Lollipop Entrepreneur

Understanding your behavioral style and how it relates to your networking is extremely valuable.  Most importantly, learning how to identify behavioral styles in others and learning how to adapt your own approach to those different styles can really make a difference in your referability.

Often times your behavioral style can be observed at a fairly young age.  When I was 11 years old, I missed the bus to school one day. The school was only a little over two miles away and I had time, so I started walking.

Along the way I passed a gas station that had a small store attached to it. My eye caught some awesome looking lollipops – big, red, strawberry-flavored suckers. They only cost a nickel so I bought four or five of them and headed on to school. A friend saw what I had and asked if he could buy one. I said sure – for a dime. He bought it right away! That day I sold all the lollipops except the one I kept for myself . . . and I saw a great business opportunity.

The next day I walked to school again, this time buying a dozen lollipops. I sold them all before school let out for the day. I did this the next day, and the next . . . for almost a month, very happy with my margin and the money that I was starting to see growing from my lollipop enterprise.

That was my first experience in business, and it was obvious from that early time in my life that I was a “Go-Getter” behavioral style.  I am pleased to share with you that I have just released a new book with co-authors Tony Alessandra (one of the world’s leading experts on behavioral profiles) and Dawn Lyons (probably the world’s leading expert on how behavioral profiles relate to referral marketing).

How has your behavioral approach to networking and referral marketing helped or hurt your efforts.   I’d love to hear your story.

For more information on the newly-released book I mention above, please go to one of the links below.

Room Full of Referrals – Digital Version

Room Full of Referrals – Soft Cover Version

 

Lead from “Among” Not from “Above”

Stewart Emery (Success Built to Last) was over my house a few months ago.  At breakfast one morning he told me about an interview he did with a well-known billionaire in the computer industry.  The billionaire shared an intriguing story with Stewart about an experience he’d had when the senior executives of a company interested in purchasing his company visited his office to discuss the possible purchase.

Stewart Emery

 

At lunch, the billionaire told the senior executives of the company he was negotiating with that he was going to take them to the Executive Dining Room.  They followed him to the dining room which was very nice but not extravagant.  But that wasn’t the big surprise.  The surprise was that the dining room had a buffet line.  Moreover, the billionaire walked up to the buffet line, picked up a tray, and stood in line behind everyone else.  The executives looked around the room as it filled up and they realized that this room was not an “executive dining room” but was the company dining room.  The boss stood there in line with all the employees.  He spoke to everyone.   No one was afraid to talk to him.  In my opinion, he didn’t lead by being above them; he led by being among them.  Stewart told me that the billionaire said the management team was surprised by the fact that he and all the executives ate with all the employees.  One of them commented that this would have to change.  For the boss, it was a test.  This was not the kind of company that he wanted to sell his business to.  The negotiation ended that day.

Companies have a choice.  They can move toward exclusivity in their organizational culture or they can strive, commit, honor, and embrace inclusivity in their organizational culture.

Sometimes when people meet me, they say that they are surprised that I am approachable.   I find that interesting.  I think they feel this way because sometimes we, as leaders, act in a way that people perceive as unapproachable.  We act “better than” to other people.  I believe people should be surprised when a leader is unapproachable, not when they are approachable.  The problem is that we live in a world where success sometimes creates a sense of separation (with both the organizational leaders and others).  One of the key things to embrace in a successful company is the sense that the boss, the owner, the senior executive(s) are, in fact, approachable.

What are your thoughts on this matter?  Please feel free to share any relevant stories and experiences you may have.

International Networking Week Video 2013

The new video for International Networking Week® 2013 has just been released!

This short, 11-minute video, sponsored by the Referral Institute, explains how the week of February 4th-8th, 2013 will bring about great opportunities for businesspeople around the world and increase worldwide awareness about the powerful benefits of business networking. International Networking Week® 2013

2013 will mark the 7th annual celebration of International Networking Week which is now recognized by many countries across the globe, with thousands of events being held during the week. One of the main goals of the week is to help businesspeople everywhere build their networking skills and expand the opportunities within their reach.  In the video, my “Room Full of Referrals” co-authors (Tony Alessandra and Dawn Lyons) offer some very valuable pointers on understanding behavioral profiles in a networking context and where to focus your efforts in order to make the most of International Networking Week.

Take a few minutes to watch the video and share with us here on the blog what you learned.

Mega Partnering VI Event

I am excited to announce that I will be presenting at the Mega Partnering VI conference (www.MegaPartnering6.com) this year which is taking place in Los Angeles, CA from November 29-December 2.

The event is run by the J.T. Foxx Organization (www.JTFoxx.com) and J.T., whom I’ve gotten to know over the past couple of years, has invited me to give a presentation on how to achieve success through networking.

J.T. (pictured with me below) has a very interesting story as he started investing with nothing more than a rusted-out Ford pick-up truck, $974.00, and one cheap suit.  Now, six years later, he is a serial entrepreneur who has started several multi-million dollar companies internationally and he has become one of the world’s top wealth coaches and a sought after motivational speaker–all this he has done through mastering the art of partnering, branding, networking, and marketing.

Mega Partnering is an independent international organization J.T. Foxx created after watching a 60 Minutes episode  about Davos, applying, and getting turned down when he tried to start his own business.  Not willing to accept rejection, J.T. decided to create his own opportunities for small businesses and he called it “MegaPartnering.”

The conference has since grown to include small entrepreneurs from all over the world and it raises money for charitable initiatives, keeping with the philosophy, “Learn, Earn, Return.”  Mega Partnering attendees have included Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, Stedman Graham, and more.

There will be several accomplished entrepreneurs at this year’s event–many of them giving presentations– including Michael Eisner, Kathy Ireland, Eric Trump, John Assaraf, Raymond Aaron, and Mark Victor Hansen, among others.

If you are interested in registering to attend the event or learning more about it or about J.T.,  please CLICK HERE to visit the Mega Partnering website.  I hope to see you at the event in November!

 

 

I’m “a Communist” . . . Really?

I wrote an article on Entrepreneur.com last week entitled “Why Everyone Should talk About Politics While Networking” and in my opening line I state, “Yes, I believe everyone should talk about politics (and religion) while networking . . . if they’d like their network to go up in flames, that is!”

Though I may have been very active in politics over the years and I do, indeed, have a definite religious/spiritual leaning, I have found that it is undoubtedly best not to mix my views/beliefs in these areas with my business networking activities because these topics can be VERY divisive.  Opening up a dialogue of a political or spiritual/religious nature with those in your network tends to be something that will more than likely invoke passionate, heated arguments which is NOT a good thing for a networking environment (take a look at the full article for my complete commentary and explanation). 

Soon after the Entrepreneur.com article came out, someone left a comment in the comment forum beneath the article that I found quite surprising.  The comment they posted says:

“This guy Ivan Misner sure sounds like a Communist to me.  If it walks like a duck . . .”

Really?  I’m “a Communist” because I said that people who want to be successful at networking should not talk about politics and religion in a business networking environment?  Okay, well, I guess I should really thank the person who posted the comment because they’re ultimately helping to make my point.  Discussions about politics and religion can make people say some crazy things.

By the way, here’s how I responded to the comment:

“Too funny.  You clearly don’t know me. Besides, a true Marxist-Leninist would be out leading the proletariat revolution of the capitalists and I’m too busy being a capitalist.”

Hey, I always had a hunch my Political Science degree would come in handy someday yet I never would’ve imagined it would be through someone calling me “a Communist,” that’s for sure. 😉

What’s your feeling on the appropriateness of discussing politics and/or religion in a business networking environment?  Have you tried it yourself, or maybe networked with someone who makes a habit of bringing up these subjects when you’re conversing while networking?  What has your experience been? . . . I highly encourage you to leave a comment; I’m very interested in hearing some different perspectives on this. Thanks!

Audit Your Activities — “Navigating the VCP Process(R) to Networking” Series

TR Garland (pictured with me in the photo below) is a friend of mine and co-author of one of my most recent #1 best-selling books called “Building The Ultimate Network.”  He’s also considered a top trainer for the Referral Institute. 

For some time now, we’ve both observed a need to drill down on one of the most important and foundational concepts to networking – The VCP Process®.  Five months ago, we started a much-anticipated 12-part monthly series of blog posts which addresses this and contains some very timely information for networkers across the globe.  Today, we’re proud to share with you Part 5 of the series.  Enjoy.

 

AUDIT YOUR ACTIVITIES
(Part 5 of 12 of the “Navigating The VCP Process® To Networking” Series)

In Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 , and Part 4 of this series, we introduced and re-introduced the concept and steps of The VCP Process® to Networking for our readers through brief anecdotes, relevant comparisons, and sometimes even humorous situations.

Today, we’d like to share with you one laser-focused Power Habit that you can use on a weekly basis to increase the number of referrals you receive. And, that Power Habit is based upon the following underlying Success PrincipleIt’s not always about the ACT of the ACTIVITIES that one should focus on. It’s the ANALYSIS of those ACTIVITIES that produces your greatest results.

A close friend of ours, Jim Cathcart (www.Cathcart.com), is listed in the professional Speaker Hall of Fame and is a very well-known author and speaker on the topic of Sales.  In fact, for 3 years in a row Jim has been selected as one of the Top 5 Speakers on Sales & Service.  So, I guess what we’re saying is that we believe “Jim knows his stuff!”  And in a recent conversation, he said: “Things that are measured tend to improve.”

It got us thinking that nothing could be truer, especially in the process of getting referrals.  Many networkers actually become Referral Institute clients because they want the trainers to hold them accountable for their weekly actions so that they get improved results.  We actually steer them towards an amazing online referral tracking tool called Relate2Profit (www.Relate2Profit.com) to help them hold themselves accountable.  But for today’s conversation, let’s take baby steps.  Let’s talk about something you can do with tools you already have at your disposal…a pen and your Daily Planner.

Our focus is measuring your weekly activities and how they relate to moving people in your network through The VCP Process® all the way from Visibility through Credibility to Profitability.

Here are the recommended steps:

  • First thing every Monday morning block off 5 minutes.
  • Write down the names of 5 people who you want passing you steady referrals.
  • Next, in your Daily Planner block off a 2 minute segment of time for each of the 5 days of the week.
  • Then, during each of those separate 2 minute segments choose 1 of the 5 people who you want passing you steady referrals.
  • Finally, TAKE ACTION by doing something to help YOU move that person (who YOU chose) through The VCP Process® to networking on your behalf.

For example, if you are only at Visibility with 1 of those 5 people, what can you do in those 2 minutes to help you move to Credibility with them?  Or, if you are only at Credibility with 1 of those 5 people, what can you do in those 2 minutes to help you move to Profitability with them?

At a loss for ideas on what you can do in 2 minutes to help compel someone to pass you referrals?  Here’s a brief list of activities that you might want to consider:

  • Search the web for an article relevant to their professional (or personal) goals and email it to them.
  • Go to their Facebook timeline or LinkedIn profile and comment on one of their recent posts to show that you care about what they care about.
  • Send them an email acknowledging that you’re aware of who an ideal client is for them…and let them know you’ll continue to be on the lookout.
  • Call them up and invite them to accompany you on a meeting you already have scheduled with a prospective client of yours.

As noted above, this is a recommended series of actions that we suggest you implement on a weekly basis.  If you do, the COMPOUND EFFECT of these weekly Power Habits will deliver you massive results in the medium and long term with your business relationships.

If this seems too simplistic to you right now, please take special note of the following.  In a recent survey over a 12 week period, when asked if they REGULARLY dedicated just 2 minutes for each of the 5 days of the week to perform ANY of the above recommended actions towards staying “top of mind” with prospective Referral Sources…less than 50% of the respondents reported that they did not.

This means that people have identified key Contact Sphere Professionals who should be passing them referrals.  BUT, they go weeks and weeks without performing small actions to compel these people to pass them referrals or even to stay top of mind!

Where would you fit into this survey?

In closing, we’d like to recommend you consider that the above Power Habit that can be performed is actually only 15 minutes of your work week.  If you work a standard 40 hour week, it’s less than 1% of your time investment for that week.  We believe that there should be no excuse for not dedicating 1% of your work week to “staying top of mind” with prospective Referral Sources.  Do you agree? 

We thank you for reading today’s post and extend an invitation to be on the lookout for next month’s contribution to this series – Part 6 called “The ABC’s of Business Networking”.

What Does ‘Overnight Success’ Mean to You?

[tube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pfv-fmNBLek[/tube]

During the course of the past two decades, I have had the privilege and honor of giving many keynote presentations and participating as a featured speaker at events across the world.  I have a great passion for public speaking and I feel very fortunate that organizations and associations continue to invite me to present at events internationally.

As a speaker, it is important to have a speaker’s reel video to send out to organizations who are considering you as a presenter at an upcoming event.  I recently enlisted Marrick Production Services to create my new speaker’s reel (click on the play arrow above to view it) and during the production process, I got to thinking about the different speaking engagements I’ve done and it struck me how many times I’ve heard people marvel at how amazing it is that I achieved such remarkable ‘overnight success.’

Every time someone says this to me, I reply with a chuckle and something along the lines of: “Yeah, it’s great . . . and it only took over two decades of hard work.”
😉

The thing is, I’m not sure there really is such a thing as overnight success. I know it happens in the movies quite often but, throughout my years of traveling and networking,  I have yet to cross paths with someone who achieved any kind of significant success without putting forth a great deal of hard work and dedication (speaking of hard work and dedication, a BIG thank you goes out to Mark Ellensohn and Chris Higgins for the hard work and dedication they put into creating this video for me!).

I’d really like to get some feedback on this–what does ‘overnight success’ mean to you?  Do you think a person can truly achieve overnight success, or do you think that the road to ‘overnight success’ is a long one that’s paved with plenty of effort and discipline?

Leave your comments and let’s get a discussion going! If you or someone you personally know is living, breathing evidence of overnight success, I’m particularly interested in that story (sometimes being proven wrong can make for very interesting content in speeches!). And, by all means, I’d also love to hear what you think of my new speaker’s reel!

BizPer Social Media Marketing

I met Starr Hall at an Entrepreneur Magazine Conference that we both spoke at last year and she did a really impressive presentation on social media marketing.

One of the things she discussed was the concept of “BizPer” Social Media Marketing. She said that about half of your social media posts should be about business and about half should be personal.

I love the concept but, I’m not sure I’m comfortable with the percentage.  I definitely believe that people want to see a little of me as a person via my social media – but, I don’t think that half the posts I do should be fully personal.  Granted, I think that a business message about a personal experience is very good – but, that is still business – not personal.

So, here’s my question to you:  What do you think the best BizPer split  (business focus vs. personal focus) for someone in business to use as a gauge for their social media posts would be?  50/50? 60/40? 70/30? 80/20???

Something else?  How much of your social media (in the context of a business person) should be devoted to personal postings? I’d really like to hear your thoughts on this . . .

How’s Business For You in 2011?

BNIBusinessIndex.com has had a facelift.  Check out the new site.

This is a website that gauges the pulse of entrepreneurs from all around the world through a very simple quarterly survey.  If you have a few minutes, look at the site and take the current survey.  It only takes a couple minutes (really)!

To take the current survey, CLICK HERE.  Note – you can get a FREE copy of one of my books (some rules apply) by taking the survey.

When you check out the site, please leave a comment here about what you think of the results from last quarter and how you think the results for this quarter might change from last quarter’s results.

Michael Gerber’s Key to Business Growth: “Working on It”

[tube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cZInadxrKQ0[/tube]

In this video, my friend, The E-Myth author Michael Gerber, talks about his new website — www.WorkingOnIt.com — which is devoted to helping entrepreneurs grow business and achieve success.

I wanted to spread the news about this great educational resource because I am a firm believer in Michael’s strategies and philosophies for business growth.  I built my networking organization around some of the key philosophies that Michael wrote about in The E-Myth and I know that is a large part of why my business has grown globally into what it is today.

So, after you watch this short video clip, be sure to check out Michael’s new website and then, if you have a minute, please come back and leave a comment to let me know what you think.

PLEASE NOTE:  Although Michael’s new website, www.WorkingOnIt.com, makes mention of BNI and addresses “BNI friends,” the website and the educational information and offers it contains are open to absolutely everyone–including BusinessNetworking.com blog readers and the general public as a whole.

Recognizing ‘Innovativity’

This is the final guest blog in the three-part series featuring Frank DeRaffele’s article, “Creativity vs. ‘Innovativity.'” To read the beginning and the middle of the article, please CLICK HERE for Part 1 and CLICK HERE for Part 2.

“Creativity vs. ‘Innovativity'” by Frank J. DeRaffele Jr. ( . . . Continued)

Recognizing ‘Innovativity’

Innovation in our businesses is extremely important. New ideas help us to run our businesses more efficiently, market more effectively, sell with greater success, satisfy customers at higher levels and lead us to greater overall results–if we have a method to put them in place and the discipline to follow through with them.  Innovation gives us competitive advantage in many cases.  We just need to make sure we are not being deceived; we need to understand how to recognize the difference between Innovation and its evil twin, Creativity.

Quick steps to recognize  ‘Innovativity’ over Creativity in a great new idea:

1. Know what your current problem is and what you want as the end result in solving that problem.

2. Confirm that your new idea will help solve that problem DIRECTLY.  Don’t justify that it is a distant cause and effect relationship (e.g., “If I bring in a new target market they will buy more and I will increase my average dollar transaction.” — This simply justifies a non-direct creative idea).

3. It can be executed simply.  The best solutions usually are not complex.  Many times, the most complex problems have simple solutions.  As a Small Business Entrepreneur (SBE), it is rare that you have a complex problem.  It may be inconvenient, bad timing, a pain, or unexpected, but rarely so complex that it takes a complex solution.  Most very effective innovations are simple solutions.

My last words of advice on this topic: Don’t stop being creative!  Always be creative, just know how to use your creativity in the most effective and profitable manner.  Make your creativity spark your innovations so you may continue to build a very profitable and sustaining business.

This wraps up the final part of Frank’s article, “Creativity vs. ‘Innovativity'” and I hope you have all found it to be as enjoyable and beneficial as I found it to be.  Any comments you leave about the article, I’ll be sure to pass on to Frank so please don’t be shy–tell us what you think!

The ‘Profitability Ninja’ & The ‘Samurai of Innovation’

Last week I posted the first part of a series of guest blogs sharing the article “Creativity vs. ‘Innovativity'” by Frank DeRaffele.  Below is the continuation of where the article left off last week.

“Creativity vs. ‘Innovativity'” by Frank J. DeRaffele Jr. ( . . . Continued — CLICK here to read Part 1)

So how do we save ourselves from this Ninja?  Enter the Samurai of Innovation. This Innovative Samurai (dressed in white, by the way) cuts through the creativity and reveals Innovative Thought, Innovative Ideas, Innovative Profitability.

Innovation is the good twin of creativity.  Innovation is creativity with focused and applied business value.  It knows how to see, analyze, evaluate, measure, and decide if this creative thought is able to become Business Innovation or if it will stay as Creative Waste.

As creativity is both a strength and a weakness to us as small business entrepreneurs, we must learn and develop the skill of how to take our creative thoughts and see if they can become innovative bottom line value.

A creative thought may be a wonderful idea but it has no direct relation to a solution.  Not that it is not of value, because it may have great value, but it may not be of value NOW.  When it is not of direct value, we open the gate for our Profitability Ninja to enter.  The question is, how do we define value? In its most simple form, we can answer this question by asking — Does this creative idea relate directly to a current problem that we have and will it help us solve the problem in the way we would like?

For example, let’s say you own a retail store.  You measure your success by the number of transactions you do on a daily basis and by the dollar volume of each transaction.  Currently you are very happy with the number of transactions but you would like to increase your average dollar per transaction.  Most customers that purchase from you spend an average of $55.00 (USD) per transaction.  You would really like to get that number up to $65.00 (USD) per transaction.  This means we need to look at up-selling, cross-selling, and the packaging of products.  As you start to think about this, you come across an idea of a great new way to do a direct mail piece to a new target market.  You know that if this new direct mail piece works, you will attract a new client base to your store.  This new client base is exciting because you haven’t focused on new target markets for quite a while and by expanding into . . . WAIT A MINUTE! What does this have to do with increasing your average dollar per transaction?!  The answer is . . . NOTHING.

What just happened here?  Yes, it was the Profitability Ninja. He snuck in and started you thinking down a new path.  He got you to come up with a great new idea and while getting excited about that idea, he made you forget that your real problem is Average $/Transaction . . . NOT Number of Transactions.  Do you see what I mean?  This new idea may not be a bad idea–in fact, it may be a good idea . . . however, it is not helping to solve the current problem at hand.  By not keeping your focus on Direct Resolutions to your problem, your profits will go into the red.

Come back next week to read the final installment of Franks article, “Creativity vs. ‘Innovativity,” and learn how to recognize ‘innovativity’ to maximize benefits from creativity and help your business soar. As always, if you have a comment to share, I’d love to read it so please leave your thoughts in the comment section.

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