The cost of doing nothing

In 1876, the President of Western Union – William Orton, dismissed phones as a “toy” when Alexander Graham Bell offered to sell him the patent for $100,000.

Orton wrote an internal memo stating,

The idea is idiotic on the face of it. Furthermore, why would any person want to use this ungainly and impractical device when he can send a messenger to the telegraph office and have a clear written message sent to any large city in the United States?

I start with that quote because it’s clear how far off that prediction really was. The number of mobile devices alone in 2020 stood at 14.02 billion, with forecasts suggesting this is likely to rise to 14.91 billion by 2021

That prediction was far off the mark and perhaps cost Orton billions in passing it by. But we don’t have to be clairvoyants as leaders, simply willing to remain open, observant, and ready to learn, adapt, and overcome!

What I want to focus on today is the difference between ROI, which we all understand, and COI, which we often forget about.

We all know that ROI refers to a Return On Investment. And, it’s important for us to run a financial analysis before making decisions like purchasing a new piece of equipment. We do financial analysis on large decisions to determine if we can make our money back on an investment and to determine how long that will take.

We then decide whether to make the investment or not based on the time within which we can turn that around, pay off our investment and begin reaping the rewards from it. That we are not at risk of our cash burn rate exceeding beyond our cash reserves, and leaving is GROWING broke! – However, another challenge we face as leaders is the COI, or Cost Of Inaction.

What happens when we have a business problem (we may even know the cost of that problem), yet we fail to take action to resolve it?

I’ll give you an example:

I was speaking earlier this week with the Director of a legal practice. The company had one office that wasn’t performing up to expectations. Throughout the discussion, the director said, “Jay, we know some of this is cultural, and we just can’t figure out why.”

We talked about what it might take to solve this problem. Through discussions, we came up with a great plan, which the director themselves acknowledged would likely fix the problem. He had even taken it one step further and recognised that this problem was costing them approx. £250,000 a year!

But when we looked at what it would take to get that problem fixed and came up with the budget for it, his response was, “I can’t afford to do that.” I asked why not, and he said, “We haven’t budgeted that money out.”

(Keep in mind, the cost to fix the problem was a fraction of the £250,000 problem.)

So you’re willing to continue to pay £250,000 to maintain the problem versus a fraction of that to fix it?”

We determined that we could probably get the problem fixed in about 12-18 months. And that by around Easter 2022, they would probably have made their money back from an ROI standpoint.

However, the director failed to consider COI. Making a decision based on “We didn’t budget money to solve this problem,” and being willing to continue to lose £250,000 a year on a problem is the COI, the cost of inaction.

Here’s another example:

I worked with a business owner who wanted to design an incentive program for her employees that would help boost productivity and improve customer service. We discussed it, and she said, “I can’t put this in place right now. It’s probably going to take a couple of years to budget for it.”

If the incentive program were to self-fund and drive business results on top of that, wouldn’t it be smart ROI?” I asked

It’s absolutely smart ROI.” She said

“What would be the cost if you did nothing?”

I save the initial investment but get nothing additional.”

We were able to start to figure out how many customers she would lose if she couldn’t up her customer service game, and how much it would then cost her to acquire new customers to take their place. That was her COI — calculating out the cost it takes her to acquire new customers and multiplying that against her customer retention rate. By not making the investment, we knew how many clients she was going to lose and would have to replace.

In both scenarios, these leaders were savvy business owners. Unfortunately, they were only looking at one piece of the pie. Sometimes, as the leader, we can get a bit ‘tunnel vision’.

While I started off with a very evocative prediction by the CEO of a multi-national corporate, I also said we don’t always have to be clairvoyants; we just have to make solid business decisions. My definition for solid business decisions comes back to: What is the best thing for the business and the people in it?

We have to remember that our people are the ones driving our business results. Any investment we look at making in our people, if done wisely, is going to have a bottom-line impact for us.

Here is my final example of COI

Few people know the Kodak Company was the first to invent the digital camera back in the 1970s. They filed the patent but failed to fully develop the technology because they feared it would too greatly impact their sales of film.

In 2007, their patent for the digital camera expired. In 2012, Kodak filed for bankruptcy. They paid a huge cost for their COI in not jumping into the market and exploring the new technology, even if it were to impact their business short term.  They failed to acknowledge change and resulted in losing everything. I understand this is a lack of foresight, but their COI was bankruptcy.

I strongly encourage business leaders to look at their decisions through both lenses

If I make the investment, what will happen?

If I don’t, what will happen?

And finally…

I recall being invited to speak at the Federation of Small Businesses National Conference in 2012. Prior to being invited to stage, I’d been sat at a table with around a dozen other business owners, one particularly ‘stood out’ as he had chosen to wear a very vibrant purple colour suit with contrasting orange shirt. He had the entire tables undivided attention as he told us so enthusiastically that he was on the verge of launching his new business, that was going to revolutionise the online education space (remember, this was 2012). We were all ‘hooked’ on his every word, and wished him every ongoing success and that he must ‘keep us all informed as to his progress’.

A year later, I was invited back to the conference, not as a main stage speaker but to host a round table discussion.  As I arrived, who should i see in the car park, but a gentleman wearing a vibrant green suit with contrasting yellow shirt! I began to make my way over to him and learn of the progression he had made in the past 12 months,….. only to hear he begin to recite exactly the same story to another unsuspecting couple a few paces ahead of me!

The online education space was said to be valued at $107 billion by 2015, and is projected at being worth $350 billion by 2025!  And yet, I strongly suspect, I’m likely to bump into the same gentleman with the questionable attire telling me how that was “his idea” and had been “cheated out of his fortune

This is anything but a dress rehearsal my friends, and neither “Putting it off until…” or “Once I’ve …” is going to pay dividends to your dreams or plans of what you want from your business.

It is widely regarded as Einstein who declared the definition of insanity as being “Doing the same thing, again and again, still hoping for a different outcome”. I’d like to suggest that doing nothing towards progressing both you and your business, is already determining the increased risk of you and your businesses significance in the future.  The only constant in life is that of change. And unless you are changing, evolving, developing at the rate of change you are already getting left behind!

The reality is, you don’t know, what you don’t know. And not making the investment in you, your development, may not simply mean maintaining the status quo. As we saw with Kodak, a lack of continual investment cost them their company. So, make sure you’re calculating your ROI and your COI in order to determine your best course of action.

We’ve made it our mission to help and support 1,000,000 Business Owners to #ADDAZERO to their Personal Disposable Income. Enabling them to buy the ‘forever’ home of their dreams, take frequent and extensive holidays with their family and fall back in love with their business for what it is able to reward them with. To learn more, simply book a complimentary ‘virtual coffee’ with one of our award-winning SCALE mentors.


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9 things you MUST do to have a GREAT year ahead

Be more Gladiator

What have you been ‘putting off’ recently? What ‘excuses’ are you telling yourself as to why it’s not yet been completed?

How many times have you said either “Because of COVID…” or “Because of Lockdown…” Or “From January, I’m going to…”

Seriously. Whilst I try to ber as accepting of peoples circumstances, and meet people ‘where they are’. I’m really struggling to contain my frustration recently, as I’ve watched more and more begin to make excuses.

Yes, in ‘their’ head its a reason, a justification for the change in pace, the change in attitude, the change in focus.  But NONE of that will enable you to REALLY achieve all it is you set out to achieve.

Trust me, I’ve not seen many business plans that talk about:

Taking most of December off to go Christmas Shopping, get drunk at parties and spend a ridiculious amount of time in traffic jams!

Take another 10 days away from the business to buy easter eggs, have a egg hunt, and use it as an excuse for the first BBQ of the year

And take at least 6 weeks out over the summer, to ‘spend time with the kids’!

Whilst these are all admirable qualities and something I want you to be able to do for the rest of your life.  UNTIL you have achieved everything you want from the business, that allows you to achieve thid WITHOUT the business suffering as a result. NOW is not the time to go all sentimental on me, and miss the point.

 

There is no yesterday, there is no tomorrow, the ONLY time is RIGHT NOW.

And RIGHT NOW, It’s time to put your war paint on. It’s time to pick up the mantle. It’s time for the final push to the frontier. There is exactly 1 month to go until we shall be shutting the office doors on 2020, taking a WELL EARNT break after a very unpredicted and challenging year over Christmas and New Year. Ready to return refreshed and ready for an exceptional 2021.

But now is not yet the time to be discussing turkey and tinsel. We still have one battle left to conquer. I need to hear your war cry, as we enter the final days of 2020, I need you to find that extra surge of energy, that reserve we all have within us for a (Just in case). It’s time to summon all your strength, all your courage, all your might, and march forward with certainty and confidence.

It’s time to become a Gladiator

The time is right for a more heroic style of leadership. Desperate times lend themselves to the rise of gladiators. Instead of seeing today’s economy as a negative, executives should view it as an opportunity in disguise–a chance to position your organization for the inevitable economic upswing. Here are eight virtues of Gladiator Leadership.

Gladiators have a mission for which they feel real passion

Call it a purpose, an obsession, a calling: whatever the terminology, good leaders have a defining mission in their life. This mission, above all other traits, separates managers from leaders. In Gladiator, Maximus lived for the mission of killing the evil usurper Commodus and restoring Rome to the values that made her great.

Having and communicating a clear picture of a future goal will lead to its achievement. Dare to think great! Maximus helped his fellow gladiators see that they could overthrow their enemies and survive the horror of the battles they were forced to participate in. In business, a leader may create an “enemy”the economy, the competition, inefficiency-to challenge the energies of his or her people and give them something to fight for.

Gladiators lead from the front

Gladiators don’t dictate from the back. In the movie, both when Maximus was a general and a gladiator, he fought up front where the firestorm was heaviest. So does a good business leader. Working “in the trenches” shows that you’re not afraid to get your hands dirty, it helps you fully understand the issues your “soldiers” are facing, and inspires loyalty in your troops.

Gladiators know there is strength in teams

Where would Maximus have been if he hadn’t trusted his men to fight with him and cover his back? Likewise, where would you be without your employees? While the gladiator leader has the skills to draw people together, he doesn’t hog the spotlight. He has care and compassion for his team and wants every member to be recognized for his or her efforts. This is especially important in a time when the old style “command and control” structure is waning. Younger workers (Generations X and Y) tend to be loyal to their coworkers rather than the traditional “organization.”

Gladiators encourage risk-taking

In the Roman Empire, gladiators were expected to die with honor. Refusing to lie down and let one’s opponents win was bucking the status quo. (And certainly, killing the reigning emperor-however corrupt-simply was not done!) If a company does not examine its way of doing things, if it does not push out its boundaries, if it never makes mistakes, it may become road kill.

Gladiators keep their heads in a crisis

Maximus had to think on his feet and refuse to give into terror and panic. He faced the most formidable foes calmly and with focus. Business leaders must do the same. They must take a position and defend it when things go awry. Being graceful and brave under fire is the surest way to build credibility-a necessity for sound leadership. Gladiators don’t retreat due to the slowing economy, but look for the opportunity under their feet.

Gladiators prepare for battle 24 hours a day

Essentially, a Roman gladiator was a fighting machine. To stay alive, his mind had to be constantly on the upcoming battle. Business leaders, likewise, must be obsessed with training and developing their people in good times and bad. People need and want to hone their individual skills and “sharpen their swords.” Furthermore, good leaders must constantly learn what’s necessary to survive and unlearn the “old rules.” Just because a management style worked a decade ago does not mean it will work in today’s economy-good leaders evolve with the times.

Gladiators are teachers and mentors

Maximus taught his men the lessons they would need to survive in their new role as gladiators. In today’s rapidly changing environment, leaders must also teach and train those who may soon replace them. We are not necessarily talking about formal classroom training. We need leaders talking to people in the hallway, in the restaurant . . . everywhere. Everyone should be mentoring someone.

As a former rapid deployment soldier within the British Army, I know only too well the need for continual awareness. The constant training we went through in order that WHEN it mattered most we were (and still are) regarded as one of the most professional fighting forces in the world.

I beleive that is so, because of these 15 points, to which I now teach, coach, and mentor others to achieve within their businesses, that they also may reign victorious within their own growing business empire.

Gladiator lessons of Leadership

1.  Organization  –  Every part of the army is organized with leadership within each sub-organization to see that the job gets accomplished successfully. A certain amount of structure is needed in any organization to succeed.

2.  Process  –  There is a specific process used and replicated to achieve success. Each soldier knows their duties and is trained to handle them.

3.  Supervision  –  Soldiers and the processes are supervised to insure things are carried out appropriately.

4.  Motivation  –  The soldiers are motivated by having achieved success in the past and the goals that lie ahead with one final success in battle.

5.  Inspection  –  Generals inspect components of the plan and processes underway, they know that inspection is a key for success.

6.  Strategy  –  The Roman Legions have a simple, coordinated battle strategy that’s very effective. It takes advantage of each element of the army’s strengths and capabilities and attacks the vulnerabilities of the opposing force.

7.  Planning  –  Planning is obvious as you see the battle unfold. Everything works like clockwork. A great strategy won’t work unless you are able to plan and implement effectively.

8.  Providing tools and equipment for the job  –  The soldiers are well equipped and have the support they need to succeed.

9.  Trained employees  –  Action is methodical and coordinated, a sign the soldiers are trained to do their job.

10.  Backup  –  Maximus loses his sword as he enters the battle, but is quickly thrown a back up from a colleague. There is a mighty difference between a back up sword to carry on fighting, and a back up plan, which often means you don’t have full faith in the first!

11.  Delegation  –  Responsibilities are delegated to competent leaders within the army. No one person can do it all.

12.  Communication  –  Communication is key, from discussions with other officers, motivational acknowledgements to the foot soldiers, to the rally delivered to the cavalry. Even the fire arrow signal sent to start the battle is an example of communicating effectively.

13.  Leadership by example – Maximus doesn’t just bark out orders, he leads his cavalry into battle. The reason he has so much respect from all levels of the army is that he is willing to do what he asks of others. He leads by example.

14.  Treating others with respect – You can see mutual respect between the General and the men, it starts by the General sincerely respecting what his men do to win battles, even the lowest paid soldier in the army.

15.  Teamwork – Soldiers of each component of the army work together as a team and all teams work in a coordinated fashion so the army as a whole can be effective in winning battles.

I may have left the service behind these day, but never left being of service.  And still have that inner warrier within me, to summon the courage, the stamina, the tenacity to do whatever it takes to achieve what we set out to achieve.

What are your plans going forward?  Are you ready to STEP UP? Are you ready to STEP OUT? Are you ready to do whatever it takes to achieve more than you have already?

Are you ready to #ADDAZERO?

19 reason you SHOULD be in Mastermind

I recently posted on the 7 reasons you shouldn’t join mastermind. (Even though mastermind forms more than 70% of our business). So, in the element of fairness and transparency I’m sharing the 19 Reasons Why You Should Join A Mastermind Group

Most of us have heard this or a variation of it…

‘You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.’

Tony Robbins, Tim Ferris and countless others have all said it, the originator was the late Jim Rohn.

The quality of the people you surround yourself with will have a profound effect on your life, you’re thinking, your business.

  • What are your LIFE GOALS?
  • What are your BUSINESS GOALS?
  • Are they ALIGNED?

Are the people you spend time with helping you achieve this?

What is a Mastermind Group?

Napoleon Hill is credited with being the originator of Mastermind Groups, but the truth is Mastermind Groups have been around much longer.

Mr Hill had a very simple definition:

“The coordination of knowledge and effort of two or more people, who work toward a definite purpose, in the spirit of harmony.”

Joining a Mastermind Group is also about giving back and helping others. When I first joined a Mastermind Group I was a little concerned that I would not have as much as some others to contribute to the group.  But it soon became clear I had skills and experience that others did not and vice versa. The common theme was that we were there to share and help each other and there is something quite amazing about witnessing a business problem solved by the group!

A Mastermind Group is for business owners who want to improve their business and who are willing to put the effort in. A Mastermind Group is not a Networking Group or A Coffee Club – it is for individuals who are dedicated to the significant and sustainable growth of both them and their businesses and have the discipline to follow through.

Reasons to join a Mastermind Group

1) Create deep and lasting connections with incredible people.

The life of an entrepreneur can be lonely – Sharing your dreams, aspirations and challenges with a group of like-minded individuals makes it a lot less lonely! You will naturally raise your game as you spend more time in the company of these like-minded entrepreneurs – plus of course the average of the five people you spend the most time with will change – for the BETTER!

2) To Challenge Yourself

A Mastermind Group will challenge you to grow your business to its fullest potential. In day to day business activity it is easy to get side-tracked and way led – with a Mastermind Group you will keep on track.

3) Accountability

At the end of each meeting you will have an action plan, objectives you need to meet before the next meeting – which the Group will hold you to account for. It takes real discipline to succeed in any endeavour. Being held to account by your mastermind colleagues ensures you maintain the disciplined behaviour necessary to succeed in your business.

4) Brainstorming

Share your ideas and alternatives within your Mastermind Group. If you are not sure what to do next, what direction to go in, the collective power of the Mastermind will kick in and get you back on track!

5) Mastermind Feedback

Receive feedback from successful individuals on how to solve business issues. Perhaps you have staff issues or financial challenges – let the Mastermind help you resolve them. Remember in the group we all have the same goal – to help each other grow their business. There is no hidden agenda – everyone is on the same side.

6) Mastermind Support

Sometimes business is difficult, and the challenges can seem overwhelming. Perhaps you have a difficult employee or a legal problem – chances are your Mastermind colleagues have experienced the same issue. You will never be short of alternative suggestions on how to overcome issues. Additionally, you will develop deep and meaningful friendships over above all the business help.

7) Mastermind for Focus & clarity

Sometimes the day to day activities of running a business can distract us. The Group will keep you on track – just when you are losing focus, the group will remind you of your purpose and why you are in business.

8) Better Decision making

It is easy to put off a decision – but with a Mastermind Group you have your own due-diligence team to give you the confidence you need when making an important decision.

9) Increased Confidence

Better decision making means greater confidence – greater confidence spreads through your organization and inspires everyone to perform better. You will feel good. You will feel more confident.

10) Creativity

Looking for new ideas for your business? Have a new idea for your business? Want objective feedback and help with that idea? The group will provide more ideas and constructive feedback on your ideas.

11) Increased Profits

Many businesses leave money (profits) on the table – the purpose of the group is to help you take full advantage of all the opportunities that surround you and build your business into the huge success it deserves to be.

12) Discover new business partners and cross promotion

Collaboration is the name of the game. You may find someone in the group that is a perfect fit to work on a project with you. Or, you may be the perfect person to help another member as well. The group works together collaboratively, to achieve more together.

13) Mastermind – Think bigger

You can’t help but think bigger and stretch beyond your boundaries when surrounded by amazing people doing amazing things. Fellow Mastermind members will help you to see the potential you are missing out on.

14) Masterminds Expand Your Skills

Everyone in a mastermind group is unique in skill, experience and connections. Everyone is expert at something and as you interact with each other you will be picking up new skills and talents – all the time, working towards a definite purpose, in the spirit of harmony.

There is a special energy that surrounds a group of success minded individuals – an energy that lifts the individual and the group. In a Mastermind Group participants raise the bar by challenging each other to create and implement goals, brainstorm ideas, and support each other with total honesty, respect and compassion.

15) Masterminds and Helping Others

It was Zig Ziglar who said: “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want.” You will get great satisfaction from helping other business owners in their businesses.

16) Mastermind Hot Seats

The principle of a Hot Seat is that you get a chance to present to the group your biggest challenge or issue right now. For starters this helps you gain clarity on the issue you are facing and what you need help on. The Group in turn will provide you with a series of options and opportunities to follow up on and the person in the Hot Seat walks away with lots more ideas and solutions than they could generate on their own. In my experience, especially in bigger groups, not everyone will get an opportunity to Hot Seat every meeting – but even those not in the Hot Seat invariably walk away with new insights and ways of looking at things.

17) New Business Ideas

I have purposely not placed the reasons to join a Mastermind Group in any particular order – but on a personal level I would have to credit the generation of New Business Ideas as one of the biggest benefits of joining a Mastermind Group. These are ideas over and above anything I may have come across when brainstorming – these are completely new ideas, not even related to my existing business. Just being in the same room as all this superior business brain power has led to some of my best new business ideas.

18) Leverage the Explainer Effect

When you have to explain a problem to someone else, often, the solution becomes evident to you as you are explaining the problem.

There are two interrelated facets to this point:

  • By explaining a problem, you take it apart and examine it in detail, peeling away layers that maybe confounded you. You will also make new connections and improve your understanding of the problem.
  • Business Integrity and Sharing sensitive info in Mastermind Groups. Successful Mastermind Groups are built on trust, integrity and sharing. Naturally the format of Mastermind Groups means that you and your fellow members will be sharing sensitive information. It is important you understand the importance of holding a confidence. The Group facilitator will normally have established ground rules for the group that includes confidentiality. Typically, what is said within the room remains within the room!

19) Establish New Habits

Ultimately a lot of your progress will be determined by the formation of new habits. Experience comes with practice and repetition and only by eliminating or at least reducing old habits, and replacing them with a “new normal”, can you personally and professionally grow.

As can be seen this list is quite extensive and in my mind one of the cornerstones of the worldwide success and increase in popularity of Mastermind groups.

The harmony with the human psyche also explains why this type of social construct can be found naturally in all societies around the globe. All the Mastermind groups do is to harness the benefits and try to minimise the risks.

I strongly believe that if you want to be successful, you should at least consider becoming part of a Mastermind group to accelerate your professional and personal development.

Closing Thought…

“The key is to keep company only with people who uplift you, whose presence calls forth your best” ~ Epictetus, (the Stoic philosopher)

Intrigued, and want to know more?


9 things you MUST do to have a GREAT year ahead

Whilst I’m sure there many others sharing their gazillion things to do to feel better, here are the 9 things you MUST do to have a GREAT year ahead!

  1. Decide who you want to be a hero to?

For me, it’s my wife, paying clients and people thinking about becoming clients.

Now there is a notion that you should look up to your Hero! And I’m going to correct that straight away! You should never look up to anyone!

Looking up to someone, is putting them on a pedestal, and that will lead to one day them falling from it!  You see, we are only human. We make mistakes. And if someone has put you on a pedestal, not only are they likely to begin to idolise who you are, what you do etc. (Leading to an infatuation, and eventually obsession!) And this is removing identity of self and replacing with that of the person on the pedestal.  It’s how cults are formed and leads to a lack of confidence or understanding of who you are in favour of wanting to be ‘more like them’.

No, rather than look up to someone.  Once you have found your ‘Hero’ – Look into them!

Spend time learning more and more about what it is that determines they are your Hero.  Establish why they are your Hero? What specifically do they do, say, be, in order for you to see them in this way?  It might be easier in fact to choose a number of Hero’s so as not to become at risk of becoming too obsessed with one person!

Now consider what can you do, be, say for others to feel the same about you?

By looking into somebody, you learn about their characteristics, their intentions, their priorities, their vision, their values.  This enables you to understand exactly what it is that you are enamoured by and helps determine if this is something you can replicate.

  1. Be bold

Preserve the integrity of your business and keep out the moaners, whiners and idiots that may have slipped through the cracks only to then show their true colours.

It was Oscar Wilde who is credited with the quote

The only way to guarantee the future, is to create it

And in business terms, you will never achieve everything you want to achieve, far following others.  It’s time to step out, step up, step forward.

That also means we have to review and consider the influencers within our lives.  I’m sure you will all acknowledge that whilst people ‘mean well’ there are some that are currently holding you back.  Whether they intend to or not, there are some within your own community (sometimes even within your own family) that are preventing you from achieving all you are capable.  It may well not be intentional (although some do it because they simply don’t want others to achieve something they are either incapable of or unwilling to put the effort in to achieve) or they have no real understanding as to what is it your trying to achieve and so unable to help you achieve it.

There is rarely a bad time for a cull.  Maybe not physically (although I do go through and unsubscribe, from many groups, emails etc) but more that we review what have been the distractions that you simply can’t afford to take with you or carry any longer.

  1. Put distance between you, and negativity

There are two voices in the back of your mind one telling you can’t every achieve it, that you need to ‘calm down and get serious’ the other telling you to ‘grow, take action and evolve’!

Firstly, we have to learn that whilst there will always be two voices (If you’d like to learn more about this, I can’t recommend strongly enough the book: Chimp Paradox) However, if you want to embrace it this year. You will need to protect your identity and energy like your life depended on it.

Be ultra-mindful of what and who you watch, read and listen to. Get good at catching yourself out – wasting time and doing stupid stuff that isn’t ‘on point’ and within your plan. I refer to it as S.O.S. (Not in the Morse code Save Our Souls) but the Shiny Object Syndrome – the stuff that we fall into doing that’s not taking you forward, preventing you from achieving more than you have already.

It is only once we accept that true happiness comes from self-control and discipline, beating on your craft every single day, taking small and steady steps forward and seeing the improvement within ourselves.

  1. What got you to where you are now in life/business will kill you and or your business moving forward.

It really is just that simply.

If you want a different outcome, it starts with learning to thinking differently, and then doing differently.

Whether we like it or not, what got you here, may well not be enough to get you where you want to be!  One of the first ways to determine this is trajectory!

Look at the amount of time and effort you have been applying, and the results this has returned to you.  Now look at what you want to achieve, and the timeframe you have allowed yourself to do so.  How big is the GAP?

I can almost guarantee (and I’ve been doing this with clients all over the world for the past decade) there is always a GAP and its often far more substantial than the progress made to date!

It is only once we accept that to achieve a different outcome to the one we are in right now, we have to both think and act differently.

If we then accept that “We don’t know, what we don’t know” then we might also have to accept that to achieve a different outcome, to do different things, to think different thoughts, we might have to put ourselves in a different environment, with different people and learn different things, in order to subsequently achieve different outcomes!

  1. Don’t feel guilty for delegating work

It will put you in a stronger position and allow you to lead a more inspiring life.

Until you have an employee,…….you are one

It’s bold, it’s harsh but it’s true.

The fact is, despite wanting to consider yourself an Entrepreneur, until you have at least one person (Although I don’t  think that’s the right answer also) you are actually Self employed!  And whilst there is nothing wrong with being self employed, it also means (more often than not) that when YOU stop so does the income!

I’ve written a lot about TIME MANEGEMENT for Entrepreneurs (if you’ve not yet completed my Time Management for Entrepreneurs exercise, head to www.mytruenorth.club (sign up for free) and grab yourself a copy now. I assure you it will find you more time and help you with along that journey towards moving from an employee to an employer!

Delegation (when done well) is both empowering for the person you have delegated to whilst freeing you up to concentrate on working on the business not always in the business.

We first have to determine which tasks should be delegated and then who is the right person(s) to delegate to?  Both of these deserve careful consideration, as getting it right is liberating, whilst getting it wrong can cost you everything you have worked for!

  1. Build a team of trusted advisors to help you make better and quicker decisions.

Hire and trust people on their walk, not their talk!

This isn’t your family or your friends.  I guarantee you, whilst we consciously don’t think this, subconsciously you only approach someone to advise you, with whom you think is going to give you the advice you have already told yourself is the right advice, and with whom will support you and your idea’s.

Why would you ever go to (or return to) someone that didn’t support your idea’s…right?

My first (of many) questions would be: Are they fully aware of your goals, ambitions, dreams, and desires?

  1. Do they know you and your business?
  2. Your motivators and your drivers?
  3. Do they know what you have already done, and the results it has had?
  4. And do they know  that the advice they are giving is going to close the gap?

Until you can say with confidence YES to all those, then perhaps my theory about who you are taking advice from is true!

I have worked with hundreds (if not thousands) of business owners, and truly believe there are 5 KEY ADVISORS that every business owner needs within their team.  Without these you are most likely to either hit a glass ceiling or risk smashing through it only with devastating consequences as a result!

There is a great expression I remain most grateful to have been taught early within my Entrepreneurial journey

“The most expensive advice, is that given for free!”

  1. Stop making comparisons!

The main reason people get anxious about making more money is because you’re comparing yourself to someone else and losing track of what’s important to you. I know, for the first 10 years of being in business, it’s exactly  what I did, with some very poor outcomes!

Your goal isn’t to build a 6 or 7-figure business overnight. It is to become a better human being. The better you become.  The bigger impact you have, on more and more people, the more the rewards will come.

Money is not the goal. More money is not the goal. Impact should be the goal!  Simply by understanding that money loves to play the game chase.  The more you chase it, the more it will continue to evade capture as it plays chase with you. Learn instead to make you goal impact and money gets bored of not being chased, and simply comes to find you!

  1. Don’t underestimate the power of a well-rested mind

You’ll make better decisions in life and business. Every now and again, shut down the machines, disconnect and re-charge. Don’t feel guilty for taking time out. Sharpen the axe, there is much work still to be done.

I cannot tell you the impact this lesson has had on me in the past decade. The more time I take off work, the more work gets done!  The more I reward myself with time out of the business, the more effective I am in business.

It was Tim Ferris and his book: Four Hour Work Week that first sparked my interest into TIME FREEDOM.  It is not only something the super wealthy can achieve, or something you have to set yourself as a distant goal.  Everybody on the planet has 168 hours a week – period!  It is down to you, to determine how you spend those hours.

For as long as manuscript has been around, and regardless of which religion you may have been brought up around. There is always those who talk about time spent at work, time spent in prayer (or mediation) and time spent at rest.

When was the last time you gave yourself permission to take some time off.  Not just because it’s your Birthday, or Christmas and everyone is off, but because you can.  Throughout the next 12 months and beyond, I want you to start treating yourself the same as you do your most valuable client. (If not even more so). Time spent reading (or listening to podcasts) is valuable to both you and the business and shouldn’t only be done “When you have time” or “Between appointments”.

Going to the Gym is vital for both you, your fitness and the businesses future, so allocate time to attend frequently and make the appointment. Eating the right foods is crucial to both your health and your wealth.  Failing to eat the right things (and at the right times) is currently damaging you and your business.  The impact of a poor, unscheduled diet is far more reaching to the business than perhaps you currently give consideration.

I’ve chosen to go VEGITARIAN for the month of January each year , and then predominantly PESCITARIAN for the remainder of the year.  Furthermore, I’ve also chosen to abstain from drinking alcohol as I become even more laser focused on our mission.

  1. Try something NEW

I’ve already stated within these lessons, 2020 isn’t just a new year, it’s a new decade. There has never been a better time that to try something new.

Whether that’s sign up for a class at the Gym, or learn to play an instrument or learn a new language. It’s not so much about what you do, it’s about learning that the only constant in life is change.  And to create change within our business, we may first have to create change in our life.  Learning to embrace it, will ultimately help us create more of it.  And regardless of how fearful we are of change.  Understanding and accepting that to create different outcomes, we have to first do different things, and that involves thinking differently also.

A different environment, different people, different activities, thoughts, suggestions, challenges, considerations are all part of getting our different brain in gear, to deliver the most amazing new experiences.

On the 19th September 2019 I married the girl of my dreams. Someone I know now I was destined to meet, and when I did, knew within 20mins or so she was the one!  However, having just met her, I knew nothing of her circumstances, her background, her life.  I hadn’t been aware, she had also come out of previous relationship, and had chosen not to enter into another but instead to re-engage with her desire for team sports. And yet, through this had met and built a really strong team of close friends, one of which had spoken to her about a book she had just finished reading entitled “JUST SAY YES”.

The friend challenged her to say yes to the next 3 things that came up. And the very next day, I approached her and asked if we could go out on a date!

BONUS

  1. Be grateful

Take time to be grateful for the opportunity each day brings… the good, bad and the ugly. Learn to see the other side of situations. To unpick each and every experience, and to look at it from various perspectives.

It was Einstein who is noted as having exclaimed

“You will never overcome any problem, using the same level of thinking, as that which caused it in the first place”

We therefore have to learn to dissect each problem, each hurdle, each set of circumstances we are presented with, look at it from various different angles and viewpoints in order to find the solution. (Ironically, that is what Napoleon Hill turned into what we now know to be a mastermind)

Conclusion

Only by doing so will you find inside the ugly stuff are your biggest lessons, which in turn become your biggest blessing.

You see, life has a funny way of teaching us lessons.  Some are really obvious, but many more less so.  Unless we are continually looking at life as a series of lessons, we often fail to acknowledge they are, and prevents us from learning ‘life’s lessons.  This in turn often deems we don’t learn from them and find ourselves being presented with the lesson again and again and again! – Different circumstances, same outcome!

It is only once we can learn from each lesson, that ‘life’ allows the journey to continue and move onto the next lesson!

It was Einstein who is also reported to have said

Everyone should make many mistakes, only a fool makes the same one twice!

Certainly within my own research into more than 150 Business Failures did I learn many lessons (You can always learn more from failure, than you ever will from success) and it is from these lessons that we were able to create the #ADDAZERO Business Challenge and made it our mission to help, support, guide and hold to account more than 1,000,000 Business Owners dedicated to significantly and sustainably grow both them and their businesses with the aim to #ADDAZERO to their personal disposable income.

I remain enormously grateful for the lessons I have learnt.  From being medically discharged from the British Army, to being divorced by my ex-wife.  From my own battles with Mental Health to being made redundant from my last salaried job.  I am grateful for all these experiences, that have led me to become the person I am today. For these have all had an impact in shaping me into the man I am today, and for that I am eternally grateful.

What are you grateful for?


You might also enjoy:

How to make busy people say YES

Why saying NO, is good for business

When thinking big, isn’t big enough

PMA: What’s your score?

It is recorded that it was Confucius (circa 551 – 479 BC) that was the first to state:

“The man who said I can, and the man who said I can’t, shall undoubtedly both be right”

And far more recently in the mid 1920’s when Henry Ford added to this by stating:

For the man who said I can, shall find a way. Whilst the man who said I can’t, already has a thousand excuses

So today, I want to help you by examining your Mental Attitude, to understand why it is so important and how to maximise your potential simply by changing your mind!

What is Mental Attitude?

Various medical dictionaries define a Mental Attitude as: a complex mental state involving beliefs and feelings and values and dispositions to act in certain ways. And this dates to a phrase used repeatedly by one of my favourite authors: Napoleon Hill, in the infamous book (and on what I have based my business) ‘Think and grow rich’.

Throughout the book it discusses the importance of positive thinking as a contributing factor of success. Napoleon, along with W. Clement Stone, founder of Combined Insurance, later wrote Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude, defines positive mental attitude as comprising the ‘plus’ characteristics represented by words as faith, integrity, hope, optimism, courage, initiative, generosity, tolerance, tact, kindliness and good common sense.

It is that philosophy which asserts that having an optimistic outlook in every situation in your life attracts positive changes and increases achievement.  Those who practice a state of mind that continues to seek, find and execute ways to win, or find a desirable outcome, regardless of the circumstances. This concept is the opposite of negativity, defeatism, and hopelessness. Optimism and hope are vital to the development of PMA.

Optimism, Pessimism, Pragmatism, Realism – Which one are you?

Think of a time when things could have gone two ways for you. Maybe it was taking an exam, passing your driving test, or making that first ever sales call! Go back, and think about your attitude, your belief’s about self, your mental state at that time.

Were you confident or were you nervous? Were you weighing up the odds or did you have a ‘what will be will be’ attitude? How did that impact the outcome?

Your mental STATE determines your outcome

I want to share with you a very quick example as to exactly how real this really is.  On March 23rd 2020, the Prime Minister announced to the UK that owing to the rapid spread of the Corona virus, he was forced to placed the entire country into ‘Lockdown’ in order to get the spread of the virus under control to prevent the NHS from being overwhelmed with new patients.

How did you feel? What were some of the questions and considerations that you asked yourself at that time? What ‘state’ were you in when you first learnt this?

Within 2 weeks I saw entire supermarkets desecrated, as if people had been on a wild rampage to ‘stock up’ on things like toilet paper and dried pasta!  A clear sign that there were many who’s mental attitude was one of fear, uncertainty, trepidation…..and selfishness!  It was on April 25th that I posted on my social media:

“People shall be remembered long after a vaccine is found, for their actions through this crisis”

You see, whilst many thoughts only of themselves, there were others who were rallying around to help others. Food banks, shopping deliveries to the vulnerable, and when  Annemarie Plas, a Dutch lady living in London who started the ‘Clap for Carers’ movement that led to a country applauding the work of front line staff throughout this crisis.

But I want to go even further and share the story of 2 local business owners and their attitude to the crisis. Both own eateries, one a Gastro pub, the other a delicatessen, both on the same street, less than 100 metres apart, close to where I live.

When the country went into lockdown, both businesses were forced to close. And yet, at the time of writing this, one remains closed (and very unlikely to ever open again) whilst the other has more customers than ever before! – You see, whilst they both had the same opportunity (to have a rapid re-think on the means of executing their business plan in a way that was acceptable under the new working conditions) only one took up the mantle and pivoted their business. The Gastro pub was a great fun place to eat and hang out. It had a loyal following of ‘regulars’ and throughout both summer and winder was always a lively place to be. On the other hand, the delicatessen was relatively a new addition to the high street. It hadn’t been open that long before lockdown (owned by 2 polish brothers) and was still building up their reputation and following.

I am not sure what will ever become of the pub, whether it will be turned into a shop or maybe flats? Or whether the polish brothers have grown big enough to expand and take it on as a bistro! You see, it wasn’t loyal customers, and length of operation that will help survive, it is a business owner that responds positively to whatever circumstances they are presented and turns their deli into a freshly made home delivery service!

And there are countless other examples I read about EVERY SINGLE DAY, where the attitude of the business owner determines the outcome!

How many times have you been running late, become a little stressed only to find every traffic light on red! As apposed to driving into a busy car park, knowing there will be a space for you, only to find someone reversing out to leave, directly outside where you want to be?

Jay Allen, laughing

Here are eight tips to help you make that choice:

  1. Remember that you are powerful

Most of the time we have no idea what we are supposed to be doing, or who we are supposed to be imitating. I say “imitating” because this is what we do: We conform to the external environment.

We play roles and cover up our true selves by identifying with “things” that end up defining who we think we are. I’m a doctor, a salesperson, a secretary, a lawyer; I’m sad, happy, lonely, or miserable. I’m angry, jealous, afraid, and I can’t help it—it’s who I am.

The truth is, though, we are none of those things. They are symptoms of the sleepwalking disease. You are more important than any label. We are not our professions. We are not our feelings. We are not our circumstances. We are not even our mind.

What we are is far greater, far superior, far more important, and far more mysterious than our conceptual mind tries to define. This is why we are far more powerful than we think we are.

  1. Choose to embrace life

Let go and embrace the moment, whether it contains an obstacle or an opportunity. Stop fussing over trivial matters and start focusing on what’s really important to you.

Don’t go through life expecting things to change. Life becomes hard and unfair when we decide to complain about things rather than trying to change them ourselves. Wake up to the truth that life is not a practice-run.

Be bold and courageous, and make decisions that benefit your growth. Put yourself on your imaginary death-bed and realize that time stands still for no one. Start as soon as possible to make any necessary changes you may need to.

Take the first step before more time gradually passes by while you stand still stagnating. Your choice. Your life. Your responsibility. Your power.

  1. Realize that you get to control your reactions

We create our outside reality by the thoughts and beliefs we maintain about life in general. What we believe in our inner world, we see in our outer world—not the other way around.

We all have problems, and we’re often tested by circumstances outside of our control. Even though you may not be in control of what’s going on outside of you, you most definitely can control your reaction to those situations.

We have the power because our inner world (cause) affects the influence we allow the outer world (effect) to have on us. So next time you hear somebody mention that you have great personal power, know they are 100% correct. You have more control than you think.

  1. Know that no one is better qualified

We place far too much emphasis on other people’s opinions about us, often to the exclusion of our own. This takes away from our own personal power. No matter what anybody says about you, it doesn’t hold any significance to who you truly are unless you identify or agree with them.

Stop identifying with other people’s opinions and become aware of how you see yourself. Nobody knows you better than you do. Never accept another person’s reality as your own. Always believe that you can achieve anything you put your mind to. And, most importantly, never let another person’s opinion of you affect what you believe about yourself.

  1. Believe that you are more than enough

If you have to compare yourself to someone else, let it be a person who is less fortunate, and let it be a lesson to learn just how abundant your life truly is. It’s just a matter of perspective.

You may find that you are not entirely grateful for what you possess. You may believe that you need more than you have right now to be happy. If this is the case, then you are absolutely right—you will need more, and you will continue to need more.

This cycle will perpetuate as long as your mind believes it to be true. If you focus on what you have, and not on what you lack, you will always have enough, because you will always be enough.

  1. Love yourself

You have arrived. Everything you need is right here. Cut out the distractions, open your eyes, and see that you already have everything in your possession to be happy, loved, and fulfilled.

It’s not out there. It never was out there. It’s in the same place it was since the day you were born. It’s just been covered up by all the external things you have identified with over the years.

Be yourself. Love yourself completely and accept everything that you are. You are beautiful. Believe it, and most importantly, remind yourself often.

  1. Stay focused

If someone cuts us off in traffic or skips the queue at our local cinema, we may feel our blood pressure begin to rise and feel the need to react in a negative manner. We get uptight with other people’s actions, and in the end we punish ourselves for their bad behaviour.

We end up losing control over our own actions because of the way other people act. But we are responsible for our own action, regardless of how rude other people may act. If it’s hard to stay focused, remember: you are the one who loses in the end, if you lose this lesson.

  1. Journey well

We know life is about the journey and not the arrival. We don’t need to arrive if we accept that we are already here.

Be content with where you are today and don’t make the mistake of putting off being happy because you are waiting for the right moment to shine. Sometimes it takes a conscious effort to enjoy the journey.

Not everyone woke up this morning and not everyone will go to bed tonight. Life has no guarantees. Every minute you are living is a blessing that has to be experienced in the moment. It’s not always easy, but it’s always an option—a choice. Your choice.

What does this mean for business?

How many times have you been told (or completed) a SWOT analysis? I’m sure you are familiar with the phrase, first devised by Albert Humphrey at the Stamford Research Institute in the 1960’s.

A framework used to evaluate a company’s competitive position and to develop strategic planning. SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) assesses internal and external factors, as well as current and future potential.

And so, why would I strongly recommend NOT to use such a framework? Because the mental attitude in conducting one in such a way is fundamentally flawed!

How ‘excited’ and optimistic are you likely to be if you take time to properly conduct a SWOT analysis, when it instructs you to start by looking at your (and the businesses) strengths to THEN identify and list all of your (and the businesses) weaknesses!. Likewise, you spend time brainstorming, researching, and considering future opportunities only to then list all the potential threats. The finished document is more likely to fill you with fear and dread and reduce the chance of you ever making any real progress, because we have spent time building ourselves up, only to immediately knock ourselves back down!

However, before we completely disengage from this process, and write off the important work of Mr Humphrey. Instead, simply turn it around! From here on in, in fact; even more than that. I want you to finish reading this article, and then go back to the last SWOT analysis you carried out and do it again use the TOWS framework!

Start by considering all the potential threats to both you and the business. Do some research, give real consideration, form a long and detailed list. Now, begin to identify where there are opportunities? What could you do, to eradicate the threats? That might be taking your business in a different direction, appealing to a different target audience? Changing the method in which you conduct your business? But create a long list of opportunities that you could do.

Now move to weaknesses, what are both you and the businesses current weaknesses. What would you have to be mindful of, consider, what risks are there to do the things on your opportunities list? List them all, give real consideration to each and every one. Now you can establish both you and the businesses strengths what CAN you do that your good at and will have positive results for you, the business and the people you serve?

We may have used the same framework, but simply by turning it around, we have amended a negative mental attitude to a positive mental attitude, and magnified the likelihood of massive success!

And just before you go and apply this, there is one more thing: Where you place the apostrophe!

Remember Confucius quote from earlier? The only different between can and can’t was an apostrophe. So whilst your removing it from the word can’t….. reinsert it into the word impossible, and turn it into I’m possible.

Drop me a comment below and let me know what you ARE now going to do?

you might also wish to read:

Why saying NO, is good for business

How to make busy people say YES

What is your BFHAG?

Cash can’t catch COVID

Cash Can’t Catch Covid

Controversial maybe, but true never the less!

I want to start by statingI’m NOT unsympathetic to the hundreds of thousands of people who have lost their lives, or significantly impacted by this worldwide pandemic. I was one of the first to voluntarily enter ‘Lockdown’ and whilst the restrictions have now been eased somewhat, remain very vigilant as to ANY physical interaction I have outside my family/work ‘bubble’.

However I am becoming less sympathetic to those who are using it as an excuse to give up! Blaming COVID as a reason for throwing in the towel and cease trading!

In todays video I share some HARD truths about business owners attitude to the pandemic, and how IT is killing businesses, future’s, livelihoods. Beyond that of the virus!

Sure, the pandemic has completely changed the landscape the world over. And yes, as we learn to adapt to this, it has brought about a recession. However, recession is a collective mental condition driven by uncertainty and fear. and whilst covid is real, how you respond (or react) to it will determine whether you make it through this period of uncertainty in good or bad shape.

Grab a pad, pen and a strong coffee, as there are some GOLDEN nuggets in here you are not going to want to miss…