Benchmark Business Group

Business Owner Newsletter - 2010 Archive

December 6, 2010

The month of December is known for many things, most notably the Holidays, the official beginning of winter, and as a time for many celebrations and social gatherings. If you’re a business owner (and even if you’re not), you could probably categorize most of your December activities in the following two ways: (1) completing tasks and goals by year-end that have piled up from earlier months due to procrastination, and (2) creating that ever-increasing list of intentions to do or start things that can wait until after the first of the year but you always have and certainly do intend to do them and know you should do them but simply haven’t gotten around to them in spite of the fact that your life would be a whole lot easier, healthier, more efficient, more successful had you simply done it but procrastinated instead. (I’ll punctuate that sentence later, when I have more time.)

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November 1, 2010

The secret to success in anything—business, sports, raising a family, pursuing a hobby, or whatever—begins and ends with attitude.  To say it another way, your point of view will determine how you see things, how you think about things, how you react to things, and how you act upon them.  The success of businesses that have had the extraordinary advantage of an E-Myth Business Coach, and indeed the success of the E-Myth Mastery Program itself, can be attributed to a point of view.  We call it simply the “E-Myth Point of View”, or in shorthand, the EMPOV.

There are five core principles that make up the EMPOV.  The first is the Principle of Life, which begins with the simple premise that your life is really your only business.  The purpose of starting and owning a business is to give you more life, however you may define that.  It could mean more money, more freedom, more enjoyment, more time to spend with your family or friends, more satisfaction from doing what you love, more control over your destiny, and so on.  Most business owners, however, find themselves experiencing just the opposite.  Instead of having a business that gives them more life, they have a business that is literally consuming their life!  They’re not really running their business…their business is running them.  Is your business giving you more life?

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October 4, 2010

A proper Income Statement shows those disbursements that are generally deductible expenses for income tax purposes, but does not show certain types of disbursements, such as principal payments on loans, or the cost of acquiring a major piece of equipment.  The Balance Sheet gives you a snapshot of the business' worth, based on what are called "Generally Accepted Accounting Principles", but there is a lot that a Balance Sheet does not tell you about the true condition of your business.  In short, Balance Sheets and Income Statements are exactly what your accountant wants and needs to see in order to properly prepare the business' tax returns, but they don't tell you all of the story you need to know in order to run the business on a day-to-day basis.

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September 6, 2010

There are volumes written on leadership, and quotes that end to end would circle the earth several times.  In spite of the volume, there are only a very few basic themes that keep repeating themselves.  Those themes involve clarity of vision and purpose, an ability to move others to action, and an ability to draw out the greatness that already exists in others.

I once asked a retired CEO of a regional bank how he would describe his function in his former position.  He simply said, “I was the Keeper of the Flame”.  That was both an exciting and intriguing response, so I pressed on with more questions.  He described his view of leadership in that position as creating real clarity around the overall results the organization wanted to achieve…the end-game, if you will…the final picture.  To complete the picture, it then had to be imbued with a clear sense of shared purpose and value, so that it became like lighting a torch…a Flame.  It has an aura of something bigger that any one person in the organization, even the leader.  He then had the job of continually reminding everyone in the organization of the Flame and it’s meaning, and using the Flame to shine a light on all the activity in the organization, to the end that the final picture would be achieved.

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August 2, 2010

Your customer is your businesses' lifeline to success, and through meeting the needs of your customers, you will be meeting the needs of your business.  Discover and learn everything you can about what fulfills your customers:  their desires, needs, expectations and goals. Learning and discovering all you can about fulfilling the needs of your customers is accomplished through sincere, well thought out questions; then listening with an open, caring and non-judgmental point of view.

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July 5, 2010

Several years ago, after going through month after frustrating month of unsuccessful sales conversations, a great friend and mentor gave me some advice that completely changed my world.  He said, "Why don't you stop selling and start solving problems?"  For me, that caused the lights to go on in several parts of my stubborn brain, including the part that regulates anxiety.  What a relief!  I don't have to try to sell anything at all...I just have to help people satisfy their needs and solve their problems!

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June 7, 2010

Lead generation is the continuous activity of sending the right messages to the right markets, through the right delivery channels to gain attention, elicit a response and earn you a qualified lead.  Count them - that's three rights

  • The right message
  • To the right prospects
  • Through the right channels
 

Two rights and one wrong will not get you the lead generation results you need!  If any one of these three rights of lead generation aren't working, then you've lost the ability to motivate the right prospects to see your message, or if they see it, to have enough interest in your message to respond to it. 

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May 3, 2010

Due to the changing economic climate, many companies have experienced either no growth, or worse, a decline in revenues from previous years.  There is nothing quite like a loss in revenues to prompt a company to take a hard look at their branding.  Branding is the process of creating an identity in the marketplace, one that is a reflection of your company, not just what you want your company to be.  Once your brand is identified and you build the marketing messages and sensory package that supports your brand - you need to ensure your company can live up to it.  The experience you provide your customers must equal or surpass the expectations your brand creates. 

Rebranding to position your business to new markets or to reposition your business in the same market can be a risky strategy.   A dramatic rebranding may result in some loss of current customers.  For example, if you currently attract upscale professionals approaching retirement and you change your brand to appeal to young value minded families, you may lose the appeal you have to your current customers.

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April 5, 2010

In our work with hundreds of small businesses we have consistently coached our clients to step forward and take the action that will result in their success.  The action they take is within their control.  There are and always will be circumstances beyond or outside of our control – so I’ll tell you what we tell our clients; move on to what you can control.

There are far too many management opportunities to impact the way your business operates to waste any time on blaming things outside of your control.  Generally when something outside of your control significantly impacts your life or business it’s because you weren’t paying attention to what is inside of your control!  If you or others around you are spending even the teeniest bit of energy on pointing to things outside of your control for impacting your business you need to stop blaming and start changing!

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March 1, 2010

It's March, 2010-Month Three.  What!?  Already!?  The year has barely begun!  Two-twelfths of the year is gone!  Seventeen percent of the time you had to achieve your business results for 2010 has vanished, and the critical question is:  How are you coming on your business goals for 2010? 

Do you even remember what your goals are for this year, or has that slipped by with the time? Can you find where you wrote them down?  If so - congratulations!  If not - get with it!  That is, unless you'd like to end this year without achieving a fraction of what you'd hoped for.  Your 2010 business goals should drive the activity generated by your business.  Once identified, they should be your guiding light for decision making and set the tempo for what takes place in your business throughout the year.

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