Richard Branson

What Can Business Do About It?

A friend of mine once said, “If we could get every single business person in the world, every single entrepreneur, to play their part, we could get on top of most of the world’s problems.” That friend was Richard Branson, and I took his message about his Plan B Initiative.to heart. It made me think about what I could do through BNI to make an impact on the globe and sent me on an introspective journey about being a business owner and the responsibility we had to serve not only our customers but society as a whole.

What I came up with are four ways to help your business find direction and purpose in helping others, whether it be in your local area or in the global community.

Garage to Global

In this video, I discuss how businesses can give back to the community. This is a part of what I call the “Ivanisms Series”: all of my personal quotes and phrases and why they have worked for me. Therefore, please watch this video to understand what Richard Branson means.

Can Your Business Serve the Greater Good?

All of us are in business to make a profit. But if that’s the primary driving force in business, we become mercenaries to that process.  I believe that I should serve a greater need than simply to make a profit. I believe that business can be honorable.  It can make a difference in individual lives as well as communities.

Business can be honorable. It can be something that improves people’s lives as well as supports and helps local communities. It can do so, by not only helping to generate more business for one another, but by giving back to the community, mentoring others, immersing in a culture of shared learning, and by collaborating with others.

The BNI Foundation

When corporations have a vision bigger than their profit and loss statement, amazing things can happen. BNI, the world’s leading referral organization, is one such corporation. Started by Ivan and Beth Misner in 1998, the BNI Foundation has been supporting children and education in the United States and around the world by mobilizing resources to give kids everywhere a quality education. The focus of the BNI Foundation is to help the youth of our community to find the path to productive and successful lives. For us, the mechanism to help with this shift is by investing our time, treasure, and talent to assist in education where we can. http://bnifoundation.org/ 

What is Business Voices ™?

The BNI Foundation has a long, proud legacy of helping out where schools have needed extra funding for projects not provided for by school districts or state funding. A pivotal factor of our philanthropic work was the creation of the Business Voices™ initiative to provide even more to the schools which have with the greatest needs.

Our initiative pairs BNI members and concerned, engaged and motivated corporations, service clubs and community groups with schools and educational organizations. The goal is to help them find the resources they need to have maximum impact on the kids of our communities.

HIDWAL

I Hit HIDWAL

In Good to Great, Jim Collins opened up a whole new paradigm for many people.  He showed us that “bad” is not the enemy of “great.”  “Good” is the enemy of “great.”  Everyone can recognize when something is really horrible.  It is, in fact, “good” that is the enemy of great performance.  We’ve all heard the expressions: “it’s good enough,” “things are ok,” “it’s not bad,” “we’re doing alright,” “hey, it’s good enough for government work, right?”  This is metastatic mediocrity at work.

I love what I do, and I am passionate about helping people improve their businesses and their networking efforts to achieve success.  While doing this, I sometimes come across people who would like to be more successful, but they aren’t really committed to making a change in their circumstances.

They have what I would call a success disconnect.  They want to be more successful, but for some incomprehensible reason, they don’t see a connection between their desire for success and the behavior they are embracing.  On one hand, they say they’d “like to be making more money,” but then a few moments later they’ll say things which indicate that they are uncomfortable making the necessary changes.  Take my absolute favorite success disconnect statement: “You don’t understand, Ivan; this won’t work here because…” then fill in the blank with the excuse de jour. Over the years, I’ve found that “good enough,” eventually leads to “metastatic mediocrity.”

I call this condition the “I HIT HIDWAL Syndrome,” or:

I’m

Happy
In
This

Hole (and)
I
Don’t
Want
A
Ladder!

You may be reading this and thinking, “this is a crazy statement” – but give it some time.  I promise, you will be out talking to someone in the future, and you will hear them complaining about their circumstances.  You will then offer them a referral to someone with ideas that will help them, or you may give them some ideas of your own that could help them, and they will tell you all the reasons those ideas won’t work for them.

At that moment – I want you to STOP and think about this article and envision a great big sticker on that person’s forehead that reads: “I HIT HIDWAL.”

Yes, I’m Happy In This Hole (and) I Don’t Want A Ladder!

Now you and I both know that they may really “need” a ladder – but they just don’t “want” a ladder. My entire professional career has been dedicated to those who want a ladder!  I want to work with people who recognize they are in a hole and they want out.  I have also learned over time that when it comes to taking advice – some will, some won’t, so what!  Not everyone is in the place where they recognize they even “need” the ladder.  Before they can “want” it, they need to recognize they “need” it.  If they don’t recognize they need it, then offering them help (or a ladder) will be of no use whatsoever.

I’ve also learned that I can’t help the ones that think the “hole” is the natural state of things.  These are people who’ve become comfortable with where they are and have become so accustomed to the great big hole they reside in that they think it’s just part of the landscape.

I can, however, help the ones who recognize their condition and know they want out. More importantly, they not only want out of the hole they are currently in, but they will do just about whatever it takes to get themselves out of that hole! We can only help those who are ready and willing to be helped.

As an entrepreneur in your profession, you will meet people that need your help all the time.  My advice to you is: figure out if they’re ready for the ladder.  If not, let them know you’re ready for them when they’re ready for you, and then move on to someone who desperately wants that ladder you’re going to send down to them.

Good is the enemy of great.  Look around.  Are you in a hole? Do you know people in a hole?  There’s a way out.  I promise. Find someone who can be a mentor and a coach — even a “virtual mentor” in books and videos. Find someone with the ladder that is needed to get out of that hole and start climbing out to success.

Why accept mediocrity when excellence is an option?  Excellence is an option.

your competition

Why Partnering With Your Competition Could Be Your Key To Success

How intelligently collaborating with your competition can vastly improve your business.

While counter-intuitive, partnering with your competition may be among the best ways to grow your business. By intelligently creating a partnership with someone who you would otherwise work against, you can combine your client bases and maximize return on your investment. However, you never know what kind of positives can come from what may otherwise seem like a negative.

Watch this video

In this video, I discuss how to deal with competition in business. This is a part of what I call the “Ivanisms Series”, all of my personal quotes and phrases and why they have worked for me. Therefore, please watch this video to understand what Ivan means.

The value of collaborating with your competition

I was doing a seminar about how it is possible to increase your business by cooperating with your competitors.

A man sitting in the audience argued passionately about not consorting with the competition. We were having a pretty lively debate when an older member of the audience stood up to weigh in.

The story he told made a believer out of everyone else in the room:

I’ve been in the investment business my entire professional career. A few years ago, I was courting a company for an investment package that included retirement and more. It was huge — one of the biggest projects I had ever worked on. Spending weeks getting to know the client’s intricate needs and putting together a comprehensive package, the client told me they were going with someone else.

Therefore, I was just gobsmacked, completely shocked. After I caught my breath, I asked him who he had chosen. It turns out he was giving it to a competitor in his mid 20s. This kid had no experience and yet, here they were giving him this monster project. I felt like I had spent enough time with the client to ask him why he would choose this person over me and my package. He looked at me and said, “You want the honest-to-goodness truth? It’s my brother in law, and my wife will go crazy if I don’t give him the business. However, I do trust him, but I know he hasn’t got the experience you have.”

In my entire professional life, I had never done what I did next. In my area of business, it’s usually dog-eat-dog, but I called the kid and congratulated him. I told him I knew a lot about the company and if he ever needed anything, I was happy to help.

The kid’s voice literally jumped out of the phone. He said, “I’m from a wealthy family, but I really have no idea how to manage a project this big. I’m connected and I have four more deals just like this one, and I don’t know how I’m going to get it all put together. Could we partner up? In conclusion, I know I can get even more deals like these, but to manage it well, I could really use your help.”

We did just that: partnered up. And that kid is a rainmaker. We have worked on so many deals, all of them the same size or bigger than that original one I thought I lost. Therefore, I made more money than I had ever made before by calling up my competitor and offering goodwill and advice if he ever needed it.

Therefore, as you might suspect, the young man in my audience had a change of heart after hearing this story.

Will this happen every time you try to work with a competitor? Of course not. But it will never happen if you don’t reach out.

What are some effective ways you’ve been able to collaborate with competitors? Let us know in the comments below.

 

college graduates

Five tips for new college graduates to find a job through networking

It’s graduation season. However, the majority of soon-to-be college graduates don’t have a job lined up. The New York Post reported that a study conducted by GoDaddy found that only 40% of college seniors have lined up a job and another 30% don’t even believe there are any jobs out there for them. So many new grads are still looking for employment because many of them are doing it the wrong way. They are unprepared because we don’t teach networking in colleges and Universities. Networking is still the best way to land a job. According to PayScale.com, over 85% of all high-end jobs are found through networking.

I thought I would share five tips on how new graduates (or even seasoned professionals) can find a new job if they are looking for employment.

Networking

Follow a lead when you get it but focus on getting a referral. A lead is merely a contact but a referral is about a relationship. Desperation is not referable. Since you’ll be depending on your network to speak highly of you to their hiring manager and contacts, practice confidently touting your skills. Reach out to friends, family and business contacts in person, on LinkedIn and via social media to tell them exactly what kind of position you’re looking for. Ask if they can check for any upcoming openings and keep you in mind.

Mentoring

Every college grad should find a mentor in their profession.  Know how to ask.  Don’t lead with “will you be my mentor.”  Instead, ask them if they are willing to give you some advice.  Tell them you are not looking for anything from them but advice. DON’T PITCH to them.

Checking

Image-check your social media profiles. They are looking! Potential employers will search about you online. Your social media presence could be hurting your chances of landing a job. Take down all your posts of your wild parties and remove any posts that you think don’t represent you appropriately to an employer. You won’t want to make those who have referred you to look bad if they stick their neck out and recommend you.  I was once considering hiring someone and I checked out his Facebook page.  OMG!  He threw out the “F” bomb time after time on his posts.  In addition, he posted widely inappropriate comments and tirades about people.  He was not the kind of influence I wanted in my office.

Strategizing

Determine where you stand with these contacts. Whether they are active, passive, or dormant will determine the strategy. Active; pick up the phone and ask for assistance.  There’s a relationship.  They will most likely love to help. Passive; set an appointment to reconnect (preferably in person).  Find out about them and let them know you’re looking for something.  Dormant; reconnect by social media or email.  Just talk.  Don’t ask for anything – yet.  Stay in touch, build the relationship before you ask.

Visiting

Visit organizations in the industry you want. Network right there, on the ground. Check in at the front desk, drop your resume off in-person and ask to meet with the HR director. Better yet, find out if someone in your network can connect you to a current employee in that company. Contact them through the referral.  Meet them for coffee and come prepared.

Your network is the lifeblood of your career.  Don’t let it die of professional loneliness.  Learn how to network your way into a job.

Share this with anyone you know who is looking for employment.

roof

Dancing On The Roof

How to set goals

Goal Setting is a strategy to help you choose where you want your business to grow to in a certain amount of time. When I set a goal, I generally actually set three levels of a goal. First, I set a really high goal that is in my mind that I really want to shoot for. Then, I set a really low goal. Let’s talk more about these three levels of goals…

The High Goal:

If the moon and the stars all align and it all comes together and everything is perfect or better than expected and I can hit that goal number. By the way, this is what most people set their goals at, this really high number. However, people always struggle to reach this “everything is going to be perfect” goal. Therefore, if you reach this goal, you feel like you are dancing on the roof.

The Low Goal:

This is just the opposite if everything went wrong. If the sky and moon fell and there was an apocalypse, how bad would it be? What are the low levels of what you can hit? Select this number. This is the basement floor level by reaching this number. If you can’t reach this number – you may be in the wrong business.

The Middle Goal:

This is the actual target goal. This goal number is somewhere in between of the high and low goal. It is a stretch, but I can do it. This is the key goal. It is the number I put out to the world knowing my high and low-level goals.

Your Action Plan:

Now reverse engineer your goals. This is really important. Take these three levels, especially the target goal, and determine where will you be in 3 months, 6 months, and 9 months to reach 100% of your target goal within one year. Where will you be every month to reach your target goal? You have to work it monthly. You cannot hit a target you are not aiming at. Therefore, you got to set your targets and you got to set those baby steps to get to those targets. Otherwise, you are going to be halfway through the year and realize that you are nowhere near to being close to your goal. If you cannot do this, you cannot set an achievable goal.

Finally, create an action plan for those goals. You got to take action. You need to have bullet point action steps. What specifically do you have to do to hit that target in 3 months, 6 months, 9 months, 1 year? In conclusion, if you do these tips, you are setting yourself up for amazing success.

competitors

How To Deal With Competitors

My solution on how to deal with competitors is simple: Don’t pay attention to competitors. Success in business is about constantly improving your product or service, team, and culture. If you focus on these aspects, you’ll improve your position in the marketplace.

Focus on the fundamentals of your business. Keep up with metrics and constantly share your organization’s core values. These are a few ways that you can improve your business. But whatever you do, don’t obsess over what competitors are saying about you. If you keep bettering your own business, you’ll have no need to fear your competitors.

“The competitor to be feared is one who never bothers about you at all, but goes on making his own business better all the time.” – Henry Ford

Watch this video

In this video, I discuss how to deal with competition in business. This is a part of what I call the “Ivanisms Series”, all of my personal quotes and phrases and why they have worked for me. Please watch this video to understand what Ivan means.

Andy Lopata

The A-Z of Networking: Q is for… (by Andy Lopata)

This month, Andy Lopata shares more networking tips which begin with the letter “Q”

  • Qualify
  • Quality
  • Quanity
  • Questions
  • Quick
  • Quiet
  • Quirkiness
  • Quit
  • Quotable

Click here to watch this video

Please click below to see Andy’s playlist of his networking tips from A to Z.

http://ivanmisner.com/category/a-to-zs-of-networking/

By knowing why you are networking and what you want to achieve, it is possible to plan accordingly and get great, measurable results. If you have any comments about Andy’s “Q” list or any additional “Q” words about networking you will want to add to the list. please leave me a  “Comment”  below.

Andy Lopata

As a business networking strategist, Andy Lopata works with companies on how to use networking tools to develop their businesses. Networking is not just about sales. Whether for lead generation, breaking down silos internally, recruitment and retention of top staff or developing future leaders, networks and collaboration have a key role to play. Andy works with clients to help recognize that role and put the strategy and skills in place to leverage it.

dog

A Dog With A Bone

In business are you a puppy with a ball or a dog with a bone?

The lesson here is I never give up.

I am absolutely a dog with a bone. I may not be the smartest man in a room or I may not be the most talented man in a room, but I am almost always the most determined man in a room.

Watch this video

When you are in business, you need to be like a dog with a bone. This is a part of what I call the “Ivanisms Series”, all of my personal quotes and phrases and why they have worked for me. Please watch this video to understand what Ivan means.

Excellence is not a single act. It’s a habit.

If you want to be successful, think things through and then act on that like a dog with a bone. Often times, the more successful you are, the more failures you’ve had. If you believe in your objective, keep going. One of the reasons for my success is my persistence, tenacity, and doggedness in dealing with challenges. There are things that I have let go, but when I feel certain when I have great information and feel confident in my vision and my goals, then I am a dog with a bone in my focus in not giving up.

Hyperconnectivity and the Rise of Constant Partial Attention

Hyperconnectivity and the Rise of Constant Partial Attention

Where is your cell phone right now? For many of you, you’re reading this blog post on it. For those who aren’t, it’s probably within arm’s reach. However, we are always connected to our jobs, our families, our outside lives. All thanks to that little ringing device we carry in our pockets and bags. Therefore, this state of hyperconnectivity leaves us often dividing our focus. Rarely are we 100 percent paying attention to any given thing.

Check out this week’s video blog by clicking on the graphic below, or clicking here, to hear what I have to say about this rising phenomenon.

How many times have you been at a networking function and realized that half of the people there are paying more attention to their mobile devices. Therefore, they are not paying attention to the other attendees?  Worse, have you yourself been guilty of staying so glued to your phone or tablet that you have missed the opportunity to make a powerful connection with the person standing right in front of you?

Continuous Partial Attention

We are living in a world that is more connected than ever. There are some definite pitfalls in our hyperconnected world as it intersects with our business relationships and our networking.  One of these pitfalls is that hyperconnectivity can lead to a state of what I call ‘continuous partial attention.’

In this video, I introduce the concept of ‘continuous partial attention’. I also discuss the risks and repercussions which accompany it.  Watch the video now to learn how to avoid falling into a state of continuous partial attention and prevent it from wreaking havoc on your productivity at work and your ability to achieve your goals.

If you have any stories about how falling victim to a state of continuous partial attention has affected you or someone you know, I’d love for you to share your experience in the comments below.  Thanks!

Six Short Lessons On Leadership

Six Short Lessons On Leadership

If you’re a business owner or entrepreneur, you know how challenging it can be to find the path towards leadership that works for you. If you find yourself wondering how to become a leader in business, follow these six short lessons on leadership:

  1. Focus on solutions, not problems

If you focus always on the problem, people will always be coming to you with their problems as a Leader, All too often, when facing a problem, the first thing we tend to do is focus on the negative situation. We continue to repeat our patterns, doing the same things that do not work, until we dwell in a feeling of negativity. Many people let their minds wander toward the negative, which then prompts them to focus on more problems instead of searching for ways to resolve the situation and grow from it. You must begin to start focusing on ways to actually resolve the situation by focusing on solutions. Do not just react, take the time to fully analyze the problem then make a list of possible solutions.

For more on this topic, I recommend the book, “The Solutions Focus” by Mark McKergow

 

  1. Collaborate with your team.

Work with your team together.  My team and I still struggle to agree on certain things when we work together on something, but it’s part of the fun of collaboration. Collaboration thrives when everyone is humble enough to accept what others bring. You have your own strengths as an individual and so does everyone else.

Apply the organizational rules like Mandela, not Atilla! Fascism is not a good leadership style!

 

  1. Be a culture champion.

Walk the talk. Leadership is about using your experience and wisdom to move others in a positive direction; it’s about empowering others by serving as an example. You have to know the culture of your chapter.

What you do, thunders above your head so loudly, I cannot hear the words you speak. Live the core values and walk the talk.

 

  1. Care about the success of others–REALLY care!

Great leaders demonstrate integrity, consistency, compassion, and flexibility. They listen, create safety, focus on the goal and remain flexible in how to achieve the goal. They are unafraid of vulnerability, apologize when they make mistakes, and build deep, lasting relationships.

People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.

 

  1. Contextual intelligence.

Good leaders are a good facilitator. They understand the context of the situation. A leader understands the limits of their knowledge and adapts that knowledge to an environment different from the one in which it was developed.

Do not lead with a cookie cutter approach. You can’t treat all situations or people exactly the same.

 

  1. Adaptive capacity. 

It is important for leaders to develop the contextual intelligence to deal with challenges. This is the ability to adapt to the current situation.  We can never conceive of all the potential problems in any given situation.  This means that one’s ability to adapt is truly an important key to being a great leader. Do your best to understand the landscape and adapt.

However, you cannot plan for every unexpected situation. “What cannot go wrong will go wrong.”

 

Finally, leadership is about accomplishing more than people thought possible. In your business, what are your wildest dreams? What’s your ultimate goal? Never lose that idea and constantly be working towards it.

Givers Gain®

Givers Gain® – The Video

In this video, I share the story of the philosophy of BNI: Givers Gain®. Understanding an important philosophy based on the law of reciprocity can make your networking far more powerful, but only when self applied.

Click on the graphic above, or click here, to see the video!

Givers Gain®

If you bring people into your network who embrace your core value, you will create an amazing network. Incorporating the philosophy of Givers Gain ® into my organization was one of the things that have really set BNI aside from the other networking groups. We have inculcated this core value into the fabric of BNI. Therefore, “Givers Gain ®” became part of the very DNA of the organization. That is incredibly special.

Givers Gain® is a philosophy based on the law of reciprocityIn the context of networking groups, people who adopt this philosophy dedicate themselves to giving business to their fellow networkers rather than making their foremost concern getting business for themselves.  In doing so, other people naturally become eager to repay their kindness by sending them business in return.

12x12x12

So what is the 12x12x12 rule?

In the second edition of our book “Networking like a Pro” I share the 12x12x12 rule and how it makes networking more effective!

1) How do you look from 12 feet away?

LOOK THE PART BEFORE GOING TO THE EVENT

Are you prepared, have you dressed appropriately for the event you are attending? Do you have what you need for the event? Preparing in advance by researching the dress code for the event, knowing what time to turn up and what you need to bring with you can make you much more comfortable about walking into a room. You will be surprised how many people fall short in the fundamental area of appearance. Do not go casual. Instead, consider wearing a good suit or nice outfit.

2) How do you come across from 12 inches away?

MAKE SURE YOUR BODY LANGUAGE SENDS THE RIGHT MESSAGE

Do you still look as prepared? Do you understand the culture of the event you are attending? Are your clothes clean, is your breath fresh? This may not seem important however you don’t want to be the one remembered for not ironing your shirt or having bad breath! When it comes to forming networking relationships, most of the important information is communicated through nonverbal cues. Remember to smile when meeting someone for the first time.

ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING

When meeting someone for the first time, a lot can be said about how much your attitude can impact the first impression. Having a positive attitude is one of the most important characteristics of a great networker. So make sure that when you are talking to others, you have a positive, upbeat attitude. Showing others that you are having a good time will send the right message.

GET YOUR ACT TOGETHER

Can you easily find your business cards? Make sure you look professional at all times, have your business cards to hand when you need them and ensure you know when is the best time to hand over your cards. Just make sure that you have a system for keeping your cards separate from the cards you receive from others at the event.

3) What are the first 12 words out of your mouth?

HAVE YOUR INTRODUCTION READY TO ROLL OFF YOUR TONGUE

This is the most important point. When someone asks you what you do, make sure you are ready with a response that is memorable. Have you thought about what you are going to say to someone else at a networking event because the worst time to think about what you want to say is when you are saying it? Think about concise ways you can get your points across…… what you want to say about your business, your target market, the benefits of your product or service etc. Think about examples of projects you are working on or stories about how you helped clients. Be confident and speak with conviction. Say something that promotes curiosity and engagement without sounding over-rehearsed or contrived. Those 12 words are designed to get people’s attention.

Perception is reality when it comes to meeting people for the first time. So next time you are going to a networking event, hold yourself accountable to follow the 12x12x12 rule. You will go a long way toward creating the right impression. Find out more about this topic in my book, “Networking Like a Pro: Turning Contacts into Connections – Second Edition“. Please go to my website at http://ivanmisner.com/books/ to learn how to purchase any of my books.

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