Entrepreneur Archives - Dr. Ivan Misner®
MISNER AUDIO PROGRAMS

MISNER AUDIO PROGRAMS

I wanted to spotlight different audios from my legacy audio library available on MISNER AUDIO PROGRAMS. These professionally produced audios cover a wide variety of topics that can help you refresh and re-energize; get a new perception – be exposed to or reminded of new skills, ideas, and techniques.

One of the interesting things about audio learning and one reason I created the BNI podcasts is that so many members tell me that they can do other things while they learn-allowing them to learn more and more often. And an even more interesting audio learning research fact for you – is that retention is much higher in audio learning then video -so it’s the best of both worlds; convenience and effectiveness.

Networking and Word of Mouth.

I believe word of mouth is a basic skill for success in any life. I first introduced this concept to the world through BNI and it is even more fundamental now 30 years later as the pendulum swings from all the social media back to the interpersonal relationships that are the baseline of successful referrals. These audios available through www.misneraudioprograms focus not only on the basics but much much more. Many people have commented to me that having these audios to listen to educate, refresh and inspire. I’ve said this often, and it is still true, they do not teach this in college. Audios are a great way to learn it. BNI is the way to experience it!

BNI Networking Secrets

Understand the time confidence curve for your business and its impact. Do you know how it underlies every interaction you have and how knowing this information guides you in building your word of mouth and what to do when. Avoid scorched earth interactions-move at the pace of the curve for you and your client.

Knowing your target market is critical. Learn why being laser specific is so important. Target market is the key to only being referred to those people you want to do business with. And, once you know your Target Market, finding your Contact Sphere will take your business to the next level in a shorter amount of time then you might realize. These two business models will change the way you look at your business and your referral streams.

Entrepreneurs and Everyday Leaders

I always tell people – belong to several networking groups. Learn WHY diversifying your networking experience will be important to you and which organizations will offer what to your business. Whether you are in BNI and want to brush up on the fundamentals and maximize your experience or you are thinking about adding these skill sets to your business tool kit and exploring networking as an additional aspect of business development this collection of networking nuggets will take you to the next level.

This and other single packages are available with the special promo code IVAN for an additional 30% off at www.misneraudioprograms.com. The entire library package and other special packages are already significantly discounted for this time!

Org Chart

What It Takes to Grow a Little Company Founded on a Big Vision Org Chart

It was 1986, and I had just started my enterprise a year earlier. The concept of working “on” my business and not just “in” my business really resonated with me. So, I wanted to do some vision-making for my business. I needed to do my best to think ahead for the next 5-10 years. How many clients did I foresee? How many states would I be operating in? What additional support could we provide our clients? All of these objectives came down to the need for a more comprehensive organizational infrastructure. I needed a bigger operation to eventually handle the bigger vision that I had for the company. I needed an Org Chart.

X

When your company is small, everyone pitches in and does multiple roles. So, I worked at de-constructing everyone’s roles and drafting an organization chart based on all the functions that we were currently sharing. Then, I put the three of us into every box I drew relating to the functions that each person was currently covering. For example, my assistant was also the receptionist, and my shipping person also did the production of all the client materials. Consequently, I put their two names in four separate boxes for the roles that I envisioned as being separate in the future.

Then, I put my name into all the roles that I was currently covering. It was at that moment that the old saying “chief cook and bottle washer” came to mind. Because there I was, the Founder & CEO of the company, listed in many, many boxes. In addition to the CEO, I was the marketing director, the complaint department and yes, even the janitor.

This exercise, making my first org chart, gave me unwavering clarity on what I had to do to grow the company:

I had to get out of all the boxes I was in — except for CEO. Now that is easier said than done, but this was my 5-10 year plan. I knew it would take at least five years to get there. That meant I needed to start now to make that happen. I began by thinking about the things I hated doing and accounting was at the top of the list. Knowing that if I wanted to grow the company, I needed this and other things off my plate.

I believe an entrepreneur is either working “in their flame” or “working in their wax.” When they are in their flame, they are on fire. They are excited about what they do. You can hear it in their voice, and you can see it in the way they act. When an entrepreneur is working in their wax, they are being drained. They are tired of what they are doing. You can hear it in their voice and can see it in the way they act. Accounting was my wax and I knew it. It was one of the first things I needed to replace. The beauty of business is that something that may be my wax, also happens to be someone else’s flame.

X

For me, it could have been $50, and I would have said: “Oh well, close enough!” Could you imagine if it were $500 off? She wouldn’t go home and sleep until she tracked that money down. Bookkeeping was her flame and it was inspiring to witness her passion for it.

With each person I hired, I would put a line through the name in the box and write in the name of the person who replaced me or one of my first employees. It took about seven years, but I eventually replaced everyone on that original organization chart. Today, my company, BNI, has almost 100 employees in several corporate offices around the world. In addition, it has over 12,000 franchisees, director consultants and employees working for the company in more than 70 countries and it all began with that hand-written, vision-making org chart. This is a great exercise for you to do at any point in your business, not just early on (I ended up doing it several times myself).

One other thing I recommend — keep the first version of your chart! If I had kept my first organization chart, I know for certain it would be framed and on my wall today.

mixed reality

Why Mixed Reality Meetings of the Future Will Be Face-to-Face

When I started BNI in 1985, the biggest question from the media was: “Is this networking thing just a fad?” Well, 34 years and more than 8,700 groups later — it’s clearly not a fad. There have been changes over time though. The biggest change has been the introduction of the internet. Ironically, online networking has contributed to the success of face-to-face networks by greatly reducing the communication hierarchy and allowing people to communicate through mixed reality on online platforms.

Today around 50% of all small businesses are home-based and nearly half of the US workforce is expected to work remotely by 2020. This means that 50% or more of future entrepreneurs and employees will be working remotely within the next few years.

Mixed Reality

Today, I see an even more amazing trend on the horizon as it relates to remote work, technology, and business networking.  That trend is the emergence of mixed reality within the realm of personal networking. Mixed reality is the merging of real and virtual worlds where physical and digital objects co-exist and interact in real time. Mixed reality takes place not only in the physical world or the virtual world but is a mix of reality and virtual reality.

As this technology develops, it will allow remote teams to work together and tackle objectives no matter where the individuals are physically located.  People can enter a collaborative, immersive virtual environment in order to develop and activate relationships, increase business, enhance knowledge, expand one’s sphere of influence, or serve the community.  And, in the not too distant future, I predict that they will be able to network remotely through a mixed reality environment. I believe the future of networking is a blending of the physical world with the digital world.

One of the current missing elements of a video discussion is the lack of intimacy with online communication. However, as this technology advances, people will be better able to read non-verbal language like crossed arms, leaning in, or signs of nervousness. People attach value to the feeling of physically sharing space with another person. The more technology enables that feeling to mirror reality, the more effective it will be. Science has shown, the brain is often unable to determine what is real and what is not as it relates to virtual reality.

True,  a virtual mixed reality meeting is not the same as being there — but it will be getting closer to “real” reality when networking.

end a conversation

How to End a Conversation Without Offending Anyone Around You

I often get asked about the best way to end a conversation in a networking situation. Candidly, I think the answer is pretty simple. So, I’ll start this piece with the “simple solution.” In addition, for those of you who love to over-think things, I’ll give you some other “exit lines” options below.

The Simple Solution Saying

  1. Simply say something like, “It was really nice meeting you. Do you have a card so I can have your contact information? Thanks.” That’s it. Do not apologize because you have to go network and definitely do not say you see someone else you need to talk to. Simply thank them, end a conversation, and move on.
  2. Frame what you liked about the conversation or recap part of the conversation that you found most interesting and then state your simple solution saying above.
  3. If they say something that makes you think of someone else they should meet — tell them and promise to make an introduction.  If the other person is there at the event, make the introduction on the spot.  Being a “connector” at a networking event is always a good thing.
  4. Invite them to participate with you in another networking meeting you go to regularly, such as BNI. They may want to get out and meet more people. This is a great chance to connect them to another network of individuals and it gives you a chance to meet them again at your next BNI meeting.

The Exit Lines

For those of you who want more ways to end a conversation — I’ve read all kinds of “exit lines” and unless they are absolutely true — I don’t recommend most of them. Whether you’re ready to wrap it up immediately or have time for courtesies, here are a handful of efficient exit lines. Keep it simple and keep it honest. OK, you want to know what some of those other lines I recommend to end a conversation are — here you go:

  • I’ve got to get home by “X” o’clock to have dinner with the family
  • It’s been nice meeting you, I need to run to the restroom
  • I’ve got a deadline on a project and I need to take off

Anything similar to the above suggestions is fine but don’t fib. If you really have to leave and do something tell them. Otherwise, simply doing what I say above in your simple solution saying will work fine to end a conversation without offending anyone around you at your networking events.

Whatever you do, don’t “Seinfeld it.”

One of the really funny things on the old TV series Seinfeld was how the characters would go off on some crazy, complicated subterfuge or ruse and end up getting in more trouble than if they had just been candid to start with. Be polite, but be honest and direct. “Seinfeld-ing it” almost always fails and both you and the other person end up uncomfortable.

Remember: Don’t overthink it. Be polite and friendly. Don’t make excuses and politely move on. The real key about ending a conversation is how you follow up! 

receive referrals

How long does it take for people to receive referrals from their network?

From my experience, strong referral relationships are a lot like building close personal friendships. It takes time for people to become close enough to receive referrals from their network. Facebook has redefined what a “friend” is, but I’m talking about truly close friendships with people. In a study published in 2018 by the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, it was found that it takes about 50 hours of interaction to move from being an acquaintance to becoming a “casual friend.” It takes a total of 90 hours to be become “real friends,” and a total of 200 hours to become “close friends.” According to the study, “friendship status was examined as a function of hours together, shared activities and everyday talk.”

So, how long does it take for people to build a close relationship where they trust you enough to give you regular referrals?

So, you want referrals and you want them now?  Well, you can’t have them. Unless you’ve built meaningful relationships with your referral partners first. Well, it takes somewhere between 90 and 200 hours for people to receive referrals from their network.

I know that 90 – 200 hours sounds like a lot but that matches up almost perfectly with what I’ve seen in BNI. When BNI members hit the 90-hour mark of participation they almost always begin receiving more and more referrals. Based on an independent study published in 2012 for BNI, when those same individuals cross the 200-hour mark, they generate an average of over five times the number of referrals they did in their first year! Yes, you read that right: more than 500% more referrals when they have built strong friendships with their referral partners.

The Steps You Should Take If You Want to Build Business Off Referrals

Ask yourself the following four questions until you have attained success and the answers become obvious.

2. Am I regularly making stimulating, educational presentations to my fellow networkers about the value I provide to my clients?

3. Am I doing business with others in my network so I can give them dynamic testimonials and steer business to them in hopes they will return the favor?

4. Am I meeting regularly with my networking colleagues to learn about their businesses so I can confidently refer my contacts to them?

If you’re following these simple tactics, then you are well along the road to getting all the referrals from others’ networks that you deserve. Building a referral-based business is all about building a powerful, personal network. If your network is a mile wide and an inch deep, you will never get the kind of referrals that will make a difference for your business. This means that you have to go deep in building a number of strong relationships.

The best way to speed up the process is to actually spend time in the process of developing relationships with the people you are networking with. Networking truly is more about farming than it is about hunting. It is about building relationships and friendships with other business professionals. Remember, it takes time to build friendships.

Business Networking Organizations

The Five Types of Business Networking Organizations

Networking is the perfect way to help take your business to the next level. However, putting your eggs in one basket and depending on one networking group to satisfy all your needs won’t work. So, which business networking organizations should you join?

We all select different people in our lives that satisfy various needs that contribute to our well being; our parents provide comfort and guidance, our close friends provide support and cheer, our business relationships provide trust and honesty. While these satisfactions may overlap from group to group, it’s important to have more than one person you’re leaning on for all your emotional needs.

It’s the same with your networking groups! While you may find cheer and honesty in more than one group, it’s important to spread your interests to gain a varied support system. Business professionals who don’t have a lot of spare time often ask us which networking groups provide the biggest bang for their buck. There are five main types, and what works best depends on the business they’re in and the prospects they want to meet. Therefore, when selecting your business networking organizations, you need to understand which types are available so you can make an informed decision.

Here’s a quick rundown of the most familiar types.

The Five Types of Business Networking Organizations:

1. Casual Contact: A gathering of people from many different professions, usually in a mixer environment

2. Strong Contact: Usually only allows one person per profession, get together very regularly

3. Community Service Clubs: An opportunity to rub elbows with other very successful people

4. Professional Associations: Trade organizations that are very specific in purpose

5. Online: Social Media such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, where networking is constant

To better understand which business networking organizations fits you best, watch the video below.

 

wheels

Dude, Where are My Wheels

I recently visited Los Angeles and drove through an area that I grew up around. I was regaling my wife with a personal story about a job I had in a pretty tough neighborhood when I was in college. It was about how having a strong network can always help you in difficult situations. At the end of the story, she said, “You have to write about this “Wheels” experience!” So, here it is.

Dude, Where are My Wheels

I grew up in a very working-class environment early in my life. It was roughly 1975, working on my bachelor’s degree while I was employed at a hardware store in South El Monte, California. Now, you have to understand that South El Monte was a pretty tough neighborhood. We had a fair number of gangs active in the area.

We closed the store one evening around 7:00 p.m. It took about 30 minutes to close all the registers and leave the store. In that 30-minute period, a lot could happen in that particular neighborhood. Around 7:30 p.m., we walked out of the store and found one of the employee’s cars sitting in the parking lot. It was literally propped up on blocks. Someone had stolen all four of my co-worker’s “awesome” wheels and left the car on four concrete blocks where it sat, waiting for him when he got off work. Clearly, he was apoplectic when we walked out. He went absolutely crazy!

What’s amazing to me was that one of the employees who lived locally said to the other employee, “Calm down, relax and give me a while. I’ll make a call and see what I can do. Go back into the store and wait. I’ll let you know when to come back out.”

Within an hour, he came in and said it was OK to come back out. We went back into the parking lot, and lo and behold, there was his car with the wheels. They were re-installed, bright shiny rims and all — good as new!

It turns out that the local employee had friends in the gang that was known for heisting awesome wheels off cars. He simply made a call to one of the members he knew well (to clarify, he wasn’t in the gang, but he “knew people” in the gang). All it took to have the wheels returned was one phone call to that one gang member he knew well. I was about 18 years old, and I think this was one of the first really powerful lessons I experienced about the value of  an important tenet in networking.

Knowing the right people

This unfortunate story in my youth taught me the importance of knowing the right people. It helped me to learn that it’s not what you know — or who you know, it’s how well you know each other that counts.

uncommon application of common knowledge

Success is Uncommon Application of Common Knowledge

Have you ever wondered what it is you need to do in order to be successful? I have found that many people are looking for some mysterious and ever-elusive secret to success beyond what they already sense to be important. The truth is, there is no great mystery. In fact, very often “success is simply the uncommon application of common knowledge.”

When I was interviewing average business owners and entrepreneurs for my book, Masters of Success, I asked thousands of them what they felt the “secret” to success was. Everyone I interviewed or wrote about regarding the secret to success – from Buzz Aldrin to Erin Brockovich, from average businesspeople to undergraduate college students – gave me virtually the same answer. They generally told me things like: vision, goals, passion, persistence, and systems. So if we all know what it takes to be successful, why is it that we aren’t all as successful as we’d like to be?

Click on the graphic below, or click here, to see this video. Learn more about my definition of success.

 

Garage to Global

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.

In another short video, I talk to Roger Green about how I came up with this idea and explain why I’m such a firm believer in the concept.

What’s your take on the secret to success?  Is your recipe for success the same as mine or do you have different ideas about how success is achieved? 

Please leave your thoughts in the comments section.

LCD's

Lead with Your LCD’s

When planning your weekly networking presentations, lead with your LCD’s.

It is very important to be prepared to introduce yourself by breaking down your business into your LCD’s (Lowest Common Denominators). Each week, create a business educational curriculum to train your sales force to focus on just ONE aspect of your business.

For example, each week just focus on one LCD’s :

– A service
– A product
– A benefit

When you want to nail a presentation, start by explaining your lowest common denominators, or the most immediate, universal value of your business. Your LCD is your secret weapon. What are the various “keywords” others would use to search for you online? These keywords are your LCD’s.

Click on the graphic below, or click here, to see this video. Learn more about developing this training approach for your weekly presentations.

Garage to Global

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.

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.

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.

 

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.

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