The more you learn, the more you earn!

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This week, I want to ask you, how many hours a month do you commit to learning?

Seriously. Is it 1 hour a month, 3 hours a month, a day a month? How many of you have a coach? Do you notice that top athletes, actors, singers, business owners all have a coach?

Why not you?

Don’t use the excuse, that you cannot afford one…because a good coach should pay for his or herself, in terms of guiding you to bigger gains and more profitability or success…

If they aren’t then get your money back!

But back to this notion of how much time you invest in learning. do you have a personal or team (if you have employees) learning game plan?

The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” That’s a quote from the great children’s book author, Dr. Seuss, and he is bang on!

Learning does not have to cost a lot…but like the old idea, of you get what you pay for…the value of learning and investing in learning would co-relate to what you spend.

But as we approach this launch of the 2nd quarter of the year, take a moment and think, what do I need to improve on? What do I want to learn that will help me grow my business? What areas of my life or business do I need to get better in? Is it money management, investing, social media, marketing, sales?

Take time now to plan your learning. I recommend you take a half a day a week on Monday morning to learn, either individually or as a team at work. Monday is a bit of a dead zone in terms of selling, meetings and it is a time where you can ease back into the swing of things.

But by taking a half day to learn, or perhaps do some market research might help you really have future growth and success!

Learning can be fun too! You can invite experts in their field into speak to you a group of your peers (and you) or your team at work! You can ask to take a tour of a company’s facility say for example you wanted to learn more about how YouTube works or how to build your company store on Shopify…ask to go to their offices…YouTube has a studio and location on King St. in Toronto at the George Brown campus…Shopify has an office in downtown Toronto…LinkedIn sometimes offers training programs too! All geared to help you in business.

Representatives from Toronto Credit Counseling can come in and teach you about financial literacy or debt management, an insurance rep will come in to talk to you about insurance and what you need in order to be protected should something go wrong!

There is so much help out there, just ask specialists in their field to educate you!

Don’t be shy about reaching out for help!

Put your learning goals down on paper and then prioritize what you want to achieve…after that develop a learning calendar.

If you are a solo-preneur, team up with your peers and do some peer learning together. Engage your team if you have people that work for you.

You can learn online, or by reading? How many books do you read? The more you read, the more you learn, and ultimately, the more you will earn. Nowhere is this truer than in the business world. Your success is likely to be directly proportional to the amount of knowledge you possess, and so is your income. Having more education lowers your risk of unemployment and leads to a bigger paycheck.

In the U.S. they have done studies on salaries versus the level of education, the results are staggering…here they are:

According to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, a person without a high school diploma makes an annual salary of $24,492 compared to $33,904 for a high school graduate; $40,820 for someone with a associates degree; $55,432 for a bachelor’s degree; $67,600 for a master’s degree; and $90,220 for a doctorate (a Ph.D). You can earn $250,000 more during your lifetime just by graduating from high school, and double that amount with a two year associates degree from either a community or junior college.

Now, it is great to learn, but to sustain the knowledge gained and to implement it, that is where a coach can help you. Seriously, hire a coach!

If you really cannot afford it…then get a mentor, or an accountability partner and or form a mastermind team.

Promise me this. From here on out, commit to learn.

L-Learn things that can benefit you

E-Enthusiastic…be an enthusiastic learner

A-Assess your learning needs

R-Realize the benefits to your bottom line

N-No putting it off…read a book, take a webinar, listen to a podcast, sign up for a workshop…but learn…commit to it and make it happen

Here is to your success this week!

Cheers/David

BIO:

David is an author, business coach and facilitator and was the former host/producer and creator of the Small Business Big Ideas Show heard weekly for over 9 years. David has taught thousands over the years in both the non-profit and for profit sectors and has coached hundreds of start-ups to make those important first steps. He specializes in helping small business owners mine their strengths, get clear on their value, their markets and then begin to develop a sales and marketing game plan that gets results.

He also can be booked to do his keynote presentations; “The 8 Keys to Success, How I got to Kiss the Stanley Cup and his new keynote called “A breakthrough-through the glass”- how to overcome the fear that life and business might throw your way. He leads workshops in sales, marketing, market research, business plans, target marketing and customer service programs. David currently with the City of Toronto, heading up an entrepreneur training program for inner city youth and adults. He has taught thousands and coached numerous clients in the area of Small Business Start-ups and business growth strategies.

Plan your way to success!

 

Good planning are the building blocks

As we kick it into a new season it is always wise to stop, assess and take stock. It is also a fabulous time to plan for the future ahead too.

Assess, how have you done so far this year? What results are you proud of and happy with? Take time to celebrate your successes. On the flip side…where did you fall short? Don’t fear looking at where you fell short. It doesn’t make you bad and you didn’t fail…but perhaps you just did not put the emphasis or effort into the goal or objective you wanted to achieve! It doesn’t mean you failed, to me it would just show you did not do the work you needed to to achieve your goal!

Perhaps that goal wasn’t important to you…and your commitment to making it happen didn’t matter enough for you to put your 100% effort into it.

So Assess…see what has happened, reflect on where you fell short, or where you have excelled…and then re-commit to where you really want to go.

If you are setting goals where you are not all in…let those goals go for now…because if your commitment and the “Why” you want to achieve it is not strong enough, then the chances are you might not realize those goals happening.

The next step to good planning is to “Be” it…for the things you want to achieve, be it. Feel the goal first! Be the goal…if you want to have more clients, or earn more money…be it…act as if you have achieved the goal first!

The third key step in planning ahead is to “Chunk” things down. Rome wasn’t built in a day!

 

Some of your goals or objectives are big…they might not happen over night and that is totally okay. You need to take steps each day towards the fulfillment of those goals. Chunk things down, set mini goals or milestones along the way, so you can take stock, give thanks, assess, re-commit and then move onto the next milestone or goal. Eventually you will arrive at your destination, but you do it in bite size pieces…

Remember along your journey to stop…breathe, take in the scenery, give thanks for where you are. own your successes, celebrate how well you have done and re-commit to what it is that really matters, to what you really want to have happen in your life and or business…

Take time to plan, Remember the “ABC’s” of planning…Assess, Be it…be the goal and then Chunk it down into smaller goals, goals you can make happen, then keep on, keep building until you get to the big goal!

May it be a great week ahead for you, but do take time to plan!

Cheers/David

 

 

BIO:

David is an author, business coach and facilitator, he works with the City of Toronto, heading up an entrepreneur training program with inner city youth and adults, he is also the former host/producer and creator of the Small Business Big Ideas Show, a radio show heard weekly for over 9 years. He has 2 books, one called Bust Out Ignite your inner entrepreneur and the other is called The Weekly 3- 3 rock solid ideas to business and life success!

 

David has taught thousands over the years in both the non-profit and for profit sectors and has coached hundreds of start-ups to make those important first steps. He specializes in teaching the 8 Keys to Success, How I got to Kiss the Stanley Cup and his new keynote called “A breakthrough-through the glass”- how to overcome the fear, plus he leads workshops in sales, marketing, market research, business plans, target marketing and customer service programs.

The most important thing you can do if you are in business or working in a “J.O.B.”!

 

Hold your FOCUS ON reaching the peak

 

This week, I learned a big lesson, there seems to be a lot of areas of one’s life these days that can distract us from our true vision and purpose.

Whether you are in business, or you work, or maybe you’re a stay at home mom or dad…you need to have a vision, mission in the work you do.

I have discussed having a mission and vision in past articles, but I cannot emphasize enough how important they are to have. Especially in this mile a minute world, where tragedy happens (once again this week, in Britain), or political initiatives don’t get voted on or the challenges being thrown our way just with life alone. It could be the upset driver we encountered on the way home from work, or we upset a friend or colleague, or they have upset us maybe…

The bottom line is that the distractions of just living day-to-day are coming at us fast and furiously.

How can we cope?

How can we navigate our lives, work or businesses when waters get choppy and yes when we are anxious about it and perhaps in our fear?

For starters…create your mission and vision around your life, work and business. You can do a vision and mission for all aspects of your life. For example, if you’re having a dinner party with friends, your mission for that is that the party will be fun, engaging, with great food, laughter, conversations and fun! Then hold that as your mission and “Focus” on it, live it, be it and your mission will come true!

“The Key to ultimate success is your ability to Focus” David Cohen

The key here is to “Focus” once you have developed an idea of what you want to have happen in the more immediate time frame (your mission) or for your future (your vision), then the next vital thing is to hold the “Focus”!

Author of the book “Focus” the Hidden Driver of Excellence, Daniel Goleman and the key figure in the Emotional Intelligence movement and work shares examples of two people who has extreme focus…one was Steve Jobs, Goleman states, that “Steve Jobs was a longtime Zen practitioner – meditation is one way to strengthen the brain’s attention circuitry. He brought a single-minded focus to shaping Apple’s winning business strategy. One of his strengths was in paring away distractions – as when he winnowed Apple’s product line down to a handful of products with just a few variations, a controversial decision at the time, but a remarkably winning strategy in the long run.”

Goleman also adds that another great example of having focus is a woman, perhaps you haven’t heard of…”Susan Butcher, is a champion! She is the woman who four times won the Iditarod race, a two-week competition with dog sleds over 1,100-plus miles of Arctic ice and snow. Her training regimen for herself and her dogs took prolonged focus throughout the entire year, and her personal focus during the race was extraordinary.”

In this day and age of technology, and our attention spans shrinking to 9 seconds…you need to take time to hold your vision and mission each day and hold the focus!

Successful people maintain a positive focus in life no matter what is going on around them. They stay focused on their past successes rather than their past failures, and on the next action steps they need to take to get them closer to the fulfillment of their goals rather than all the other distractions that life presents to them. Jack Canfield

“The whole world is a very narrow bridge, the important thing is not to be afraid” …Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav.

This quote and song sung at prayer services in the Reform Judaism movement to me emphasizes life’s challenges and how important it is to keep our vision in view and to walk with faith in our hearts!

For the rest of this week’s article, I am going to do 2 things…one is have you create your own vision and mission…and the second is to share a few ideas to help you keep your Focus!

Let’s dive in and write your vision and mission statements!

Do this if you work, or have a business or just want to improve your family or social life!

Share your vision and mission with others, if they love it, they will be on board with what you are committed to being, doing, having!

 

To write a vision statement, you need to distill your vision into a usable form. Use the following formula to shape your vision statement:

 

 Five years from now, (my company name) will have accomplished what big goal(s)?___________________ for whom and how will they benefit?_______________________.

 

Using this formula to write a vision statement will force you to choose what you consider to be the most important accomplishment of your business and give you a time frame to accomplish it.

Here is an example for you to use to help you write your vision statement…

“Within the next five years, The Women’s Center will have helped create a safer, more harmonious community by helping women acquire the education, skills and resources necessary to build self-sufficient prosperous lives.”

“Within the next five years, Metromanage.com will become a leading provider of management software to North American small businesses by providing customizable, user-friendly software scaled to small business needs.”

A vision is a strong force in anyone’s life, but a vision, is essential in business.

It is a target upon which a leader focuses their resources and energy.

The continual presence of a vision helps to motivate against forces of resistance; failure, emotional hardships (negative feedback) and physical hardships (issues in the company).

Now let’s write your Mission:

Your mission is more about the “here and now” of your life, work or business…it defines the present state or purpose of an organization

Your mission:

Answers three questions about why an organization exists:

 WHAT does it do?

 WHO does it do it for?

 What is the outcome that your customer gets from you being in business?

An example of a a mission statement is…

“We sell fashionable, affordable women’s shoes…for women who love shoes and want to feel confident, beautiful and sexy in them”!

“Or we sell healthy nutritious food for those seeking a balanced diet and are need to watch their calories, sugar levels and yet still desire flavour, creativity and selection…our vegetarian cuisine gives our customers all of the pleasure of mouth watering eats, without the guilt”!

If you break down these mission statements it states, what you do, who you do it for and what the outcome is!

Take time to write you mission!

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

Part Two:

How can you hold the focus once you have your vision and mission?

Here are 6 actions you can take to keep your focus, goals and dreams alive!

 

  1. Put your vision and mission statements on cue cards and post them up in your home, the fridge, your car, or office, but look at them every day!
  2. Get into visualizing what it is you want every day…even for 10 minutes…you can do this in bed at night or in the morning, or on the transit ride into work or to a client’s meeting or even when you are having coffee at Starbucks or Timmies!
  3. Disconnect from all devices for an 2 hours a day! Especially at meal times, just be with yourself, friends or family and turn off all distractions!
  4. Set aside thinking and reflection time. “Good thinking. It’s the one thing all successful people have in common. People who achieve their dreams understand the critical relationship between their level of thinking and their level of progress – and know that when thinking is limited so is potential.”- Author, Leadership Expert-John C. Maxwell
  5. Meditate…beyond a little visualization, carve out 10-30 minutes to meditate and be still, quiet…go within for your answers…you might be surprised how the subconscious mind can work in your favour!
  6. Lastly, have an accountability partner, buddy or mastermind team that you can share your goals, vision and mission with and schedule weekly or monthly calls to ensure you are keeping on track.

I hope this article helps and that you realize how having a vision and mission are vital to your success…but having “Focus” to what it is you want is critical to “Ultimate Success”

I leave you with a video, that re-emphasizes this messaging…I like this message and video…it is short, sweet and bang on!

 

 

Make it a great week!

Cheers/David Cohen

 

 

Bio:

David is an author, business coach and facilitator, he works with the City of Toronto, heading up an entrepreneur training program with inner city youth and adults, he is also the former host/producer and creator of the Small Business Big Ideas Show, a radio show heard weekly for over 9 years. He has 2 books, one called Bust Out Ignite your inner entrepreneur and the other is called The Weekly 3- 3 rock solid ideas to business and life success!

 

David has taught thousands over the years in both the non-profit and for profit sectors and has coached hundreds of start-ups to make those important first steps. He specializes in teaching the 8 Keys to Success, How I got to Kiss the Stanley Cup and his new keynote called “A breakthrough-through the glass”- how to overcome the fear, plus he leads workshops in sales, marketing, market research, business plans, target marketing and customer service programs.

Why caring for your inner self pays big dividends

 

a little solitude goes a long productive way

I took this week off for the March Break. I could have busted it all week, working out, doing extra work, getting things done and yes, while I needed to take care of some areas of my life and business, I chose to take it easy with it all.

I didn’t work out once, I got extra rest, I went at my pace, I took time out to watch Moonlight at 4 in the afternoon, I met friends for lunch…the key was I didn’t do what I normally do, which is push it every day…

My daily routine is tiring to be honest and a bit boring, up early to meditate, journal, work out a little, then hustle off to work, come home a bit tired from the day and usually stay in at night, unless there is a meeting or event to go to…then I come home make dinner, chat with a friend, check emails and Facebook messages and chill a bit…you know the drill.

I realized this week, I need to change my routine. It’s killing me. Yes maybe physically, but more emotionally, spiritually, energetically and creatively!

I believe that if you practice good self-care it can pay big dividends!

Here are a few ideas for you to consider and lessons I learned this week:

1. Ease up on the personal deadlines you set for yourself. What is that old expression? “Rome was not built in day”! Who sets deadlines on tasks at home, at work, in your business? Chances are it is probably you. Ease up and allow more time to get things done, it will accomplish 2 key things, one is give you more time to think about what you need to do and then to bring that thinking and strategy in, so you actually do a better job and that you’re not rushing the task or work. Secondly it will put you more at ease with getting things done and you won’t be so stressed out about the tasks at hand.

2. Allow more you time in your day. You can do this easily. Cut back on time spent on social media, or carve out a little piece of time just for you and or learn to combine tasks. Read while you’re on the TTC, or read while you have lunch, or workout as you watch the ball game, you get the idea…combine tasks. Or take 30-45 minutes a day for you. You need to ask your family, spouse, and or kids for permission to do this…but a little time to re-charge yourself is vital for your creativity and energy levels.

“The secret to becoming more productive is not managing your time but your energy.” Michael Hyatt-speaker, coach, productivity expert

3. Allow time to have a nap. A nap has so many benefits…and great people like Einstein, Churchill, Lyndon B. Johnson, J.F. Kennedy, Eleanor Roosevelt, Thomas Edison and country music singer Gene Autry all carved out nap times.

The National Sleep Foundation suggests a short nap of twenty to thirty minutes “for improved alertness and performance without leaving you feeling groggy or interfering with nighttime sleep.”

A nap reduces heart disease, re-energizes you, improves productivity and helps you relax and better able to get things done. Now you don’t want to be sleeping for hours during the day, but 20-30 minutes for sure.

4. Listen to your heart. If you listen to your brain and it’s crazy 30-50,000 thoughts it has all day, you will tire out and go crazy after a while. Slow it down at some point during the day (10 minutes to meditate) and tune into your heart. Your heart knows better…tune in and listen to it more. Try it this week in fact, try and quiet the mind and connect with your heart…what is it saying?

5. Connect with your inner child more often. If you’ve done any form of psychotherapy, listening to or talking to your inner child can be invaluable! I did this just before getting fired from a job I had 15 years ago. I had a dialogue with my inner 9-10 year old and he was in fear of the repercussions of losing that job. I as the adult had to assure him that we’d be okay…(I was assuring myself) and to hold your head high through this process…

We had to face the boss the next day and she was not very warm and fuzzy…so after I talked to my inner child about things being okay, he then said…”If the boss is really mean, can we pull down our pants tomorrow (the firing meeting) and chuck a moon at her”…I laughed at my inner child, and agreed that if she was really mean, we would!

Well, that didn’t happen…but what did happen is in the meeting the next day, I summoned up my inner child, when my former boss asked, “What plans do you have next”? I replied, “I don’t know, I did some inner child work before this and I wasn’t expecting to be fired, I have no plans right now”. What happened was a miracle, not only did I get fired, (which was the outcome I wanted, so I could have E.I. money coming in)…but she kept me on part-time, 2-3 days a month until the end of August (I got fired April 19th), I had some work to go to for a few more months.

I worked through my fears by talking to and listening to my inner child. When I went to work and knew I was about to be let go. I went for a jog in my neighbourhood, wore my best suit and went in proudly.

Within 4 months of that firing meeting, I had launched my coaching/teaching business and a little radio show I hosted and produced for 7+ years!

6. My last tip is to allow yourself time to just veg out! To me that means not taking a shower until 3 pm…being lazy, or taking time with things. You need the downtime, you cannot be going all the time. It is crazy. It is like driving your car with your foot only on the gas pedal, sometimes you have to break and just be still!

Your life is like that.

So when you see an ad from a personal growth expert to live your best life, make 6 figures, do, do do! Stop and remember life isn’t about all that. There are ebbs and flows. You cannot be up, up, up all the time. You need time to heal, mourn losses (be it a job, a friendship that wanes, a dream that dies), time to think, to plan, to just veg out and cave into being totally lazy…to reflect, to then re-energize so you can then have the strength to take it to the next level.

Make it a great week!

I hope these lessons helped.

Cheers/David

Bio:

David is an author, business coach and facilitator, he works with the City of Toronto, heading up an entrepreneur training program with inner city youth and adults, he is also the former host/producer and creator of the Small Business Big Ideas Show, a radio show heard weekly for over 9 years. He has 2 books, one called Bust Out Ignite your inner entrepreneur and the other is called The Weekly 3- 3 rock solid ideas to business and life success!

 

David has taught thousands over the years in both the non-profit and for profit sectors and has coached hundreds of start-ups to make those important first steps. He specializes in teaching the 8 Keys to Success, How I got to Kiss the Stanley Cup and his new keynote called “A breakthrough-through the glass”- how to overcome the fear, plus he leads workshops in sales, marketing, market research, business plans, target marketing and customer service programs.

 

3 cool ideas to keep your customers engaged…

 

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Last week, I shared the importance of staying in touch with your customers…and how many companies don’t do that. You and I have all experienced poor customer service experiences from businesses both big and small…

Here are a few things that we’ve experienced…and as a consumer it is troubling…

You go to a grocery store or drug store and the cashier doesn’t say hi, but just asks, “Need bags? Got Air Miles”? (or whatever points card you might have)…In my view a friendly hello and welcome to the store first, before asking if the customer needs bags or has a points card, would be great. Then once the transaction is done, why not share a big weekly special happening at the store next week, that encourages the customer to come back in…and then wish them a good day and thank them for shopping.

2. The other thing that is a bit troubling is why after paying top dollar at these stores do they charge us 5 cents a bag? I know it is for the environment, but the local government did away with the bag tax a few years ago, yet the customers are still paying for it and that is a disgrace. Some alternatives is to give bags for free, but have a sign near the cash desk reminding customers to recycle and bring in their used bags to use in future…

3. Why do stores raise funds for a charity and ask us for a donation? If you can imagine, that big chain stores across Canada are raising funds for a cause and that if $200,000.00 is raised from all of their customers, that big retail chain gets a very nice tax deductible expense for donating money that we all contributed to…next time politely decline the offer to donate and tuck away $5-10.00 that you can donate directly to the charities you like…and you can get the receipt and tax deduction…

4. The on hold forever experience…We have all heard this as we wait and wait for our call to be answered, “Your call means a lot to us…please hold”. Once you do get through, there are times you can’t get through to who you need to, or get your customer inquiry dealt with properly, or your complaint responded to in a way that is satisfactory.

Personally, I have emailed in a customer complaint to a few bigger chain stores and nothing was done about it and the communications from these companies were never fully replied to. I got an initial response, but it did not go further to share the outcome or solution with me. I find that frustrating as a customer.

What can you do to enhance the customer experience?

  1. For starters, don’t and I mean don’t nickle and dime your customers. Don’t charge extra for the little things, work it into the price if you have to. But look at your customer as someone you want to have come back, time and time again and treat them as a guest and that we matter.
  2. Focus on the experience you want your customer to have. What is the experience like? In fact try being a customer in your own business…what is the experience like on the phone, or via emails, or on social media? Make sure you orchestrate fun, engaging experiences at every level of contact you have with your customers. From how you greet them, to how you engage them in dialogue, to the process you use to get the customer from interest to transaction. Think it through, make it fun, easy and a good experience at every point of contact for your customers! With the new Beauty and the Beast movie coming out this week, maybe sing the song, “Be our guest” when it comes to thinking, planning and executing your customer care experiences.

3. Do random acts of thoughtfulness for your clients. For example send thank you notes or notes of encouragement (Something positive to inspire your customer), have an event for your customers, that could be a webinar, seminar, a “power breakfast” event, educate your customers, keep them in the loop of the latest ideas, product launches, specials and trends! Lastly, call them up, not to pitch, but to say hi and ask how they are. We all know these times are challenging and like you, your customers are going through the challenges we see happening in the world we live in.

I truly hope this helps you keep and retain your customers With bigger companies messing up on customer care, us little guys can go in and kick butt and take business away!

Make it an abundant, great week ahead!

Cheers/David

Bio:

David is an author, business coach and facilitator, he works with the City of Toronto, heading up an entrepreneur training program with inner city youth and adults, he is also the former host/producer and creator of the Small Business Big Ideas Show, a radio show heard weekly for over 9 years. He has 2 books, one called Bust Out Ignite your inner entrepreneur and the other is called The Weekly 3- 3 rock solid ideas to business and life success!

 

David has taught thousands over the years in both the non-profit and for profit sectors and has coached hundreds of start-ups to make those important first steps. He specializes in teaching the 8 Keys to Success, How I got to Kiss the Stanley Cup and his new keynote called “A breakthrough-through the glass”- how to overcome the fear, plus he leads workshops in sales, marketing, market research, business plans, target marketing and customer service programs.

Smart business owners know they have to do more than just open the doors, to get business

 

good-management-equals-the-road-to-success

A few years ago, I took my car in to get new tires. I was working in Whitby at the time and was set to teach all day…so I took my car to a nearby tire store, and picked the tires I wanted at the price I had in mind. I mentioned that I would be back by 4 pm to pay and pick up the car.

All was well.

Sure enough my day of teaching ended and I walked down the street to get my car, new tires and all. My car was waiting for me and I shiny black…okay, not shiny, but I had my new tires installed perfectly!

I paid for the new set of tires with my debit card and drove off…

The experience at this tire store was okay, but not over and above the norm and not good enough for me to want to go back to that store.

A local gourmet food store in my neighbourhood, has great offerings, albeit off my menu plan, because the food is a bit too much for someone watching what they eat…and the prices are a bit higher than what you can pay elsewhere. Now, the service is okay, it is usually the owner that is the front person for this store, so you deal directly with him. He and I have chatted each time I am in and we have a bit of a relationship going, we have had pleasant chats over the years, talking about business, life, his business etc.

But for the past year, I have stopped going in. As mentioned, the food is good but a bit too rich for my diet plan and it is pricey!

I just didn’t feel compelled enough to go in anymore. Now this owner has my email, my contact info and well…he has not once reached out to try to pull me back in.

These are two classic cases of what small business owners need to be doing to get, keep and acquire customers.

Mistake One:

 

The tire store experience was good, but they failed to want to develop a relationship with me as a client long-term. It would have taken a minute, maybe two, to ask if I would like to be on their email list. That I should come back for rotations, alignments, balancing and new tires eventually too!

What if they said, “we want you to be safe and we can let you know when it is a good idea to come back in…plus when you need new tires, we can let you know of any specials…would you like to be on our list”?

Had this tire store done that, I would have been hooked for life perhaps. But they missed out on about $1000.00 worth of future business, by not going further and asking me for my contact info.

They let me drive off…with my new tires, chancing it that I may be back.

I have never been back.

My $1000, was spent elsewhere.

Mistake Two:

 

Now, back to the food store…if you notice your regular customers aren’t coming in as often, (like for months), what about reaching out…using an email to entice the customer to come back…give them a reason!

What about a phone call, saying, he we miss you, what happened, why aren’t you coming back so often?

Well in my case, the price was an issue and the food choices were too tempting and not on my meal plan. Mind you, they sell Kasha and it is about triple what a grocery store up the street from me sells it for. I like Kasha, it is a healthy side dish with fibre…

My buying habits have changed.

The food store isn’t meeting the changes or staying close to see how perhaps they need to adjust as well.

If you are in business, it is not enough to count on being good…or opening the doors for business, you need to develop relationships, stay close to your customers, get feedback, be in communication with your clients, but not to a point where you turn your customers off…

This week, call your current clients, say hello, check in with them, ask how they’re doing, see what needs they might have coming up or how else you might be able to help…and watch your sales come back, big time.

Oh and while you are it ask your current clients for a referral and reward them for that referral…and I promise you, your sales will grow and you will have customers for life.

Look at each customer not as a one time only transaction, but as a lifetime full of transactions!

Make it a profitable week!

Cheers/David Cohen

 

 

Bio:

David is an author, business coach and facilitator, he works with the City of Toronto, heading up an entrepreneur training program with inner city youth and adults, he is also the former host/producer and creator of the Small Business Big Ideas Show, a radio show heard weekly for over 9 years. He has 2 books, one called Bust Out Ignite your inner entrepreneur and the other is called The Weekly 3- 3 rock solid ideas to business and life success!

 

David has taught thousands over the years in both the non-profit and for profit sectors and has coached hundreds of start-ups to make those important first steps. He specializes in teaching the 8 Keys to Success, How I got to Kiss the Stanley Cup and his new keynote called “A breakthrough-through the glass”- how to overcome the fear, plus he leads workshops in sales, marketing, market research, business plans, target marketing and customer service programs.

Get to know your value and communicate consistently for amazing sales results!

how-to-be-successful

 

This week, I had a coaching session with a client, who is using Kjiji to advertise and promote his mobile auto repair business…

Now, I am not knocking Kjiji, but…the customers that were inquiring about his services were all about price, They were bargain hunters, bottom line.

Here is how to sift through bargain hunters and it is pretty simple and not time consuming, just ask what their budget is?

What would they like to spend?

Once you get an answer you can decide to take the deal or perhaps, you need to educate them on your value and why your price may be a bit higher.

In this clients case, he comes to your location and can fix you car. That to me is worth the convenience alone. He does good work plus he has to do some pretty hard lifting…getting dirty, or underneath the car, making accurate assessments, ensuring the job and your safety is taken care of…all of these factors or benefits go into his price.

Your job as a business owner is to know what it is that you bring to the table or to know what the key benefits are.

When you can share them with the client in a way that educates and informs, I can almost guarantee, that your client will have an “Aha” moment and see the value in what you do and may pay the price you are asking and deserve.

Simply, ask what the client’s budget is, then assess, and share the benefits of what it is you do.

One other key to negotiating is to truly know your business. know your competitors, know what they charge, (Competitors), assess the pain your clients are in as well.

If you understand what your competitors charge, you can share that information and then go back to the benefits of what it is you do and ask the client if your offering and price seems fair.

If you can assess the costs of the pain or challenge your client is facing, you can ask that is your price relative to their needs, pain and challenge, that they must solve or fix is worth the price you are charging.

When costing or pricing issues come up with your clients, always remember your value…

Value is the sum of your benefits.

In business terms, there are 4 key benefits to focus on.

1. Service benefits. What are the benefits of your service?

2. Product benefits. What do your products do for those that buy it? What matters to your customers in terms of both your product or service?

3. Brand Benefits…is there a benefit in the brand? If you are looking for an example, think of Heinz ketchup, the benefit is the taste, the consistency…you would be hard pressed to go to the grocery store and buy, No name, Hunts, and E.D. Smith, brands…however, French’s ketchup is grabbing market share away from Heinz, especially in Canada, since they make it in Canada.

4. Relationship benefits…what is the thought in your customers mind when it comes to you? A good example of a relationship benefit is the TD Bank. Remember those 2 older guys in their commercials a few years ago? Wow…did they drive home the relationship benefit or what?

You knew, the TD bank was open late, then on Saturdays and then on Sundays too!!! What is the bank doing opening on a Sunday? In my day, it was closed!

As a customer if you needed the bank to go to on hours you need, well you had a trust that the TD bank would be open when you needed it to be!

If you are scratching your head about understanding the benefits of your offering, look at these 3 areas for inspiration.

  1. Past success stories with your clients. What results have you helped your clients achieve? Ask them, they will tell you why they bought from you and how you helped them.
  2. Industry data. Let’s say you are in a certain industry. Your trade association will have data and reports on the impact your industry has in the marketplace, Be a student of your industry and share that information with your clients, For example a home organizer or office organizer can save the average small business owner 9 days a year from not wasting their time looking for lost files and paperwork. Each industry trade association should have this kind of information for you to use in your marketing and sales messaging!
  3. Knowing what is you do to help a client and get clear on the outcomes your clients get after they have used your goods or services…also, know your own personal story and how it relates to what it is you do. Why did you get into this business? Why should your clients buy from you? What makes you better, cheaper, faster or more unique? Get to understand yourself.

So, the next time you get into a discussion on price. Get educating the client as to what it is you bring to the table, How you help, How it works? That is a major learning point as I close this post. When you can clearly state, “This is how it works” and share what it is you do in terms of the process that you go through when you work with a client, all of a sudden your value and worth go way up.

In your mind, the “This is how it works” isn’t even worth talking about, because we take for granted what we do for the customer, because it is so easy for us. It comes naturally.

But, when you break it down for the customer, and share openly as to how it works and why it works, your customer will have a different understanding of you, what it is you do and how you get them from point a…to point b.

Next time, don’t haggle over price, but be clear as to what you bring to the client and how it works and they will now know that the price your asking is so well worth it!

Happy Selling!

Cheers/David

Bio

David is an author, business coach and facilitator and was the former host/producer and creator of the Small Business Big Ideas Show heard weekly for over 9 years. David has taught thousands over the years in both the non-profit and for profit sectors and has coached hundreds of start-ups to make those important first steps. He specializes in teaching the 8 Keys to Success, How I got to Kiss the Stanley Cup and his new keynote called “A breakthrough-through the glass”- how to overcome the fear, plus he leads workshops in sales, marketing, market research, business plans, target marketing and customer service programs.

5 things you need to do to have Great Results at anything you do!

how-to-be-successful

 

Last month, I did the Walk for Memories, to support the Alzheimer Society of Toronto…I do this walk for a few reasons, one is that my late mom had Alzheimer’s, two is it is in January, it is an indoor 2 kilometers walk, it is not that strenuous…in fact my walk to get to the Metro Convention Center, from St. Andrew subway station was maybe just as long!

 

 

 

Pre-walk events at the 2017 Walk for Memories Event:

 

16252550_10154822184576745_4106912471957644575_o

 

I also do it to break up the winter blahs, it gets you out, socializing and doing something good in our community!

The walk happened on Saturday January 28th, from 10:30-11:30 with a registration and some festivities ahead of that, that began at 9 am.

When I set out to do the walk back in December, I did a couple of things that I would like to share with you today.

One was I set a goal, a fundraising goal. I had a goal of $500.00…

The key part to the goal was once it was in place, just put it out there and let go. I canvassed everyone I knew, that were good friends or family and work colleagues to donate. Some people in those circles came through and of course others did not, due to personal issues, or perhaps they are “giving fatigued”.

The key is to ask, ask, ask…

But in the end, the goal was surpassed. I had raised $770.00

They key is to have fun with the goal, lose the attachment and maybe, just maybe you have to remind people a few times.

 

The other key success factor in making good things happen is to have a buddy. I walked with my good friend and colleague, (Bob), he too walked in honour of his mom. He and I walked the walk together, plus we had a friendly fundraising competition between us and we cheered each other on to reach and surpass our goals.

 

One thing asking people for donations did, was it gets you connected to them differently, you can share your story of the connection you must Alzheimer’s and you can thank those that donate.

The other key success factor is make it fun…make any project, goal, challenge fun.

While on the walk route, I was high fiving the volunteers, having fun with them, engaging…

Plus, I was joking with my walking buddy along the way.

 

See the goal in mind, have a buddy to help you through it, make it fun, do it with the right intentions, and I promise you that whatever you want to accomplish you will!

 

So, remember this as I close…to achieve good results, you need to tap into the following recipe for success.

Getting warmed up for the walk at the Walk for Memories Event:

16402870_10154822184571745_5503943944287559885_o

 

 

Goals:

 

Have an end or goal in mind, keep the focus on not only getting to your goal, but surpassing it!

 

Reason:

 

Be clear on your reason! Be clear on the why or the intention of why you are doing something. When you are clear on your why, and you remember that or remind yourself of that, you will overcome the challenges and obstacles much easier…

 

Enjoy the process:

Enjoy the journey! Make it fun, lose the emotional attachment and the notion that you must achieve the goal, but let the goal happen…just be in the state of enjoyment, whether it is work, a project, a challenge…seek to enjoy.

 

Ask for help:

Ask for help…ask for donations, ask for guidance, ask for support…it will make doing the work you need to do a little easier! Or get a buddy, or a team to join you, get that team involved, get an accountability partner to help you through it

 

Thank often:

For those that do help you, for those that do come along your journey, be sure to thank them. The other key people to thank were the volunteers that helped. One of my good friends was a volunteer, he told me he got up at 4 am to be at the Convention Centre for 7:45 am. It is so important to thank those along your journey, not just the people that donate money, but the people that are involved in your work, project, or challenge…

I say, have an “Attitude of Gratitude”!

 

When you add these all up, you get “GREAT” results!
Good luck on what it is you want to achieve in the year, days and months ahead!

Cheers/David Cohen

 

 

 

David is an author, business coach and facilitator and was the former host/producer and creator of the Small Business Big Ideas Show heard weekly for over 9 years. David  has taught thousands over the years in both the non-profit and for profit sectors and has coached hundreds of start-ups to make those important first steps. He specializes in teaching the 8 Keys to Success, How I got to Kiss the Stanley Cup and his new keynote called “A breakthrough-through the glass”- how to overcome  the fear, plus he leads workshops in sales, marketing, market research, business plans, target marketing and customer service programs.

Note: The picture of the mountain climber was taken from Google Images…it’s purpose is to re-inforce successful thinking and not for commercial gain.

Ahh, it is winter and the living is “EASY”

 

beat-back-the-winter-blahs

 

John Lennon once wrote and sang, “Whatever gets you through the night” and as we are now fully into the winter season, I would like to adjust the lyrics to that great song title slightly to this, “Whatever gets you through the winter.”

Let’s face it, winter in Canada or even the Northern West, Central and Eastern parts of the United States, face some tough winters weather wise.

Plus, even though more light is returning, it is still fairly dark out and somewhat cloudier when we do have day light hours.

So, how can we get through this season, With our health, sanity and optimism for spring to arrive still intact?

The answer is EASY…so to speak, here are some life affirming ideas that can help you make it through the night but also the winter season! 

 

Exercise:

To me, one of the key things you must do is to exercise. There are no exceptions, you must exercise, even for 30 minutes a day. Do a walk, ride an indoor stationary bike, stretch, do a yoga or Tai Chi class, swim, just do something to get your heart and endorphins going. Those endorphins help adjust your mood…and you will notice a bit of a high after you have done something physical.

I need to add the importance of eating right too…make sure you eat your veggies and fruits, take your vitamins, watch the carbs or they will be there next summer when you go to the beach and ask yourself, my oh my, how did my legs get larger?

 

 

Assist others-give back:

 

When you give to others, it tends to make you feel good. Do you notice that when someone you help smiles back and thanks you? Isn’t that worth the while? Find a cause that sparks your interest and give some time to others during the winter. (For the rest of the year too)! Do something you have passion for, for example, you can be an assistant hockey coach, mentor youth entrepreneurs, help seniors who need assistance in their day-to-day living, you can help at a hospital, a day care, a non-profit organization to assist the people they serve. Trust me on this though, it does your heart and mood good to give back a little…even a day or half day a month helps someone or an organization so much!

 

 

 

Sleep Get your Rest:

This is vital, especially this year, with a higher than normal flu season, get your rest, make sure your resistance is built up and you aren’t worn down. If you aren’t sleeping soundly, then talk to your doctor and maybe book a sleep study to determine why you aren’t getting enough sleep. I don’t mind a nice nap too on the weekends…it is winter, it is time to hibernate a little and a nap is a mini-hibernation and kind of like a mini-vacation too in a way.

YES! Say yes to 2 new things to start the year!

 

I have a confession to make. I have just said yes to doing two new things this year…one is I registered to take an improv class and my goal in one to three years is to begin to perform improv…even at my age, I believe you must and can have fun and I find the true art of improvising, taps into your creativity, communication skills and helps you learn. I said YES, to taking improv this winter and it starts at the end of January.

I am also saying yes to meeting a friend or colleague once a week (Sunday’s) for coffee. This gets me out of the house and out there…once I am out, I can exercise at the gym, do some errands and yes, I may have to layer up and dress warmly to beat the cold and give old man winter a good “what for”!

Say yes to something new this winter/year and see how your life improves. Challenge yourself to take a course, learn, meet someone you like or love over tea or coffee once a week. Make some social goals easy, fun and part of your week and life!

 

take-life-easy

 

 

Can we make it through winter? YES, we can and it is “EASY”

 

Exercise

 

Assist others

 

Sleep-get your rest

 

YES-say yes to 2 new things (that must be fun)

 

 

 

David is an author, business coach and facilitator and was the former host/producer and creator of the Small Business Big Ideas Show heard weekly for over 9 years. David has taught thousands over the years in both the non-profit and for profit sectors and has coached hundreds of start-ups to make those important first steps. He specializes in teaching the 8 Keys to Success, How I got to Kiss the Stanley Cup and his new keynote called “A breakthrough-through the glass”- how to overcome the fear, plus he leads workshops in sales, marketing, market research, business plans, target marketing and customer service programs.

I am all about having a big vision and being bold, but you may need a dose of reality too!

tap-into-the-field-of-your-dreams-in-2017

Have a Mighty Fine Vision, but be sure to take those little steps along the way

As this new year begins, and you have taken time to set some kick ass goals this year…it is also important to know that although you might have a big vision in store for 2017, that sometimes you have to modify the vision. You just might have to scale back—at least for a little while, especially when you are just starting out.

For example, you might dream of opening a retail gift store but with that comes a lease, inventory, advertising costs, heat, hydro, phone, Internet, packaging supplies—the list of your costs is as long as your right arm.

So, you’ve got to ask yourself if you can afford it all. And if you just can’t then scale back, start smaller, consider a joint venture—team up with someone else who might be open to sharing their space and contacts; they might even be open to sharing the costs of your start-up.

I worked with a business owner who had a big vision to open a gift store but the costs and the challenge of finding a good location were big obstacles to overcome. This client had money to invest (about $35,000) and could obtain financing at a bank but when it came down to the concept for the store or the kinds of gifts she’d focus on she drew blanks.

The coaching she got was to scale back. I suggested she begin smaller. I advised her to begin with a gift basket company that she could run out of her home and steadily build a client base. Once that client base hit a critical mass then she could begin to look for a location for her clients to come to.

A home-based business was still along the lines of her vision but the expenses and risk were much lower. She would have the ability to “grow” into the big vision over time without risking her assets and possibly her confidence.

You see having a vision isn’t all just airy fairy stuff…it’s about tapping into your own inner wisdom to know how far you want to go. Take baby steps, know your risk tolerance, have a plan and set little goals along the way.

Even if you are aiming for a personal goal, like losing weight, you lose a pound a week and guess what? 52 weeks from now is 52 pounds!!!

If you’re driving from one end of the country to the other you don’t expect to get there immediately. You make the trip in with time outs to stop and get a Tim Horton’s coffee along the way, stopping, enjoying the trip and all the towns, the scenery and the people.

What is that question? How do you eat an elephant? (Not that you should)…but you eat one bite at a time!

So for sure, dream big in 2017…but be realistic too…grow into your new goals…stay focused, follow your heart, tap into your joy, take care of today and plan what needs to be done tomorrow…it will all work out, I promise you that!

Now go make 2017 a truly happy new year!

WORKSHOP

Ok, it’s time to do some work…

1.   How can you create time for more balance in your life?

2.   Who can you get to help you with the various aspects of running your business that you don’t really have a passion for or care to do?

3.   Who can mentor you?

4. Who can assist you on those personal goals? Who can help you?

5.   When will you have completed these three things?

BIO:

David is an author, business coach and facilitator and was the former host/producer and creator of the Small Business Big Ideas Show heard weekly for over 9 years. David has taught thousands over the years in both the non-profit and for profit sectors and has coached hundreds of start-ups to make those important first steps. He specializes in teaching the 8 Keys to Success, How I got to Kiss the Stanley Cup and his new keynote called “A breakthrough-through the glass”- how to overcome the fear, plus he leads workshops in sales, marketing, market research, business plans, target marketing and customer service programs.