Episode #116 – Small Opportunities Rock!

My third day of college I was practicing my baton twirling in an open gym on campus.  It was a smaller campus so the open gym was also the gym used by all major athletics.  This was a rare moment that the entire gym was silent.  I was just messing around, I didn’t have any intention of twirling for the college, I just wanted to work out.

Twirling is a rare sport and when you practice people will stop and watch.  This day, I could see there were plenty of people that walked down the hallway… but then there was this shorter man, not a traditional “college age” guy, wearing a white shirt and tie.  He walked past the doors and then walked backward to watch.  After about a minute he came in the gym.  He introduced himself as the athletic director of the campus and said, “you’ll do this at the game on Saturday” and thus my twirling career kicked up a notch.  Had this encounter not happened, I would not have continued practicing and competing.  I would not have twirled at the Super Bowl nor would I have won a national title.

This opportunity was small. But I said yes.

I was prepared for this because my coach told me at age 11, if anyone asks you to perform you say, “yes.” She meant the people walking down the hallway… when they watch, do something worth watching.  She was right.

No opportunity is too small.  However, do not go against your own values.  For example, I get people that write in asking if I’ll donate a dog collar for their charity.  I have no idea who they are, they’ve never bought a collar, and quite frankly, no.   Does this go against my believe in not turning down a small opportunity, absolutely not, if it feels like you’re getting used, you probably are.

Here’s how to control the “free” and “charities”.  Create an application that includes a one or two paragraph essay.  On the application specifically state the charities and causes you support.  That means you need to pick a cause/charity that is in line with your beliefs or your business beliefs.  It is a good to give back.

BTW… this technique works fantastic when someone asks for a donation, and it’s the 8th person this month, you can say here’s my application.  Trust me, they won’t fill it out.  You do NOT need to give to every person that walks in your door.  However, I actually give “points” to those that make an in-person visit… people actually fill out my online form and ask for donations!  How lazy can you be?

Anyway, I’ve gotten a little off track.

Small opportunities add up… this is the reverse thinking of setting a big goal and breaking it into small pieces.  The difference is breaking down the goal puts you in control of achieving the big goal… where as the small opportunity is a surprise and you don’t know where it will lead.  It’s like finding a penny on the ground.  It’s small and you pick it up.  Now double that every day… by day 28 you have a million dollars.  Don’t believe me?  Click Here!

Don’t walk by that penny! (Here’s another way to make a million dollars by breaking things into smaller chunks)

PS: if you like my post … give it a “like” (thanks ahead of time)!

Action Step
1- Create a donation application for your business.  Come up with the charities and causes you support.  Then create an application that highlights the goals/values in alignment with your business in addition to a one to two paragraph essay question.
2- Be on the look out!  When an opportunity presents itself… say yes!
3- Install my free app! (SmallBusinessClubApp.com)

Listen to Episode #116 of the Two Minute Commute audio blog Podcast

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Two ways to get more Small Business Tips …
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B- Subscribe to my blog at BigFishIdeas.com

Episode #115 – Develop a New Profit Center Based on Creativity!

“Those who can create, will create. Those who cannot create, compete.”

Do you create?  This is an important distinction in the thurvival of your business.  Look, I made up another word!  You know the saying did you survive or thrive?  I’m asking about your thurvival skills.  The ability to thrive instead of survive.

The reason this is important is because if you create you control your future.  If you do not create you basically have to wait for someone else to “think it up” and compete with them.  While you can survive at this tactic, you will never thrive.  So your thurvival is based on your ability to create.

This does not mean if you create you do not have to compete.  You will compete.  It’s just that others will compete against you while you will compete with others.  There’s a big distinction there.  It is much better to compete with vs. against others.

When you compete against someone you are not developing better product, you are simply reducing a price or shipping cost. It’s survival.

If you compete with someone you are developing a new modification, use, choice, or upgrade.  It’s creative.  It allows you to thrive.

There will always be a moment of pricing competition in your business and you will always carry products that others sell.  So how do you become creative?  Add a new profit center that is distinctively yours.  In the recretainment industry (a business that works in both recreation and entertainment) such as marinas, ski resorts, RV Park, wedding planners, real estate, dance studios, bakeries, movie theaters, weight loss/gyms, orthodontists…  create a destination product.  Create something that only your business sells.  This could be featuring products of a local artist, selling a special regional T shirt, creating a private label product, featuring your own logo products, or making your service into a “system”.  Because your business has an entertainment aspect… the great part is, you will have visitors, thus the ability to have a unique destination product.

Again, your core business will be competitive but instead of competing on pricing, look to creativity and find your thurvival advantage.

PS: if you like my post … give it a “like” (thanks ahead of time)!

Action Step
1- Use creativity to develop a new profit center based on a destination product for your recretainment business  – it can be a simple T shirt and Hat that is unique to your local area.
2- Read the book, “The Science of Getting Rich” by Wallace Wattles… it’s AWESOME
3- Install my free app! (SmallBusinessClubApp.com)

Listen to Episode #115 of the Two Minute Commute audio blog Podcast

Love this saying?  Buy it on a 12″ x 12″ Canvas “Social Square” wall hanging!

Two ways to get more Small Business Tips …
A- Install our Free App (SmallBusinessClubApp.com –Apple or Android )
B- Subscribe to my blog at BigFishIdeas.com

Episode #114 – You Can’t Buy a Chicken Sandwich with “Likes”.

“Hello. I’d like to order a plain chicken sandwich, regular fries, and a large diet soda…please”, I said.  The order taker said, “That will be $8.47.”  I said, “But all I have are 4 likes, 2 shares and 21 followers”

She called, “NEXT.”

Last time I looked, “likes” were still NOT a commodity.  And yet, small businesses have fallen into the trap that they mean something.  It is the silliest thing!  I’ve done it.  I hear others doing it.  But when it comes right down to it, you cannot buy a chicken sandwich with “likes”.

However, if you have an email list of engaged followers, you just might be able to put food on your table.  For example, last week I sent out an email about these really cool, new, folding floating mats.   It’s a very specific product for our boaters.  Well, the simple email I sent out generated one sale!  That IS something that WILL pay for a chicken sandwich.

At one point the buyer probably liked or continues to like my posts.  They may share my posts.  They are a follower.  But what really matters is they are on my email list.  I was able to craft a message that was useful to a group of boaters.  It was not spam.  The message was… “pre-order by tomorrow to receive by the weekend.”   It was a product they desired and there was no extra shipping if they took action quickly.  This person had been on my email list for a couple years.   This type of marketing is valuable.

You still can’t head to the fast food joint and say, “I will pay with 2,000 email addresses.” But when you can create an email and generate an immediate sale, Marketing is THE Profit Center.  Don’t get me wrong… it’s nice to know a post received likes, it’s awesome when someone shares it, and I love followers (hint… follow this blog – haha!  I know, shameless self-promotion). But it’s true.  Metrics make us feel good, and they do have a certain role in understanding IF we are communicating with our target audience.

Remember, your goal is to communicate and engage with your audience.  The likes/follows/shares will naturally occur.  But the REAL goal is to build your own list of email contacts, nurture these folks, and convert into sales.

That’s how you buy a chicken sandwich.

I think I love this quote…”Don’t measure what you can. Measure what you should!” PSheldrake – Yep.  I love it!

PS: if you like my post … give it a “like” (thanks ahead of time)!

Action Step
1- Build your list!  (I mean for real this time) Start collecting emails of your current customers.
2- Start to write messages.  You can’t just sent out a “buy now” each time, but when you create content that matters to your customer, the “buy now” opportunities will follow!
3- Install my free app! (SmallBusinessClubApp.com)

Listen to Episode #114 of the Two Minute Commute audio blog Podcast

Love this saying?  Buy it on a 12″ x 12″ Canvas “Social Square” wall hanging!

Two ways to get more Small Business Tips …
A- Install our Free App (SmallBusinessClubApp.com –Apple or Android )
B- Subscribe to my blog at BigFishIdeas.com

Episode #113 – Define Success On Your Terms

I had a crew member tell me that he liked getting a paycheck, he’d just like it IF he didn’t have to work to get it. He lasted about two more weeks and then he just “no show no called”.  Shocking… I know.  He is someone that simply doesn’t understand today’s inspiration.

“The only place success comes before work is in a dictionary.”

Or does he understand it?  OK, that would be giving him waaaay too much credit.  But hear me out.  Depending on your definition of success the receiving a check without working is ideal… I say this with caution because, again, it depends on the source of the check – if it’s coming from mom and dad and you’re living in their basement as an adult… that is not what I mean.  However, if you’ve worked hard and now invest the money and get a check – cool!   Notice I said “worked hard” – the man-boy didn’t want to work.

Let’s go further.

Question: How do you define success?
Answer: Any way you choose.

Success is based on what you want it to be.  You can live your life comparing yourself and your business to others.  When you do this you become “just like them” except you don’t.  You become a less successful version because what they did was original and trailblazing… what you do is copying.  If you truly want to be successful, define and blaze your own trail.  That way when you accomplish your goal, you have all the tools and success necessary to start off on another successful journey.

How do you create success?

You decide what you want.  The best way to do this is to set a goal and create a path to achieve it.  And if it’s a big goal, break it into smaller goals.  AND don’t just have one goal… have several!  It’s OK.  You’re running a small business, you know how to manage multiple projects and tasks.  Why on earth focus on one goal… your personality dictates that you can handle more than one thing at a time!

You don’t have to do multiple goals… but why wouldn’t you?  If it’s because you have more than you can handle and one goal is enough…  that’s perfect.  But if you are only concentrating on one goal because you read it in a book or that’s the advice you’ve always heard… then try multiple goals.  There’s nothing wrong with trying.

Here’s what I mean.  Create a goal to increase sales at the same time you create a goal to increase your personal contact with your current customers at the same time you create a goal to enhance your in-person experience.  Three goals.  If you switch to a goal setting technique it will be far easier to monitor your success.  Yes, it will take work to get used to this technique, but… if getting the bathroom cleaned daily becomes a goal, the goal does become a habit and you can next move onto the next goal of dusting one area of your store every day so the entire store becomes clean… and as you know “clean” will increase sales.

One final reminder… your goals do need to be specific, especially when you have employees helping achieve your goals.  If your goal is “clean bathrooms” this can mean very different things.  Create a check list, because it will help you know when success is attained.  PS: We just did this at our marina… and the bathrooms look fantastic!

PS: if you like my post … give it a “like” (thanks ahead of time)!

Action Step
1- Create a goal for EVERY profit center in your business – make it specific!
2- Develop your plan to achieve success… then start today!
3- Install my free app! (SmallBusinessClubApp.com)

Listen to Episode #113 of the Two Minute Commute audio blog Podcast

Love this saying?  Buy it on a 12″ x 12″ Canvas “Social Square” wall hanging!

Two ways to get more Small Business Tips …
A- Install our Free App (SmallBusinessClubApp.com –Apple or Android )
B- Subscribe to my blog at BigFishIdeas.com

Episode #112 – Make Money Now! Today is Powerful for Small Businesses!

Do you like where you are right now?  Then don’t do anything different.

Yeah, it doesn’t work like that.  If it did we would all still be enjoying CD’s and toting around the 100 envelope carrier that you didn’t dare leave in your car because someone would break in and steal it.  You realize that I left mine in the bathroom of the Midway Airport… right on the floor against the wall of the stall.  This was back in 1996.  I was on the plane, realized I forgot it, ran off the plane, struggled past people boarding on the jetway, got to the bathroom, discovered it no longer there, and got back on the plane… no questions asked.  Things were much different 20 years ago.

Some people would argue they’d rather have CD’s or even vinyl.  But the point is, even if you want to do things as you’ve always done them, life happens and so does change.

We cannot go back to a morning and evening newspaper and three TV channels.  Here’s the deal, today is better.  Although the finale of M*A*S*H had a 60.2% US household viewership.  WAIT! Ponder that for a moment… 60% of all the households in the United States doing the exact same thing at the exact same time… we just don’t get that anymore!  Now, that’s a loss.  Sure, we do get “viral” things where we watch “bear cubs on a slide”, but we never watch it at the EXACT same same time.

So why do I say today is better?  Because for a small business you can make money right now!  While the 60% of households is great for advertisers of major companies, it’s not good for small businesses. In fact, it would blow out your advertising budget.

But today… if you decided you wanted to make money NOW, you can go onto Facebook, right now and create an ad targeted to people 10 miles from your business and promote your product for less than $20/day. Again, you can do this now.  You don’t have to wait for next week’s newspaper deadline. You can do it now.  You’ve also got Google and Craigslist!

If you want to create a new product and not carry inventory you can do that too!  Here… buy an American Flag Hat, I made this a couple years ago, if you buy it, I make money.  My point is, there’s no inventory.  Hummmmmm with the 4th right around the corner, maybe I should create a Facebook ad to promote it??!!?

See what you can do today!

Imagine using the American Hat formula and creating shirts for your business… you can sell them online, and you don’t carry inventory.  You can utilize the power of “your list” or buy traffic (ads on Facebook), and make money now.

Again, it seemed simpler when small businesses could place one an ad in the Sunday Newspaper… but today, when you understand the different ways people shop and communicate, you can make more money.   But you need to remain open to learning.

PS: if you like my post … give it a “like” (thanks ahead of time)!

Action Step
1- Make Money Now
2- Create a new product or a new ad!  Use the advantages of “today”!
3- Install my free app! (SmallBusinessClubApp.com)

Listen to Episode #112 of the Two Minute Commute audio blog Podcast

Love this saying?  Buy it on a 12″ x 12″ Canvas “Social Square” wall hanging!

Two ways to get more Small Business Tips …
A- Install our Free App (SmallBusinessClubApp.com –Apple or Android )
B- Subscribe to my blog at BigFishIdeas.com

Episode #111 – Focus on the Basics for Small Business Success Now and in Ten Years

It’s hard to get out of your own way.  But it’s nearly impossible to look to your future without taking the baggage of your past with you.  This is why we rarely notice a technological improvement because the improvement really is just a modification of what we’ve been using… that is until it’s a great leap forward.

I remember the first time I used wireless internet.  It was the most freakish experience.  I walked around my living room hovering my hand over and under my laptop computer.  Seriously, I am the biggest geek!  I can’t believe I wrote that.  But I really did.  The internet is magical enough, I mean… going from dial up to DSL… that was a big deal.  Then… OMG!  No wires!   I’ll spare you my excitement when I walked outside with my smart phone and printed a document to my printer inside my house.  Serious geek moment.

Other than showing my geek off… I have a point.  What has changed?  I can stand outside and print instead of being next to my computer and print.  I still have to go to the printer and pick up a physical piece of paper.  What has stayed the same?  It’s white paper, black ink, and Times New Roman font.

Wrong question.

What did I want ten years ago that I still want today?
I want fast printing that is clean, clear, and crisp.

What will I want in 10 years?
I will still want fast printing that is clean, clear, and crisp.

Maybe in 10 years I’ll be able to sit on a raft in the middle of a tropical lagoon and just “think” print and won’t need a smart phone because the internet will just be in my head… but guess what, I’m still going to need a printer.

So this is your ultimate business success philosophy modified from Amazon.  Don’t be concerned with the changes that will happen to your business in ten years, focus on the things that will be the same.

Whew!
That eliminates a whole bunch of stress.

For example, if you run an online store.  Your customers currently like fast shipping with innovative products.  In ten years they’ll still want fast shipping and innovative products.  If you run a gymnastics club and the parents want an environment that promotes a positive and competitive environment… guess what… in ten years they’ll still want that.  If you currently own a doggy daycare that has a safe/clean atmosphere with extended hours, again… in ten years you’ll probably offer a similar product.

So, in ten years, gymnastics will evolve and new tricks will be developed, the doggy daycare may include drones that walk the dogs, and your online store might teleport products to homes, however, your basics will still remain.  Discover and focus on these basics.

PS: if you like my post … give it a “like” (thanks ahead of time)!

Action Step
1- What are the four to five things you do as a business now that you did 5, 10, maybe 20 years ago?  What are the core values?  Have they changed or are they the same?
2- How likely is it that these four to five things will still be the core of your business in ten years?
3- Install my free app! (SmallBusinessClubApp.com)

Listen to Episode #111 of the Two Minute Commute audio blog Podcast

Love this saying?  Buy it on a 12″ x 12″ Canvas “Social Square” wall hanging!

Two ways to get more Small Business Tips …
A- Install our Free App (SmallBusinessClubApp.com –Apple or Android )
B- Subscribe to my blog at BigFishIdeas.com