Ignorance Fire

Is Ignorance on Fire Ever a Good Thing?string(39) "Is Ignorance on Fire Ever a Good Thing?"

Ignorance on fire

The following video is part of my new “Ivanism” Garage to Global series, hosted by Entrepreneur.com, where I expand on catch phrases I have used frequently over the years.

 

I know, it’s a strange concept: “Ignorance on fire is better than knowledge on ice.”

Most people read that statement and think, someone who’s excited but ignorant can do more harm than good.

I’m here to tell you that the opposite of your intuition is true. That’s right–and you’ll see why below.

 

MSNBC’s Your Businessstring(27) "MSNBC’s Your Business"

On Thursday, I was swept off to a land far, far away.

OK, not that far away. But TV has to be dramatic, doesn’t it?

Even though I was close to home, I visited the homes of millions by appearing as a guest on MSNBC’s Your Business, with host JJ Ramberg. I was featured as an expert on referral networking (imagine that!) and spoke about how it can positively affect small businesses. The entire experience was easier than I expected and JJ was well-prepared and professional–and I’m sure glad she was, because it really helped ease my nerves.

And of course, I couldn’t get out the door without using referral networking. The producer asked if I could refer her to other BNI experts to be featured guests! (Who knows–maybe it could be YOU!)

Check out the clip below and tell me what you think.

Premature Solicitor

Giving Your Network a Booststring(27) "Giving Your Network a Boost"

A question from India came to me via Twitter, and I found it to be such a universal topic that I thought I’d share it with you all.

(And BONUS–it was shot in my new home studio!)

 

What happens when your networking group hits a plateau?

https://youtu.be/OA73fq9Sza8

 

Counting Your Referralsstring(23) "Counting Your Referrals"

Referrals are the backbone of word-of-mouth networking, am I right?

So if you reach out 100 people with a referral and ten reach back, did you give 100 or ten referrals?

Many would immediately assume the higher number, because let’s face it–100 is better than 10. But that isn’t the case!

But WHY is this?

I come to you today with a Vlog (video blog) of this exact question, asked of me during the BNI US Conference in April.

You are not entitled to referralsstring(33) "You are not entitled to referrals"

That’s right-you read correctly.

Referrals come from cultivating real relationships. They come from putting the work into your networking by giving others referrals before expecting them in return. They don’t come from sitting idly in a meeting, watching others getting referrals and wondering where yours are.

Are you wondering just how to get that referral pipe flowing?

1. Become a farmer. Except you’re not cultivating seeds, but relationships. You’re not harvesting produce, but referrals. Networking is about farming for new contacts (and referrals,) not hunting them. Have One-to-Ones with your chapter members. Get to know them and their business well so you can begin to pass referrals to them. This is how you cultivate a relationship-show genuine interest and make an honest attempt at helping them succeed. You’ll build trust with one another, which makes the next step much easier.  referral

2. Find a referral partner. As I write in my book, Truth or Delusion, “There is a way to the flow of referrals predicable and adjustable.” After you’ve gotten to know your fellow chapter members, choose one to partner up with to pass referrals back and forth to one another. Pick someone who needs referrals you can provide (for example, if you have a toy shop owner in your Chapter but you have no kids and rarely interact with them, they might not be the best partner for you.) Determine what types of referrals you need and ask your partner to do the same; then, exchange specific referrals based on your own networks. Begin to set up meetings with your referrals and if it’s appropriate, bring your partner with you. Afterward, analyze the meetings with your partner and use as much detail as possible.

3. Get your PH.D. in Networking. Ok, not literally. But you can become a gatekeeper of networks as you begin to connect your network with another person’s, and then another person’s, and then continue to build upon it. Become the go-to person in your business community-the person others come to if they needed a referral for anything. “Know a trustworthy plumber? Yeah, ask Susan-she knows everybody!” But instead of becoming the human phone book, you are connecting people in your community with good, honest businesses. This will not only help you build your network referrals, but it will also force you to continue to build and deepen your relationships and provide you with an excellent reputation.

What process has worked for you when referral gathering?

 

Keeping Up Productivity During Q2string(33) "Keeping Up Productivity During Q2"

Image courtesy of khunaspix, of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of khunaspix, of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Now that we’re into Q2, all of your 2016 goals for your business should be well underway. The downside of Q2 is that many people begin to lose their momentum around this time of the year. The weather is getting nicer, the days are getting longer, and our attention span at work is getting shorter.

One great way to maintain momentum in your business is to focus on elevating your morning routine.

The ideal morning routine starts the night before, by ensuring you are set up for success. Turn off all electronic devices at least 90 minutes before bed, and never use these devices in your bed to start with. Studies show that using these devices in bed can retrain your brain to associate your bed with being awake. These studies also show that even the smallest electronic device emits enough light to stimulate your brain and promote wakefulness.

In the morning, try to wake up earlier than you need to. Before 6 a.m. is ideal, as it gives you plenty of time to eat a full breakfast, hit the gym, and get your blood flowing and brain working before you get into the meat of your day. Set a routine, and keep that routine as often as possible. Once you are settling into work, focus on projects that you are passionate about. Stay off your email as long as possible, as this is a productivity and time suck. Focus on the important things first, and hit your email later when you have time to knock off smaller tasks. Busy work should be punted to later in the day. Your mind will thank you.

What kind of morning routine do you follow to keep productive? Tell me about it in the comments below.

Introducing Garage to Globalstring(28) "Introducing Garage to Global"

Garage to Global

What does it take to start a home-based business and turn it into a global organization?  I am sharing the many lessons I’ve learned to do just that.

In 1985, I started a small business from my home in Southern California.  Today, BNI has ovBNI Member Growth Through 2014er 7,400 locations in more than 65 countries around the world (see the member growth chart to the right).

From business networking to management, scaling a business, and surrounding yourself with good people, I will be sharing with you the secrets for building a global brand.

Go here and subscribe to my new Garage to Global Channel (part of the Entrepreneur Network) on YouTube: http://tinyurl.com/garagetoglobal.

Share with me below what you think it takes to go from “garage to global” (but don’t forget to subscribe to my new channel. 🙂

Using Your Passion to Sell Your Businessstring(40) "Using Your Passion to Sell Your Business"

ID-100228591Are your referral partners excited about your business? Getting your referral partners excited about your business is one of the top ways to generate more referrals, and build your contact base more.

You’re probably sitting there thinking, “Oh, but nobody could be excited about my business. I do XYZ, and that’s boring.” Are you excited about what you do? Are you passionate about what you do?

Hopefully, the answer is yes – as a business owner, you should be excited and passionate about your business. That passionate you have for your business should show in how you describe it, and excite your referral partners. If you’re not excited about what you do, no one else will be either.

Think back to a time when you heard a motivational speaker, perhaps as a keynote at a convention or during a seminar. When you left the room that you heard the speaker in, was there an energetic buzz in the air? Were the other attendees excited about what they heard? Usually, the answer to that question is yes. But why?

Motivational speakers have an uncanny ability to share passion through their words, which increases their credibility and helps listeners remember their messages better. The very same end goals should be what you have in mind when educating potential referral partners about your business.

Increasing the excitement about your business can be easy. Take time to think about why you are excited about your business. What about what you do makes you look forward to waking up in the morning and going to work? Your personal challenge in networking is to have an extraordinary message that not only captures, but highlights, your passion and the essence of your business.

My challenge to you this week is to explain something about your business that excites you to a referral partner who may not have known about it before. See how they receive this information, or if they start to get excited, too.

Let me know in the comments below how that passion-fueled conversation goes!

How Well Do You Know Your Business?string(35) "How Well Do You Know Your Business?"

ID-10063353Established business owners often hit a point where they don’t think that they need to continue improving themselves or their businesses. Even if you have thus far been successful, it is important to continue identifying strengths and weaknesses. Businesses evolve, and the needs of an organization easily change over time.

As your business evolves, you may need to take time to focus on the facts of your business. Even though it sounds silly (we all know what we do, right?), taking time to identify the basics can be helpful in the long run.

To start, reexamine who you are. Not you personally, but your business. Where does the business stand today? What are your motivations for keeping it going every day? These things can change over time, and are likely different than they were when you first started. Other questions you may want to ask yourself to get to the bottom of this:

  • Who are your customers? Your target markets?
  • What are your core competencies?
  • Who are your competitors, and how well are you competing?

Next, you must clearly communicate who you are to your network. This can be people you work with who pass referrals to you, this could be friends, family, and coworkers. Anyone who may pass a referral to you, or at the minimum connect you with someone who could help you grow your business.

Your newly developed understanding of your business can even come in handy when you are asked what you do by strangers – telling people your job title does nothing to strengthen a relationship.

To learn more about this topic and more, check out my book with Brennan Scanlon, The Networking Disconnect.

Name Tag

What’s in a Name (Tag)? A few tipsstring(40) "What’s in a Name (Tag)? A few tips"

ID-100397028All businesspeople know how vital a name tag can be for developing new contacts and presenting yourself professionally.

That said, there are a few cardinal elements of a name tag that can really make or break its effectiveness.

  • Name size. The whole point of a name tag is to allow people to see your name. Make sure your name is printed in a legible way – this includes making sure it is big enough for people to read!
  • Company name. You’ll want to include your company name, your position, or both, on your name tag so that new contacts can connect you and your business together easily in their minds.
  • We often recommend putting your name tag on your right-hand side, and high enough up to where it can be easily seen when someone is looking at your face, or chin. The lower you put your name tag on your shirt or jacket, the more awkward it will be when someone tries to strain to read it.
  • I’m not a huge fan of those sticky, cheap paper name tags. They have their uses, but I like to carry a plastic or laminated name tag with me at all times so I never have to use one of those stickers. They come off very easily, get wrinkled, and are overall unruly.

Equally important to the make-up of a name tag is when you wear it. I think many professionals tend to wear their name tag anytime it even seems mildly necessary, just to prevent uncomfortable situations arising when the name tag was needed but wasn’t being worn. Here are a couple times when you may want to leave your name tag in your briefcase:

  • During one-to-one settings. This seems obvious, but you’d be surprised how often the name tag is put on for a group meeting, then is left on well after the meeting when the individual is meeting with someone one-to-one.
  • When on stage. First of all, your audience will be so far away from you that they likely won’t even be able to read your name tag – no matter how big your make your name. The name tag can also distract from you and what you are saying, and often when you are on a stage in front of a large group you are giving a presentation that requires the audience’s attention.
  • When on video. A primary reason for this is many cameras flip your image, so your name tag will be backwards, unreadable, and will very obviously be unnecessary to the individuals you’re speaking with.
  • When in an intimate group. The exception to this is of course if every other member of the group is wearing their name tag, because your lack of name tag will draw (negative) unnecessary attention to you. However, in general, when a group is intimate enough to where you can easily remember everyone’s name and profession, or where you already know all of the individuals in the group, your name tag is unnecessary.

What tips do you follow for your name tag? Let me know in the comments below!

Negotiating With Clients is in Your Best Intereststring(49) "Negotiating With Clients is in Your Best Interest"

ID-1009160How did you determine how to price your services? One reason you may be suffering with finding new clients could be due to how much you charge. If this is the case, more than likely you’ve heard this objection from current or potential clients before. While you may not want to consider negotiating, it really is in your best interest. Here’s why:

  • If you agree to at least negotiate on a price with a potential client, they may see you as empathetic and willing to work with them. Many people allow their emotions to help decide how they will spend their money, so developing a positive rapport may help you close with a client who otherwise was considering not spending money on your services.
  • Negotiating allows you to explain to your potential client why your fee is fair for the value of service they’d receive. If they can search the internet and find others in your industry who offer similar services for cheaper, this is especially important. You know you are worth the extra money; you just have to justify it to the client.
  • While negotiating, a potential client may mention a service that you don’t offer, but your competitor does. Hearing this kind of feedback can help you later when you’re looking to expand what you offer.

In the end, some people will be impossible to negotiate with. No matter how low you go, they will never buy your service. Don’t continue to lower your prices to try to get them to use you. Remember that your business first and foremost is a way for you to earn income. Never negotiate lower than you are willing to go.

What tips do you have for negotiating your price with potential clients? Share them with us in the comments below!

Why We Need to Stop Reinventing the Wheelstring(41) "Why We Need to Stop Reinventing the Wheel"

ID-10026461As business people and networkers, and even in our personal lives, we are often trying to make things harder than they need to be. There is an abundance of techniques, for sales, communicating, and general business practices, that are tried and true, so much so that they seem too simple to truly be effective. We re-evaluate them, we “improve” upon them, and we overcomplicate them. Possibly worse, we sometimes just scrap the old way and try to start over from scratch.

Often, we think we are smarter than those who came before us. Our egos prevent us from listening to those who have more history. The danger here with reinventing the wheel is that it puts us in danger of history repeating itself.

Here are three common warning signs that you may be falling into the danger zone of repeating work, and what to do about them.

  • Instead of solving a problem, you come up with new features to cover it up. First and foremost, this is poor customer service to add features to try to distract from a known issue with a good or service. Instead of wasting your time coming up with new features on an old issue, spend time diving into the old issue and make minor changes on existing features to elevate the whole product.
  • When something with history doesn’t work perfectly, you think it might be easier to start over. Without a doubt, there was a reason things got to where they are. Instead of erasing all of the work of those before you, do a little research. Take time to talk with your predecessors and learn what the motivation behind choices were. Chances are you will discover the core problem, and be able to instead make moves to target that issue, instead of starting over.
  • The wheel you’re looking at reinventing is a common wheel that many business people are faced with. Is your wheel unique to you, or is it something that many in your profession are faced with? If the latter, it is highly possible that there are many people also working to reinvent that wheel right now. Perhaps it is a standard business practice in your field that simply doesn’t work. Instead of putting forth resources (including time and money) to tackle it on your own, see if there is a group in your field working on this issue. If you are working to forge new paths at the same time others are trying to do the same thing, you’re all wasting resources and could likely work more effectively as a team.

Have you ever tried to reinvent the wheel? What happened?

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