precisely the time you open a chocolate shop would be a conflict.

 

Timely – The specific goal included a completion date.  Setting checkpoints along the route is advisable.  In the example above, the weight reduction was one pound every ten days; specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely.

 

Analyze each of your goals according to this formula.  Since it is difficult to go in multiple directions at the same time, it is recommended to set a maximum of three main goals with every minor goal tying directly to one of the three major goals.  In the weight loss example, it could be exercising three times per week.

 

  1. 3.      Income Producing Activity

 

Lead generation and following up on leads fills the sales funnel.  It is a simple progression – marketing – leads – follow up with leads – sales – delivery of goods or services – customer service – profit – repeat orders.

 

Regardless of the marketing method: paid online marketing, social media, printed marketing, or personal contact marketing, leads must be generated.  Income producing activities are critical every day.

 

  1. 4.       Personal Development

 

Customers always relate to you first and the product second.  Unless you are the only possible source for the product and they desperately have to have the product, buyers purchase from the salesperson who emotionally connects with them.  Patricia Fripp, first female president of the National Speakers Association said, “You only have to connect with your audience emotionally if you want them to remember you and what you said.”

 

Personal development is knowing yourself.  Celebrate what is going well in your life and constantly strive to improve other elements one by one.  Personal development is key to a peaceful and productive life.

 

Journaling, meditating, listening to educational/inspirational/thought-provoking material, reading books and magazines with informative content and attending motivational seminars all enhance the opportunity for personal development.  Invest in yourself by completing the exercises in Emotional Ice Water.  The best information in the world will not help you unless you take action and apply it to your life.

 

  1. 5.      Cultivate an Attitude of Success

 

When you believe in yourself, believe the best in others, associate with positive minded leaders, and take action on those constructive thoughts, you will progress.  Bob Moawad said, “You can’t make footprints in the sands of time if you are sitting on your butt.”

 

Think positive, take action and achieve your goals.

Marketing on a Budget

 

Clutching at straws to make a marketing budget?

Following the crowd may work for some things, but not for marketing.  People flock to the “latest and greatest” and the price goes up as the market demand goes up.  Unfortunately, the results do not necessarily follow the upward trend of the prices. Be creative and ahead of the pack.

 

If everyone is doing it, it must be a good idea.

 

Warren Buffett, an American business magnate, investor and philanthropist, is widely considered to be the most successful investor of the 20th century.  He is reported to have said that if everyone is doing something, do the opposite.  If it was a good idea, it is not a good idea any longer.

 

Even though Warren was speaking of investing, this works for marketing as well.  When pay-per-click first came out, it was “the new shiny idea.”  Prices were cheap and results were good.  Soon it became very expensive to obtain any positive results. When email first became popular, it was unique and effective.  If your inbox is like mine, it is now clogged with a few hundred emails a day.  Unfortunately, far too many of those are junk.

 

The world is going mobile.  Text is more current than email.  Mobile GPS works better than pay-per-click.  Stay with the curve or ahead of it.

 

What is the best idea for 2013 marketing? 

 

Business logic has remained constant for decades.  The methods, trends and implementation have changed but business principles are just that, solid principles.

 

Business magnates have subscribed to a philosophy of using the proven as their main focus while testing a new idea as their secret to success since the beginning of time.

 

Proven Successful Marketing Principles

 

Define your target audience.  Exactly who is your product designed to benefit?  Who will pay to receive the solution your product offers?

 

An anti-wrinkle face cream would probably be targeted to women age 30 – 60 living in middle to upper class neighborhoods in a metropolitan area.  Narrowing down your target market may seem limiting but it actually helps you focus your advertising on exactly the message that audience would want to hear.

 

What message would they want to hear?  They want proven results.  They want testimonials of people they know and trust who have used the cream and received positive results.  They want to know how long it will take to receive their desired result.

 

Determine when your customers want your product.  Starbucks coffee ads would be highly effective in the morning.  Selling a comfortable mattress would be well timed in the evening or early morning; having people view the ad when they are ready for a good night’s sleep or did not have a restful night.

 

In a ski resort, marketing ads would be most effective in late summer when the property management companies are placing all of their marketing for the upcoming ski season.

 

Catch the potential customer at the time they are ready to purchase or immediately before they are making a buying decision.

 

Make it easy to find you

 

Google is a wonderful tool for research, but unless your business pops up quickly on a smartphone, you may be lost in cyberspace.  Our world is mobile.  Include your address, a map to locate you and your main focus as a keyword. If they are hungry for a pizza, be certain that your name and location pops up on their phone.

 

If you don’t pop up when they are ready, it is as if you do not exist.

 

It does not cost you any more to include a few key details like your address and phone.  Make wise use of your marketing dollars.

 

Know your target market.  Know the message they want to hear and make it easy for them to find you.

Appearance Counts, Especially for the Owner of a Start-Up

Elaine Love

Dress for Success

The business start-up is more than an idea, a business plan, and initial finances.  Does it sound exciting to be able to work from home in your robe and slippers?  Ok, so you put on jeans, flip flops and a hoodie to go to the bank.  Unfortunately that will not create a successful image.

 

As an entrepreneur you are wearing all of the hats.  You are the President and CEO, the accountant, the receptionist and even the office cleaning and maintenance staff.  You never know who you may encounter on your trip to the bank.  What if you met the banker to whom you had just applied for a small business loan?  What if you met the ideal customer who could make a major purchase of your product or the individual who would refer you to that ideal customer?  Would your attire and manner convey the impression of a successful business owner?

 

Darren LaCroix, 2001 World Champion of Public Speaking, considers himself on duty for the client from the time he arrives at the airport to depart for his professional speaking booking.  A future audience member, meeting planner or corporate executive may also be traveling through that same airport at that exact time; they will form an impression which can influence current or future bookings.

 

My speaking and business coaching clients are encouraged to dress business casual with their hair coiffed and clean shoes; females have makeup and the guys are clean shaven.  Does it require extra effort?  Of course.  When you are properly dressed and ready to face the public, you carry yourself just a little more erect.  You smile a bit more and feel better about yourself.

 

As a new entrepreneur, can you really afford to turn away encouragement or financial support?  Probably not.  Did I ever experience such a bitter lesson?  Come with me to Steamboat Springs Ski Resort in Colorado in the early days of Mountain Castles Property Management.

 

It was an especially busy day with tourists departing and new tourists arriving within a few hours for the same five-bedroom homes.  Two housekeepers called in sick.  There wasn’t much choice but to leave my office, put on cleaning clothes and fill the housekeeping gap.  As I stepped into the house, the omen of trouble was immediate.  The sink was piled high.  There is a dishwasher; hadn’t they even washed one dish for the entire week?  My frustration mounted.  One peek into the oven revealed a disaster resembling a burnt out college bond fire.  After a couple hours of scrubbing, it was apparent that there were not enough cleaning materials with me to transform this catastrophe into the sparkling property necessary for the next guests.  I made a hasty dash back to the office to replenish supplies.

 

I entered the office looking especially scruffy and dirty.   I was suddenly face to face with one of my most affluent and impeccably attired female clients.  Neither apologies, explanations, nor excuses could possibly erase my unsavory appearance from her memory.

 

Yes, that appearance error was unavoidable, but what about the avoidable “too much of a hurry to bother” occasions?

 

As the owner, you are making the sales pitch for funding or product sales.  Though you won’t wear a three piece suit to sell products to an auto mechanic shop, it is always respectful to the client to dress up at least as well as they do and preferably slightly better.

 

The old adage of “You never have a second chance to make a good first impression” holds ever so true for the appearance of the owner of a start-up.

 

Take the extra time to pay attention to your attire and grooming.  Your future business and future bank account will thank you.

Are you seeking more success in your life and career? Inquire about hiring Elaine Love for your next sales training, executive meeting or personal growth presentation.  Go to  www.Elaine4Success.com or contact Elaine at Elaine@Elaine4Success.com

Connection – The Object of Conversation

Conversations with friends

Connection, not just conversation is Key

Conversations should flow naturally and smoothly.  Relax and be yourself.  The more you are fully engaged and genuinely interested in both the topic and the person to whom you are speaking, the more comfortable it will be for both parties.

 

Key – It is called conversation, not monologue.  Both parties should be participating.

 

How to start a conversation

 

Every conversation is an opportunity for connection.  The people in front of you may or may not be your ideal client, but they may know the perfect client for you.  We are all connected to everyone else by six degrees of separation.  (“Six degrees of separation is the idea that everyone is on average approximately six steps away, by way of introduction, from any other person in the world, so that a chain of “a friend of a friend” statements can be made, on average, to connect any two people in six steps. It was originally set out by Frigyes Karinthy and popularized by a play written by John Guare.”)

 

Questions

 

Questions are excellent conversation starters.  Allison Graham’s article “Hate Small Talk” said, Mastering small talk will help you find common ground to create a mini-bond with new contacts. Small talk may feel trite and unimportant, but it’s the small talk that leads to the big talk.”

 

What questions can you ask which will stimulate conversation and connection?

 

  • What brought you to this event?
  • When you’re not working or networking, what do you enjoy doing?
  • How did you happen to start in your line of work?
  • What organizations do you belong to?  (social, professional, service)
  • What are your vacation plans for this year?  (or holiday plans)
  • Name something positive which happened to you lately.

 

If the conversation lags but you really do not want to end it, be creative.  You know what interests you; keep moving from topic to topic until you find what interests them. Establishing common interests creates connection.

 

Appreciation

 

Comment on an attractive shirt or tie for a man or a blouse or shoes for a woman.  Be genuine.  Men like to be complimented on their attire as much as women do.

 

Mentioning a special award or accomplishment they or a member of their family has recently received is always a positive.  If you can take a photo of them receiving the award or a clipping from the paper and enclose it in your personalized printed note card, it makes a memorable gift.  Your thoughtfulness creates an emotional connection.

 

One of my clients gave me a gift of notepads with my company logo on them as a Thank You gift.  PrintPlace creates custom printed notepads.  These pads become a constant reminder of the appreciation of the giver and a reminder of the high quality of the printer.

You only have to connect emotionally if you want them to remember you.  People remember how you make them feel more than they remember your words.  Note cards create emotional connections; thoughtful notes are excellent follow up reminders of your conversation.

 

What Not to Say

 

Avoid Foot in Mouth Syndrome

 

Intense discussions about work, politics, religion or sensitive social issues are taboo – totally unacceptable.

 

Don’t always have to be right.  I once dated a man who said he was “often wrong but never in doubt.”  Even if you know you are right, this may not be the time to push the issue.  You will not win points.

 

When is it Time to Move On to the Next Person?

 

Body Language

 

Shifting feet, glances around the room and disengaged behavior in the conversation all say “It’s time to move on.  This conversation is over at this time.”

 

Smooth Transitions

 

If you are the one who desires to move on, offer to introduce them to “Ms or Mr X.”  It is a smooth transition and will most likely be viewed as helping them.

 

If you have made a solid connection, ask when they would like to get together for a cup of coffee and continue the conversation.  This is the perfect time to offer your business card.  Pull out your smart phone and coordinate calendars for your follow up meeting.  Make a note of the follow up time, date and a conversation note on their business card.  Ideally, they will make a similar note on your business card.

 

Be conscious of focusing genuine attention on them.  Ask engaging questions, make eye contact, give a firm but not crushing handshake, confirm common values and interests, listen and be appreciative.  Remain aware of body language both positive and negative.  Connect emotionally.  Make a smooth transition out of the conversation just as you made a smooth transition into the conversation.

 

 

 

 

How important is your competitive advantage?

Develop your Competitive Advantage

What is your competitive advantage?  Why would people choose to do business with you instead of your competition?  We are in the midst of a challenging economy in United States as well as many other countries right now.  Competitive advantage is even more important now than at any other point in my lifetime, perhaps yours as well.

 

 

If you are an investor, you may be thinking, “How does this relate to me?  This is my market.  There are more sellers than buyers right now.”  True.  If you are the seller, how do you attract that ideal buyer or investor?

 

Fine tune your competitive advantage

 

What is the value, quality or delivery you offer which is superior?  An investor wants to know what you have to offer now; they will build on their additional advantages.  Unless you have something intriguing to offer, they are on to the next opportunity.

 

So what if they don’t invest in your business?  Developing a stronger competitive advantage will make your business more profitable in the interim.

 

Do you believe you have an excellent product or service?  If not, improve it until it is excellent.

 

How to improve your competitive advantage

 

Interview your current customers.

 

  1. What do they like about your company or product?
  2. What do they NOT like? (Not a fun question but very informative.)
  3. What would they like to have but do not have at this time?

 

Interview your competitor’s customers with the same 3 questions.

 

Interview prospective customers.  You will be amazed at how powerful it is to ask them what they want rather than endeavor to sell them something.

 

Now do something with this valuable feedback.  No, not stuff it in a folder to be reviewed at some distant point in the future.

 

Research how other companies have overcome these “dislike” issues.  You are probably not the only one to ever face these challenges.

 

  1.  Contact your mentors or icons in the industry.
  2. Search for information.  Use the internet as well as current print publications.
  3. Visit some of your competitors or purchase a product from them.
  4. Do a blind test and purchase from your own company.

 

Take a vendor to lunch.  Ask their experience with how other companies handle similar situations you deal with in your day to day operations.

 

Ask you CPA.  They work with other companies.  Look outside your industry for ideas

 

Form a plan to improve your competitive advantage

 

  • Find a way to build on your current advantages.  Emphasize them in your marketing

 

  • Compile all of your research information into an organized format.  Brainstorm.  Use the “How can I” approach rather than “That won’t work.”  A positive attitude does wonders.

 

  • Make a list of actions to be taken.  Prioritize the list and add a timeframe to each.

 

  • Take action.  Start the plan immediately

 

Competitive advantage is even more important now.  Adopt the attitude of Amazon in 2008.  The CEO called the key staff together and said “There’s a big recession coming.  Let’s miss it.”

 

Whether you are a seller, buyer, investor or customer, competitive advantage is paramount.  Take action to make your advantage outstanding in the marketplace.  Your employees, customers and bank account will thank you.

 

For more information on competitive advantage, stay tuned to www.Elaine4Success.com.  Also inquire about hiring Elaine Love for your next sales training, executive meeting or personal growth presentation coaching.  Go to www.Elaine4Success.com/Contact or www.MeetElaineLove.com.

The Connection Objective of Networking

“People buy more from those they know, like and trust” has been stated repeatedly through the decades even though the originator of the quote is unknown.  How do people get to know, like and trust you?  One of the fastest ways is through networking.  Personal face-to-face contact allows the listener to hear the words, tone of voice and observe the body language.

 

Why take the time to network?

 

Networking requires time, energy and genuine attentiveness.  If you think you can’t spare the time to network, consider that you will receive more value for your soft-money investment than you would by spending the equivalent amount in actual hard-money dollars.

Benefits of networking                                                                 

Connections are key to Networking

Connect emotionally

  • Increased sales
  • Larger transaction amount per sale
  • Higher closing ratio
  • More repeat and referral business
  • Community awareness
  • Greater perceived trust

“The more solid relationships you build, the more credible you are. The more your credibility grows, the more people will hire and recommend you.”  Can you afford NOT to network?

Websites, pop-up ads, online banners and pay-per-click ads all tout the benefits of your business.  Once you make face to face contact, you become a personality.  You have the opportunity to form a connection.  Now your business card has a face and a voice attached.

Your brochure becomes an extension of you, the person, not just any business.  Dan Kennedy attended a trade show with the specific intention of purchasing a generator.  He visited several booths and received their brochures.  Kennedy said, “If you took the name off the top of the brochure, the features listed were interchangeable.”  Your business has competition.  Without the personal contact, your business may blend into the masses.  When you make a personal connection with a person and hand them your brochure, your personality intensifies the value of your business.  Online does not have the personal touch of a smile and a handshake.

With networking you increase the value of all of your marketing, but especially the printed marketing materials you hand a prospect during your conversation.

Disadvantages of networking

  • It takes time to drive to and from events
  • To be effective, personal contact requires you to listen
  • Some expense is involved – transportation costs and beverage costs at the event

How to Network Effectively

Create a plan

  1. Go alone.  You will talk to more people.
  2. Make a list of specific individuals you would like to contact and pertinent details to be discussed.  Refresh the list after each event adding new names and recording the results of the contacts accomplished.
  3. Set an objective for the event.  Are you seeking investors, education, inspiration, connections or clients?
  4. Ask insightful questions. Attentively listen to people and demonstrate that you care about what they are saying by asking them to expand on their points of wisdom.
  5. Add value by introducing them to others who would be important connections for them.
  6. Make a note on their business card to remind you of the conversation and the person.  (Consider making the front of your card high gloss for visual appeal and the back of the card in a finish which permits writing notes.)
  7. Relax.  You are attending to make connections not bowl people over with a sales pitch.  Networking is not to close the sale but to make the connection for a future appointment.
  8. Speak casually at a slower pace and lower tone.  You are not there to collect a handful of cards, but to have genuine conversations.
  9. Be brief.  People love to talk about themselves.  You are there to learn more about them.  Interestingly enough, they will be more impressed by your genuine listening and attention to them than if you spouted volumes of information about yourself.
  10. Follow up after the event.  Send an email, make a telephone call, and send a handwritten note on your personalized business notecard stationery.
  11. Understand the tremendous value of networking.  The critical keys to effective networking are to go with a focused mindset and plan to be conscious of making genuine connections.  Be attentive and engage in genuine conversations.  Demonstrate your intention of helping others.  Make notes, future appointments and follow up.  People do business with those they know, like and trust.  Increase your connections with networking.

Understand the tremendous value of networking.  The critical keys to effective networking are to go with a focused mindset and plan to be conscious of making genuine connections.  Be attentive and engage in genuine conversations.  Demonstrate your intention of helping others.  Make notes, future appointments and follow up.  People do business with those they know, like and trust.  Increase your connections with networking.

Entrepreneurial Success Requires a Debrief

Debrief - Check Your List

How many hours did you spend preparing for that presentation?  Entrepreneurial success requires preparation, presentation and review.  If it was a major client, it was probably several hours.  You wrote, rehearsed, tweaked and worried.  You probably picked out just the right outfit to make a favorable impression.  The time arrived and you gave your presentation.  How did it go?

Preparation is absolutely important.  Delivery is also very important.  What happens next?  “It has been 2 days since we met, Mr. Buyer.  What do you think?”  Regardless of the words chosen, you probably made at least one follow up call.

What did you do about your presentation?  Did you review your own performance?  Reality indicates that less then 1% of the salesmen ever review their own presentation.  Entrepreneurial success is epitomized by the Toastmasters speaking and leadership tracks.  Toastmasters encourages every member to record a video and an audio of every speech.  Just recording the speech is not enough.  It is important to actually watch and listen to the recording.

How many salesmen, male and female, ever record their presentations?  Out of thousands of sales professionals, you could count the number on one foot with toes left over.  No wonder so many salesmen put their foot in their mouth during presentations.

A wise friend of mine, Ed Tate, recommends using debriefing questions after every presentation.  (Ed Tate was the 2000 world champion of public speaking for Toastmasters.)

What happened?  List the good points and the “lets do that differently next time” points.

Why did that part work or why didn’t that part work?  Break the entire presentation down into small parts and review each one.  Don’t beat yourself up, but do be honest.  The growth is in the struggle to improve.  I recently had a speech which did not go nearly as well as I would have liked.  I don’t know if you ever talk to yourself, but I had a serious heart to heart with myself over that performance.  “Elaine, you stayed up all night working on the last minute changes.  You were not rested and refreshed.”  “Elaine, you spent the time running off new handouts instead of eating breakfast.  Your energy was low.”  “Elaine, you drank black coffee in an attempt to boost energy all night and early in the morning rather than drinking water to stay hydrated.”  “Elaine, you self sabotaged your own performance.”  Even though staying up all night working, running off copies and coffee seemed like good ideas at the time, in retrospect, they were self defeating.

How many college students have crammed all night for a test and almost fell asleep during the test?  Common practice but not a good idea.

What worked?  What parts did not work?  In any speech or presentation some parts work better than others.  Unless you take the time to dissect the entire presentation, you do not know what parts to keep in for the next presentation and which parts to tweak.  In order to maximize entrepreneurial success, a debrief of the presentation is essential.

What did you learn?  Debrief all parts of the presentation and make concentrated efforts to strengthen the most effective parts and revise the weaker segments.  Examine carefully what you learned.  The growth is in the struggle.

For more tips, techniques and solid business practices, join me at www.Elaine4Success.com.

Entrepreneurial Mindset – Never Give Up

Never Give Up on Yourself or Your Future

Poor me.  Boo Hoo.  Whine Whine.  Maybe you will hear this attitude from a quitter, but never from an entrepreneur.  Entrepreneurs never quit.  We may alter the course or even change directions, but never quit.  Quitting simply does not exist with the entrepreneurial mindset.  Does that mean that we never get discouraged or face challenges?  No.  Of course we do.  The difference between the entrepreneur and the quitter is that an entrepreneurial mindset never quits.

Entrepreneur Quitter
Goal Oriented Today Oriented
Written Success Plan Mood of the Moment Activity
Determined Maybe and If Thoughts
Consistent Sometimes – Infrequent
Compelling Reason to Succeed Luke warm desire to succeed
Researched and Planned Impulse of the Moment

Goal Oriented means you have specific written goals.  Each goal has a time frame to be accomplished, measurable criteria and is a stretch but yet possible.  Without specific written goals, it is just a daydream or a wish.

Entrepreneurial mindsets require a detailed written success plan with each element defined.  What financing will be needed?  What marketing method, budget and specific marketing action steps are required?  What specific benchmarks must be reached by what date to know that the business is on target toward the goal rather than wandering aimlessly.  Excellent written success plans are composed in weekly, monthly, quarterly, one year, five year and ten year time frames.

Rock solid determination is not optional.  One of the characteristics of an entrepreneur is the unwavering commitment to reach their goals no matter what the obstacles.  This determination is frequently based on a “why.”  Why will you never give up on your goals?  What is so important that you will persevere through any obstacle?  Go over it, around it, under it or through it; the obstacle must yield.

Consistent and persistent actions are typical characteristics of an entrepreneur.  Entrepreneurs know that focused action is required each and every day.

Entrepreneurial mindset remains crystal clear on their “why.”  Thus reason becomes compelling and long term.

Another characteristic of an entrepreneur is researching the ideal business fit for them and planning their success with a detailed written business success plan.

Entrepreneurs are never quitters.  Entrepreneurs succeed partially because they never accept any other outcome.

For more specific and personalized fine tuning of your individual entrepreneurial mindset, join me at http://www.elaine4success.com/ or http://www.yes2money.com/.

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”Elaine spoke to our top leaders from 8 states, she gave us new and positive ways to connect with people
which is EXACTLY what we wanted. Thanks Elaine”
-Tom Fajardo, State Farm