Entrepreneur Archives - Page 8 of 10 - Dr. Ivan Misner®

Networking Lessons From Nature

Recently, when visiting our favorite Napa Valley winery, Chateau Montelena, my wife and I decided to take a tour of the agricultural side of the operation.  The vintner shared with us the technique the winery uses to ensure the quality of the juice from the grapes year after year after year regardless of the climate–a technique known as “dry farming.”

As he explained the benefits of dry farming, I began to see a business metaphor emerging for how referral marketing works for those businesses that understand doing business by referral.

When vineyards are dry farmed, they are not irrigated, dry season or rainy.  As a result, the roots of the vines must grow deep to get to the year-round underground supply of water, no matter the climate.  This reminds me of how we teach business owners to develop deep-water relationships between themselves so that they can support growth no matter the climate–the economic climate.

Doing business by referral truly is not about getting rich quick.  We want to be able to produce a bumper crop of referrals year after year after year regardless of the climate.

That is the gift of dry farming:  the stability of the juice’s quality.  Just like the dependability of Chateau Montelena’s wine, we feel that deep-water relationships ensure a dependability in our own business stability unavailable to the average business owner.

There is another metaphor from nature that helps to illustrate the strength of doing business by referral–that is the story of the giant redwood trees in Northern California.

The giant redwoods average a height of 85 meters or 250 feet!  You’d think that with such an amazing height they would also have a deep, deep root system.  But they don’t.  They actually have a fairly shallow root system, much like our California eucalyptus trees.  The California eucalyptus trees tend to blow over easily in heavy winds, but not the giant redwoods.

You see, the giant redwoods also use an amazing technique to remain upright when those around them fall.  They intertwine  their roots with the roots of their neighbor, thereby supporting one another when the winds come.  When one is under the direct pressure of the wind, the others help to hold it in place, not allowing it to succumb to the destructive forces of that wind.

Relationship marketing puts you in a similar position as those giant redwoods.  When you learn the intricacies of doing business by referral, you begin to metaphorically intertwine your roots with the roots of those with whom you are networking.  When the economy pressures one member, the others help hold him in place!

This is why networking and relationship marketing are so important–especially in a tough economy.

Entrepreneurial Excellence Dream Team

Frank DeRaffele Jr., host of the Entrepreneurial Excellence radio show, has been a good friend of mine for years and his show is a great tool for entrepreneurs everywhere.  He recently brought on a “dream team” of CEOs, authors, coaches and consultants to join his show to help the small business entrepreneur, and I am privileged to have been asked to be a part of the team.

frankderaffelelogo.gif

I’ve spent the past 25 years of my life helping small-business entrepreneurs grow their businesses through the referral process, and I think Frank’s show and the dream team are incredible resources for the business owner.  I am honored to be on the team with Ken Blanchard, Michael E. Gerber, Larry Winget, Marci Shimoff and Jay Conrad Levinson.

The purpose of the Entrepreneurial Excellence show is to provide a free resource of information and education for the small-business entrepreneur who is always looking for ways to improve.  You can listen to the show live or listen to its archived episodes by visiting EERadioShow.com.

Let me know what you think of the show.  Frank is a regular reader of this column.

I’ll Have an ‘Entrepreneur on Ice,’ Please

dsc04691.JPGI just spent time in Kiruna, Sweden–home of the legendary ICEHOTEL and Ice Bar.  It was an amazing experience that I recommend to everyone. A large portion of the hotel facility is completely made of ice. Although there are normal hotel rooms at this location for the faint of heart, the truly brave live big and stay in the amazing “ice accommodations.” This portion of the hotel is a completely different set of buildings and has about 90 rooms along with a truly unique Ice Bar (seen here to the right). The ICEHOTEL and Ice Bar are both completely made of ice (including the tables, chairs and,  yes, even the drinking glasses).

The beds at the ICEHOTEL are made of ice with a small foam mattress and reindeer hides covering them (see below).  They are actually fairly comfortable and, with the high-quality sleeping bags, the room is fairly warm despite the fact that it is minus 5 degrees Celsius (23 degrees Fahrenheit) inside the hotel and 22 Celsius (minus 8 degrees Fahrenheit) outside.

dsc04678.JPGI had the opportunity to meet one of the co-founders of the Hotel and Bar, Kerstin Nilsson. Kerstin and husband Yngve Bergvist started the hotel in 1990 when they did a small exhibition of art in a custom-made igloo on the frozen Torne River, which is adjacent to the hotel.  It turns out that one night a group of foreign guests, equipped with reindeer hides and sleeping bags, thought it would be a good idea to use the cylindrical-shaped igloo as accommodations.  The next morning the group raved about the unique experience of sleeping in an igloo, and the ICEHOTEL was born.

The hotel and bar have since become famous for their unique concept and famous works of ice art.  Even the chandeliers are made of ice, as seen in the last photo below.  The entire hotel, bar and art all melt away each spring and are re-created with a new design each November.

The conversation I had with Kerstin was interesting. They have partnered with Absolut Vodka and have now franchised the idea of the Ice Bar with locations in Stockholm, London, Tokyo and Copenhagen, in addition to the original. They are planning on many more locations but have not released them as of yet. I told her that if they open one in Los Angeles, I am soooo there!dsc04700.JPG

The ICEHOTEL and Ice Bar are a classic case of how creative entrepreneurship works.  A small hotel in a VERY far-away portion of a country comes up with a little idea (an exhibition hall made of ice) to help build its business. This idea (with a lot of hard work) turns into a hotel and bar. The bar spins off into a worldwide franchise co-developed by a major Vodka company–and a small business becomes an international one. I love the creativity of entrepreneurship.

You can see more photos of my visit to the ICEHOTEL and Ice Bar by going to my FaceBook page.  You can also see more about the hotel and bar by going directly to the website at ICEHOTEL.com.

 

‘Legends in Excellence–The Series’

legendsadmisner2_300×250.jpgMy long-time friend Annie Armen, better known as “The Hurricane” on Annie Armen LIVE Talk Radio, has just come out with a great new CD called “Legends in Excellence–The Series,” which features 20 of the world’s top authorities on success.

Annie took hundreds of hours of recorded interviews she’s done over the past decade with people such as Zig Ziglar, Stephen M.R. Covey, Denis Waitley, John Demartini of The Secret and yours truly (just to name a few), and she edited all that content down into 15 hours of powerful advice on how to create real wealth, achieve greater success and find opportunity no matter what the economy is doing.

CLICK HERE to get more information and to purchase the CD.

When you visit the web page above, if you scroll down you can also listen to a five-minute sampler track by clicking on the blue-and-white play button above the words “Listen While You Read.”

If you listen to the sampler track, feel free to come back and leave a comment about what you thought of it.

Make a Referral Week (March 9-13, 2009)

johnjantschlogo.gifAs I’ve said time and time again, I firmly believe that the way to survive and thrive in an economic downturn is to ignore the doom-and-gloom headlines and focus instead on what you can do to grow your business despite fluctuations in the economy.

That’s why I’m hoping all of you will join me in participating in Make a Referral Week, which is a campaign inviting everyone around the globe to make 1,000 referrals during the week of March 9-13.  It’s an entrepreneurial approach to stimulating the small-business economy–one referred business at a time.

The goal of generating 1,000 referrals to 1,000 deserving small businesses highlights the idea that by taking one simple action and generating one referral to a small business, you really can make a difference and help jumpstart the economy.  Small business is the lifeblood and job-creating engine of the economy, and if we all pledge to make one referral, we could possibly generate millions of dollars in new business.

The weeklong, virtual event also features daily education programs focused on teaching small-business owners and other marketers how to tap the power of referral marketing. I’ll be featured, along with my friends Bob Burg and Bill Cates, on Tuesday, March 10.

Click here to learn more and join the campaign.

If you do join me in participating next week, I’d love to hear back from you about the referral(s) you generated.

Social Capital Taught in College?

UniversityOfLaVerne

About a year ago, I posted a blog called:  “Networking, a Soft Science? Only to College Professors!”  OK, I’ll admit it–I was on a rant about how we don’t teach networking in colleges or universities.  But in my defense, there were many, many, people who identified with this frustration according to the numerous comments posted on that blog.

Today, I’m here to tell you that there may actually be a change on the horizon.  Yes, a university dean who believes that social capital is a relevant topic in business.  “Not possible,” you say?  Well, that’s what I thought, too, until I met Ibrahim Helou, the new dean of the School of Business & Public Management at the University of LaVerne.

Ibrahim "Abe" Helou

Ibrahim “Abe” Helou

As crazy as this may sound, he actually believes that emotional intelligence and social capital are relevant topics to cover in business school.  To make this even more amazing, Helou’s background is in accounting and finance. Wow, I don’t know what to say. This just shakes up my whole world view about academia.

According to Helou, business should focus on issues relating to long-term organizational sustainability.  He says that the “three pillars” of organizational sustainability are: people, planet and prosperity.

The “people” part includes long-term employment, social capital and empowerment.  The planet involves social and ethical responsibility and prosperity is about the long-term financial success of the organization.

Did you notice that “long-term” is a recurring theme here?  I did.  He believes that there has been an overemphasis on short-term profits to address monthly or quarterly revenue reporting in corporations.  This short-term view has helped lead us into some of the current financial issues we are experiencing today.

Well, Dr. Helou, I’m impressed, especially with your interest in social capital and emotional intelligence.  Now all you need to do is convince the faculty.  Let me know how that works out for you.  🙂

The Culture of Entrepreneurism

I just attended the BNI International Conference in Southern California.  There were almost 1,000 people from 40 countries around the world at the event.  It looked like a meeting at the United Nations with people from different countries and different accents all meeting for several days.  It was amazing to watch business people from various cultures working together to network and build each other’s businesses despite their differences.

It was appropriate that Brian Tracy was a keynote speaker at this event because he and I spoke about the subject of cultural differences and doing business a few years ago.  We had lunch in San Diego and I asked him if he changed his material when he did seminars in other countries.  He said that he didn’t.  He said that entrepreneurs want to do things more efficiently or more effectively.  If you can show them how to achieve either of those, the cultural issues are not as big a factor as many might believe.

This made me start to think about why structured networking programs work so well and in so many countries.  It occurred to me that there is a “culture of entrepreneurism” that in many ways transcends other cultural issues.  The core of this process is the importance of trust.  When people get to know and trust each other, that factor supersedes many cultural factors. 

Different people, different places; different countries, different cultures; different races, different religions, we all want to do business with people we trust.  While there may be many other things to divide us and separate us, we all speak the language of referrals.

Capture Your Success Stories

Many of us are taught as children that we should refrain from bragging about our successes. But there’s a caveat to those rules that our parents usually didn’t teach us: The rules apply to our individual, personal lives–not our businesses.

Success stories about businesses and entrepreneurs are vital for those of us dedicated to learning all we can in order to make our own enterprises as successful as possible.  What’s more, having your own success stories heard could bring you opportunities to network your business far beyond the playing field of the typical networking arena.

Here are four approaches to capturing your success stories:

1.  Ask for written testimonials: Get satisfied customers or colleagues to write letters on their own letterhead to spotlight their positive experience with you and your business.

2.  Write down two success stories: Highlight your successes to help your network understand who best represents your preferred client.  These stories should clearly emphasize what you do better than anyone else.

3.  Write a personal introduction: Provide your network with material they can use when talking about you and your business with people who fit your preferred client profile.  You don’t want your sales force making stuff up about you, right?  This simplifies their task and ensures accuracy.

4.  Toot your own horn: Tell people about the good things your business does.  This isn’t about crowing over your amazing golf handicap or complimenting your own fine taste in silk ties.  It’s about spotlighting your business’s strengths, as well as its legitimate good works in the community.

Love

Do What You Love And You’ll Love What You Do

As an adjunct university professor for almost 20 years, I would often have students say to me, “What kind of business or profession should I consider going into right now?”  I would respond by asking them, “What do you like to do?  What do you really enjoy?” They’d respond by saying something like . . . “No, no, you don’t understand, I’m asking what I should do?” And I’d reply back by saying . . . “No, you don’t understand, what do you love to do?  What are you really interested in?”

They’d look back at me, obviously perplexed, and stutter out something about trying to figure out what a good profession to go into would be or what kind of business they should start. I would proceed to explain to them that you can’t achieve sustained success over time without doing something you love.  Therefore, they should think about what they really enjoy doing and look for opportunities in those areas.  

According to the NFIB (the National Federation of Independent Business), it’s estimated that 60 percent of all businesses started in the late ’90s “were based on hobbies or personal interests.” More and more you see people turning their dreams into their livelihood.

I saw a great example of this in action when I attended a fundraiser for Azusa Pacific University over the weekend.  During the evening, the program highlighted a graduate from the physics department. His name is Steven Moser. He graduated in 2001 from the university. After graduation, he worked at NASA’s JPL in Pasadena.  While Moser was working at JPL, a close family member died in a tragic accident. Moser and his wife (who also had a very successful career) evaluated their lives and decided to make a major change. They chose to pursue a hobby they had had for some time, making all-natural body care products and turning it into a full-time business. This would enable them to work from home, spend time with the family and do what they really love.

Steven’s company is called Anti-Body. It not only offers all-natural body-care products, but it also promotes global fair trade. It sources all its raw materials directly from workers in developing countries, creating sustainability for those that might be exploited in most markets.

This is a great example of doing what you love and loving what you do. Moser changed the course of his life to do what he loves.  His business seems to be thriving, and he definitely loves what he is doing.

I understand that loving what you do is no guarantee that you’ll be successful. However, I am equally confident that if you’re not happy at what you’re doing, you can never achieve any sustainable success over time. So if you’re thinking about starting your own business, do what I used to tell my children when they couldn’t figure out what ice cream they wanted to eat. Stick your tongue out. Wave it around. What does it feel like? Pick something you really want. You’ll be happier (and I’m not talking just about ice cream).

I Refuse to Participate in a Recession–Now More Than Ever!

I’ve written a few articles about refusing to participate in a recession and I recently had someone e-mail me saying, “Don’t bother telling me . . . tell my customers. They are not as willing to accept a platitude as you feel I am.” (Ouch, I guess he didn’t like my thoughts on this matter.)

Well sir, I’m afraid we’ll just have to agree . . . to disagree. You see, I don’t think it’s a platitude, I think it’s an attitude!

Today’s news is full of economic soap operas. In the United States, Congress, the White House and the pundits have all debated about the bailout of yet another pillar of corporate America. European nations and others around the globe are struggling with recessionary pressures. Voices everywhere seem to be spouting economic doom and gloom.

Now, please, lean in close and listen carefully. I’m going to ask you to do something very difficult, yet very important: Ignore all those doom-and-gloom voices.

It’s not that I want to deny reality. Nor am I even judging whether all those important voices are right or wrong.

What I am saying is, all those voices are sending you useless information. Not only are they urging you to be afraid . . . very afraid . . . they are completely ignoring the solutions on which you need to focus. Nothing like freezing a good entrepreneur in his or her tracks with old-fashioned fear.

When Franklin Roosevelt wisely said during America’s depression that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself . . . he left something out. When you are in business, at any time in any nation, the other thing you have to fear is: inaction. Not very poetic, I know, but it’s true.

Let others worry about the macro-economic picture. You have a micro-economy in which you are a vital and central player. Does the government or an economist know the ins and outs of your business better than you? Have you received any calls lately offering to bail you out with taxpayer money if your business slides to the brink of ruin? I’m guessing the answer is “no” to both questions.

You already know this in your gut: No bailout is coming your way . . . unless you do it yourself. No rescue plan is being prepared for your business . . . unless you do it yourself. And no solutions to your problems will be developed . . . unless you do it yourself.

The more you focus on fear, the more afraid you will become. The more you focus on obstacles, the larger they will loom. And the more you focus on today’s global economic doom-and-gloom headlines, the less time, energy and faith you’ll have to focus on building the prosperous, successful, well-networked business you really want.

If you tell yourself, “I can’t succeed in this economic downturn,” you’ll very likely prove yourself correct. But if, instead, you focus on specific solutions to the particular issues, challenges and opportunities of your business, your niche market, your current and prospective customers . . . you are very likely to enjoy more success than all the naysayers put together would have predicted.

What the bigwigs on Wall Street, Pennsylvania Avenue, the London Financial district or the European Central Bank don’t seem to understand is, out here in the real world of entrepreneurial small business, by sticking together and helping one another, we can face down the doom and gloom. We can build our businesses despite the headlines, and we can show others around the world the economic power of persistent, skillful and focused networking.

Join me and the many other successful businesspeople. Become someone who sees opportunities when others see problems, become someone who seeks growth when others expect collapse, and be someone who sees success when others see failure.

I refuse to participate in a recession, now more than ever!

I Refuse to Participate in a Recession (Part 2)

Recessions come and go. Statistically, we have one every six years or so. This recession is a serious one. I get that. I also believe that the people who look for opportunities when times are tough will not only survive, they will thrive. I’ve been in business long enough to see it over and over again.

Given the recent developments with the U.S. economy, I thought I would refer my readership to a blog that I wrote back in April of this year, along with a link it to a telebridge recording that was recently done by a friend of mine, John Assaraf, CEO of OneCoach and author of “The Answer.”

Be a “thriver” not just a “survivor” in this recession.

Read my article from April: I Refuse to Participate in a Recession (Part 1)

Then, listen to John’s free telebridge recording: Thriving in a Recession–“What To Do Now.” The first two-thirds of this free call is all about staying focused on success while everyone else is panicking about the economy.

When you are all done, join us in “refusing to participate in the recession!”

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
1 6 7 8 9 10
   Follow Me

Get every new post delivered to your inbox