Dolphin Tank: Creating the Joy in Goal Setting

In this episode of Dolphin Tank called "Creating the Joy in Goal Setting," e4e partner Karen Hoffman introduces Kelly Kimberlin and her business. As a Life Master Coach, Kelley works with individuals to develop actionable goals they can work towards to achieve a fulfilling life. She asks the audience for advice to grow her business and receives valuable feedback any business leader can learn from.



Dr Dan’s 1 minute to Wellness: Flu & Cold Prevention

In this new episode of "Dr Dan’s 1 minute to Wellness," e4e partner Dr. Dan Fazio offers his expert advice on staying healthy during cold and flu season.



Living with an Attitude of Gratitude

In this presentation called "Living with an Attitude of Gratitude," e4e partner Andy Magnus discusses the importance of being thankful for what we have and how that affects our well-being. He explains how we can create our own positive habits and learn to receive gratitude from others.



How the Patient Experience Is Changing

In this presentation called "How the Patient Experience Is Changing," e4e partner Dr. Dan Fazio explains how health care in the United States is moving from a provider-centric philosophy to one more focused on the patient. He also discusses the strengths and weaknesses of American medicine, how to improve the patient experience and offers advice on how to live a healthy life.

3 Legal Questions Every Business Owner Should Ask Themselves

You probably started your business because you’re passionate about the products you make or the services you provide. The last thing you want to think about is the law and how it impacts your business. But the law affects your business, so you should be informed.

Here are a few legal questions that you should ask yourself.

Should I incorporate?

Every business’s operations create the potential for legal liability. Like it or not, it’s a part of interacting with the public and offering products or services to them. Do you have a retail store? Someone could fall and become injured while shopping in your store. Do you manufacture a product? Using the product might hurt someone or damage property. This sort of potential liability could cost you and your business a lot of money if it’s your fault.

One of the ways to protect yourself against the liability risks generated by your business is to incorporate. When you incorporate, you create a new entity that owns and operates the business. You
own the company, but the company owns and operates the business. In this way, you are legally separated from your business and the liabilities it generates. If someone slips and falls in a store operated by your corporation or limited liability company, then your company would be held responsible instead of you. This creates a barrier between your business operations and your personal

There are limits to this protection, however. For example, you are always responsible for your own actions [ liability-protection- torts/], so if you’re the one who mopped the floor and forgot to post a wet floor warning sign, both you and your company could be held liable when someone slips and falls. Also, you are responsible for obligations you personally guarantee, and in certain circumstances courts will disregard the company entity and hold the business owner responsible in what is known as “piercing the corporate veil.”

There are very few circumstances where it is advisable to operate a business without the protection of a corporation or limited liability company. Since every business creates the potential for
liability, your personal assets will be at risk unless you can mitigate all of the risks created by your business through some other means, such as insurance. Sometimes business owners decide that the potential liabilities created by their businesses are very small or they conclude that they have adequate protection from insurance. But it’s the rare business that shouldn’t be incorporated.

Could I be held personally liable for my company’s contracts?

If you haven’t incorporated, the answer is definitely “Yes, you are personally on the hook for your business’s contracts.” If you have incorporated, you shouldn’t be personally liable in most cases as long as you sign the contracts correctly.

When you do business through a corporation or a limited liability company, you should think of yourself and your company as separate persons. You don’t own or operate the business—your company does. You own the company, and you do things on behalf of the company such as sign its contracts, but you don’t directly own the business assets and you don’t enter into contracts on your own behalf.

When you sign your company’s contracts, you are acting as an agent of the company. That is, you’re acting on behalf of the company and not on your own behalf. In order to make sure that it’s clear that your company is the party to a contract—and not you—and that you’re signing the contract on the company’s behalf, you should clearly indicate that the company is the party and that you’re signing as an agent of the company.

This is usually done by listing the company as a party to the contract in the first paragraph and also in the place where the contract is signed, which is known as the signature block. You should also list your title (such as president) next to your name in your company’s signature block. If someone presents a contract to you that has your name instead of the company’s name in the first paragraph or in the signature blocks, you should have them correct the document before you sign it. Otherwise, it looks like you are the party to the contract instead of your company, leaving you responsible for the contract instead of the company.

Do I own my website?

So far we’ve been dealing with legal issues relating to liabilities, but there’s a quirky part of the law involving ownership of written materials that every business owner should be aware of. This
involves copyright law.

When you hire someone to create work product for your company, such as marketing materials or the code behind a website, rights to those materials—known as copyright—are automatically
created. That makes sense. What doesn’t make sense is that the copyright 3 Legal Questions Every Business Owner Should Ask Themselves in the person creating the materials—and not your company—even if you’re paying the creator specifically to create the materials for you.

This is the default situation under copyright law, which is completely opposite of what you would expect. Most people intuitively believe that they automatically own materials that they pay for.
But that’s not the case.

Although the default under copyright law vests copyright ownership in the creator of materials, this default can easily be overcome through your contract with the person you’re engaging to create
your marketing materials or your website. Your contract should contain a clause by which the creator assigns the materials to your company. It’s that simple.

Although you probably don’t want to spend a ton of time thinking about legal issues, you should consider whether or not to incorporate, you should be careful to sign your contracts correctly, and you should make sure that you own materials that you pay to create, such as your marketing materials and your company website. If you do these three things, you’ll be able to focus on why you started your business in the first place. And you’ll sleep better at night.

Every Challenge Has a Solution

In this presentation called "Every Challenge Has a Solution," e4e partner Cathy Sexton describes her four step process for overcoming challenges in the workplace. She explains how to identify a problem, find the core causes, brainstorm solutions and how to implement one specific solution.

Calm Amidst Chaos

In this presentation called "Calm Amidst Chaos," e4e partner Dale Furtwengler lays out a seven step process for dealing with stressful situations. He explains how he sets aside unhelpful emotions and the techniques he uses to find the core issues and the best solutions as quickly as possible.

How to Proactively Prevent Website Crashes and Recover from Disasters

Most people take websites and digital services for granted, and expect them to be available 24/7/365. And a crashed website can cost a business a lot of money. Some business models, such as ecommerce platforms, lose money with each minute the website is down. But even if you don't sell anything online, a crashed website could be costing you brand reputation, trust with your audience, leads that are trying to find your business, and repair costs.

Instead of leaving things to chance, it's better to proactively take measures that will minimize downtime and ensure that your website doesn't crash in the first place. It also pays off to make sure that you've taken measures to recover if the worst should happen. Use the following tips, tools, and techniques to help minimize the chance of an outage, and to recover from one if your website crashes.

Use Website Security Tools

The best way to thwart hackers and viruses is to prevent them from tampering with your website in the first place. Any web administrator or small business that's trying to grow an audience online needs security services to ward off invasions from the latest threats, but some people forgo security protection in an effort to save a buck in the short term.

In the long term, however, failing to use security services could devastate your business. I'm sure just about everyone has read headlines detailing the latest successful hacking attack, whereby an Internet hacker stole hundreds of usernames and passwords. In the past, there were even reports that terrorist groups like ISIL were exploiting WordPress vulnerabilities.

The Internet isn't a safe place, and failing to protect your website is a rookie mistake.

Research Patch Notes and the Latest Vulnerabilities

It's always worth keeping up with the latest vulnerabilities and exploits. I know it might sound like a lot of work, but two of my favorite sources for the latest threats are the WordPress Vulnerability Database and CVE Details. I think anyone can make time to check things out at least twice a month or so. Since all the hard work has been done for you and all the latest known vulnerabilities have been aggregated, you can easily scan through the list and make sure you don't use any plugins, themes, or WordPress versions that are vulnerable to an attack.

I'd always recommend upgrading to the latest WordPress version, but it's a little nuanced. You do need to feel comfortable making technical changes to a WordPress site, and it's best to read up on patch notes to make sure the latest version is stable. Furthermore, you're going to want to make sure all of your add ons, plugins, and other similar components are all up to date. If you fail to update WordPress modules, you may still be vulnerable to an old attack.

If you’re uncomfortable with running updates and patches on your site, find a service that will do it for you. We offer a WordPress maintenance service which includes offsite backups and weekly updates.

Backup Your Website

Anyone who's felt the sting of a virus or data loss in the past knows just how critical it is to backup data on a regular basis. It takes an immense amount of time to put together a quality website, and creating content is a continuous process. But without website backups, you could lose all your content, custom coding, and user data in an instant. It only takes one virus or configuration error to negate all the blood, sweat, and tears you've poured into your digital marketing campaign.

As such, you need to stay on top of backups. Not only will it prevent data loss, but it can help give you a restore point if a new plugin goes haywire and crashes your theme. The good news is that there are plenty of free tools to help you backup your website, such as Duplicator, BackupWordPress, BackwpupFree, and even WordPress Backup to Dropbox. I wouldn't recommend Dropbox due to a lack of encryption and past security issues, but if you know how to encrypt your files, it's a viable free alternative.

Consider Using a CDN

A CDN is a Content Delivery Network, which may or may not be appropriate for your business (depending on the industry and type of website you run). If your main product is content, such as software reviews or how-to content, a CDN could be a real life saver. They work by caching static page content from your website and deliver it to users based on their geographic region.

Instead of the server hosting your content directly supplying visitors' web browsers with your static page content, the cached static pages can be hosted on redundant servers to lessen the load on your main server. Using a CDN can also help mitigate the damage from a DoS attack or sudden traffic spike. However, if your website is nothing more than a simple digital storefront that helps local customers find your business, you likely won't see much value in a CDN.

Drill Down and Determine the Root Cause

If your website mysteriously crashed and you can't discover why, it pays off to be diligent. You'll want to make darn sure you find out the root cause of the crash, or it could happen again. Worse yet, your website may have been the victim of an attack, in which case you'll need to determine where the vulnerabilities lie.

This is where monitoring packages provide massive value, since they'll be able to help alert you when your website crashed as well as other abnormalities. For instance, if you notice an abnormal traffic spike, it could be that you were victimized by a DdoS or DoS attack. Other times, physical hardware problems might be the issue. Hosting providers aren't perfect, so if you suspect physical hardware problems, get on the horn with your hosting provider ASAP.

I'd recommend looking into the WPServerStats plugin if you don't already have monitoring software in place.

Final Thoughts

A lot of headaches and expensive downtime can be completely avoided with a little bit of preparedness. I'd highly recommend doing the following to ensure your website doesn't bite the dust:

  • Keep all of your code modules, plugins, addons, themes, and WordPress version up to date
  • Spend the few extra bucks on a security service
  • Use monitoring tools to log oddities and abnormalities
  • Always backup your data
  • Consider using a CDN

There may not ever be such a thing as a perfect server, but by using these techniques, can can drastically reduce your risk of a costly outage.




Growing a Valuable Organization on a Shoestring

In this presentation called "Growing a Valuable Organization on a Shoestring," e4e partners Karen Hoffman and Cynthia Correll discuss how Karen successfully created her nonprofit organization, Gateway to Dreams. Karen emphasizes the importance of building a strong support network as a fist step. She also explains how to keep a team motivated and navigate financial obstacles on a shoestring budget.

Creating a Miracle Life

In this presentation called "Creating a Miracle Life," e4e partner Richard Terry talks about the three things that helped better his life in the past three years. He offers advise on how to reduce stress, increase positivity and extends a challenge to make a positive change in your life.

Business Is Growing – When Do I Hire?

In this presentation called "Business Is Growing - When Do I Hire?," e4e partner Lori St. Clair talks about the mental obstacles of hiring new people and the benefits of overcoming those obstacles. She explains the importance of knowing your professional priorities, knowing when to hire and understanding a new employee as an investment.

5 Points of Wellness

In this presentation called "5 Points of Wellness," e4e partner Dr. Dan Fazio explains some of the core principles of leading a healthy and fulfilling life. He distills the concepts into five key points and weighs the importance each.

Creating Great Stuff Using a Great Mindset

In this presentation, culture change expert Judy Ryan presents on the transformation process for fostering free and contributing human beings. She offers key points that may challenge the status quo and offer a new perspective for supporting greatness in self and others.

Using the Phone to Connect with New Business Leads

In this presentation called "Using the Phone to Connect with New Business Leads," e4e partner John Eyres describes three core principles of successful telemarketing and teleprospecting. His presentation teaches you how to build and use multiple calling lists, how to develop a winning script and how to make yourself a better caller.

Strengthen Your Business’s IT Competence

"Strengthen Your Business’s IT Competence" is the e4e December 2016 GROW Showcase Presentation by Jared Peno. Jared defines potential risks in IT security, identifies methods to prevent systems from being hacked and informs us how to make and implement a plan to protect and recover from an IT attack.

After his presentation, Jared takes questions from the audience.

Making Taxes Your Friend

Nationally known tax professional Andy Magnus reminds us that taxes can be our "friend." With great insight and lots of humor, he helps to decode the tax code, and he offers tips on how to approach tax management for your business.



Stand Out In the Media Blizzard

We are inundated with social media. If you want to get noticed,

you must impress your market with targeted, meaningful messages.

Social media expert Karen Fox shares a compelling opening story by helping the audience members see the importance of recognizing your target market and their unique characteristics and how you can reach them effectively. She offers the following important tips:

  • Take time to know your buyers – their age, challenges, code language, and needs, where they are located, etc.
  • Keep your content current and fresh
  • Ensure your prospects can subscribe to your site and services
  • Use short videos to reach your market
  • Don’t assume everyone is your target market; rather speak to the 20% is good
  • Images matter to your marketing efforts and are are the primary influence for your products or services
  • Follow-up with sound and proven processes
  • Listen and pay attention to who is responding and writing so you are engaging with them
  • Do not allow your postings to become a source of conflict or debate
  • Make sure you are focused on the customer needs not your own
  • Track and test what works through review of your analytics and let them inform your next decisions
  • Create repeatable, sustainable processes
  • Get the support you need
  • Get your branding out on a regular basis so that when I need your services, I remember you as top-of-mind

Social media is no longer an option for businesses because it plays a major role in shaping the business reputation and perceptions about credibility. If you don’t think you have time to implement a social media strategy, outsource this very important business strategy to Karen Fox at or check out her website


Managing Transitions Life Throws Our Way

What do you need when your life is spinning out of control?

Sales expert and performance leader Bill Prenatt opens his presentation with the question “Have you had times when your life was spinning out of control?” He offers his own traumatic life experiences. He describes about how life can sometimes smack us in the face and what’s more important is how we react to what’s happening. Key points in this presentation include:

  • How to move from reaction to responding so you manage challenges effectively
  • Naming the seven elements of a negative spiral so you can take four steps to take charge of any situation and shorten the amount of time to be in a negative spiral
  • Moving from denial to acceptance and improvement
  • The question “What’s next?” helps you take charge
  • See setbacks as temporary and move forward
  • We can’t always see other options when we are in a negative spiral
  • Things are almost never as bad as they seem
  • The positive and negative balance in our lives
  • Gratitude and forgiveness can get us through hard times
  • We can either be a victim or a victor in difficult circumstances
  • How to learn from our challenges and mistakes
  • Adaptiveness and resiliency are key to overcoming challenges

Sales and leadership expert Bill Prenatt concludes this inspiring talk sharing about the death of his son. He invites his audience to develop tools to cope with challenges and consider your responses to them so you are more resilient in moving forward when tough times arise, which will because they are simply a part of life.

Bill Prenatt is CEO of Simply Successful and Executive Director of e4e. If you are interested in learning more about the art and science of taking control of your life, contact Bill at

Greatest Print Advertisement Ever and How it Can Help You Grow Your Business

You are not selling products and services. You are selling the positive benefits and the emotions people want in life.

Marketing expert Tom Ruwitch opens his presentation by asking about and teaching the audience about the necessity of having a swipe file. He shares an ad he deems brilliant and how the dissection of this ad can help anyone in business. He engages the audience in reviewing what they answer to the question, "What do you sell?" to help each understand that we are not selling products or services. We are selling benefits and the positive outcomes that garner those benefits.He asserts that what separates you from your competition is how you position what you sell. He uses a sample ad to decipher the benefits the ad provides. They include:

  • Increased positive emotional experiences like adventure, romance and excitement
  • Avoidance of negative experiences such as judgment, rejection and humiliation
  • A happy ending to a fairy tale story of overcoming

After you have effectively communicated the above, a great ad requires the following to come next in this order:

  • Why do I choose and buy this?
  • What are the products or services you provide?
  • How do you do this?
  • Proof of effectiveness
  • Offer risk mitigation such as offer a guarantee
  • Focusing on why, your prospects will then hear the follow-up information on how you accomplish delivery of your products and services.
  • Sharing benefits eliminates resistance, defensiveness and separation because it paints a happy ending and increases positive feelings; features are more likely to be resisted

Tom Ruwitch meticulously un-bundles the ways to create a similarly brilliant ad for each person in the audience so they can no longer use drab, mechanical descriptions to help people to buy from them.

For support in defining your content marketing plans and sustainable systems within them, contact expert Tom Ruwich at MarketVolt by phone 314-993-3732 ext 18, by email at or visit his website

A Clean Sweep for Wellness

Seek not only quantity of life, but quality of life too.



Dr. Dan Fazio is a wellness chiropractor and expert in helping people holistically improve their quality of life. He puts fun back into functional and longevity medicine, exploring the following points:

  • Wellness can be easy with simple goals and follow-through
  • Maintaining a quality mindset is key in achieving a high quality of life
  • Aging does not have to mean disease-ridden
  • Begin today with small steps
  • Use mindfulness practices that are distraction-free, meditative, intentional, and which we focus and develop reverence for what we eat, how we move and what we see and feel
  • Reduce the vast number of premature deaths through simple diet, exercise and meditative practices
  • Celebrate successes and make time to play and have fun
  • Remove interfering factors like sugar and stress from your body
  • Prioritize your health by improving diet, exercise, and sleep hygiene a little at a time
  • Use professionals and accountability partners to engage in and continue the process of intentional wellness
  • Use healthy oils and fats, including the use of coconut oil along with adequate hydration to squelch cravings for sugar and increase metabolic function.

Dr. Fazio is a warm-hearted, funny and intelligent health professional, passionate about helping people in connected, supportive and collaborative ways.

Unlock the Remarkable Opportunity of Tax Planning

Adopt a Strategy for Reducing Your Tax Liability

Hand choosing a hanging key amongst other ones.What’s the best business strategy for tax planning? It’s simple. Know what you’re doing and what’s available to reduce your tax liability. What you don’t know can really hurt your business! Lack of knowledge and fear of being audited often make clients overly cautious when claiming expenses and deductions. As a result, many business owners end up paying a lot more than they should. In fact, not claiming allowable deductions can cost a business 56 percent in taxes to satisfy Uncle Sam. Why should Uncle Sam get your money when there are legitimate ways to keep more?

Tax planning is a year-round opportunity. And failing to plan means planning to overpay. Very few small business owners know the system well enough to take advantage of all the money-saving opportunities allowed in our tax code. Everybody wonders, “How far can I push the envelope?” Some go too far and push it past the edge, while others choose that cautious route and don’t put anything down. Neither strategy is good. You need to be working with a tax professional who really knows what can and can’t be done to get the most benefit for your business.

What You Need to Know

It’s all about recordkeeping and keeping track of everything. Anything you use or buy that relates to your business in some way, shape or form can (and should!) be deducted. Clients will often say, “But I don’t have a receipt for that” or “It wasn’t enough to be worth writing it down.” Trust me, everything is worth writing down! It all adds up. You’d be surprised how much all those smaller expenses add up to over the course of a year. And any expense less than 25 dollars doesn’t even require a receipt.

Do you work out of your home? While a bit complicated, there’s a formula for determining the deduction for that. And if you’re not claiming it, you should. How much do you use your car for business? Mileage, gas, wear-and-tear, and repairs can all be factored in and add up quickly to reduce your tax liability. Having lunch with a client, colleague or potential client? Deduct! Travel expenses? Need pens, paper, a new calendar, iPhone or laptop? Deduct, deduct, deduct.

Large or small, if you use it for business, count it all!

Make it Easier on Yourself

If the thought of trying to keep track of every possible deduction overwhelms you, there are strategies for that. Many business owners don’t realize there are some phenomenal apps out there to keep track of expenses. There are apps to keep track of where you’re going, who you’re meeting with, the mileage, and all expenses associated with those meetings. It can be so easy to forget to make notes or enter all that information like you should, so the apps can really help. Even if you have to invest some money in one that will do all the things you need it to do, it will really streamline your recordkeeping and make your life easier.

Also, get and use a designated credit card for all your business expenses. Put all those purchases that relate to your business in any way, shape or form on that card only. That way, you have a complete and accurate accounting of expenses and purchases at the end of the year just by going online and clicking the “print” button. It doesn’t get any easier than that.

Always remember, the IRS is there to do a job. No one from the IRS is ever going to come to you and say, “Gee, you’re a nice person. I see you should’ve taken deductions for more expenses here.” While that would be nice, that’s not their job. That’s my job.

My advice… be aggressive, but smart. And always keep tax planning at the forefront of your mind throughout the year. Don’t let what you don’t know hurt your business. In the tax game, there’s no such thing as “I paid for that out of my pocket.” Hire a professional tax planner. Then give Uncle Sam what is due, but start planning today to keep every bit you can!

John Brandvein has been in public accounting since 1958 and founded Brandvein & Co. in 1994. Not only does John have copious knowledge regarding all things accounting and taxes, he provides his clients the best possible support and stability, while being gracious and humorous in the process of delivering excellent service. You can reach John at 314.725.5514 or email him at

Are You Buried in Bookkeeping?

No business starts out with the expectation of failure, but when small business owners neglect the bookkeeping side of their business they’re setting themselves up for trouble. Proper management of the financial side of your business can make all the difference between whether you succeed or fail. And making sure the numbers are in order is just as important as sales when it comes to building a business that can go the distance.

Office lady being scared because of too much paperwork to do

If keeping detailed, accurate records is not your strength or you don’t have the time to give it the attention it deserves, it makes sense to hire a professional whose primary job is making sure all aspects of your business finances are in order. There are some things to consider when choosing someone to handle the finances for your business however, so here are a few tips for what to keep in mind.


  • In regards to bookkeeping, consider expertise and experience over cost.

Many small businesses are tempted to hire someone to handle their business finances based solely on cost of the services. This might seem logical, especially with start ups where money is tight. But choosing solely based on cost or having an unqualified person handling your accounting can be a monumental mistake!

The money side of your business is far too important to entrust to just anyone, and trying to save a few dollars can lead to big headaches down the road. Especially when it comes to taxes. A good accountant may cost more than that neighbor who does it to earn extra money on the side, but they’re trained to expertly handle the services you need.

When you think about it in terms of peace-of-mind and what you would be able to do instead of slaving over the books – like doing the things that bring in the money – investing in a competent accountant is clearly a sound investment in your business.

Get recommendations, shop around, and get quotes from several accountants before making a decision, but don’t let the cost of services be the only deciding factor.

  • Get clear on what you need them to do.

A good accountant can be a valuable, strategic addition to your business on many levels. The services offered by accounting firms can vary though, so give some thought to what types of services you need before signing on with someone. Are you looking for someone to just handle your taxes on a yearly basis or do you want a broader list of ongoing services? Are you the type of person who considers throwing receipts in a shoebox “filing” and wants someone to manage everything financial or will you be doing some of the tasks yourself?

Are there things about your specific industry requiring someone who specializes in that area? Would you like someone who not only deals with numbers, but also offers expert guidance with respect to financial and management decisions – in other words, someone who can fulfill a consulting role as well as bookkeeping? CPA’s can often function as expert business consultants in addition to handling numbers.

If you’re unclear of the services available or unsure of the level of services you would like, talk to other entrepreneurs or ask accountants you’re interviewing. There may be ways an accountant could help that you haven’t even thought of.

  • Choose someone who is a good fit for you.

Your relationship with your accountant is hopefully going to be a long one, so choose someone you find easy to work with. You want someone with a high level of expertise, but also someone whose personality is a good fit with yours.

Working with an accountant means letting that person into the heart of your business and entrusting them with your finances. It is one of the most important decisions you can make as a business owner. You need someone who cares about the success of your business. You need someone who is trustworthy. You need someone who has the diplomacy to handle difficult, but necessary, conversations. And you need someone who has a good sense of humor, which can be a real plus at tax time. (I’m only half kidding.)

Hiring an accountant to keep track of the money coming in and going out can be a big relief for business owners. And knowing you have a professional on your side who understands crunching numbers and what’s needed for success can free you up to do more important things. Just make sure whoever you choose is qualified to handle the job. The success of your business may depend on it.

John Brandvein has been in public accounting since 1958 and founded Brandvein & Co. in 1994. Not only does John have copious knowledge regarding all things accounting and taxes, he provides his clients the best possible support and stability, while being gracious and humorous in the process of delivering excellent service. You can reach John at 314.725.5514 or email him at

How To Succeed Without a Co-Pilot

In this humorous panel discussion led by Ann Prenatt a small group of experts focuses on providing guidance for succeeding at business so you are not flying alone.

The questions asked and answered by this team include:

  • What is your company name and how did you come up with it?
  • How important is networking in building your business?
  • When did you know your company was going to make it and be successful?
  • What is your biggest challenge in your business and how do you overcome it?
  • When you have a problem or an idea and are looking for feedback, where do you go to get support?
  • Where do you find good help?
  • What do you let go of first when prioritizing?
  • Do you conduct annual business planning and do you include scalability plans if you do?
  • Are systems do you have in place that have improved your business significantly?
  • At what point during your business development, did you know you needed support and help from others?
  • How do you manage your calendar and what tricks have you discovered?

The power of group think and the joy of sharing questions and solutions together in an open and authentic manner is evident in this panel discussion which paved the way for further rapport and mutual support among existing members and new audience participants alike.

Counterintuitive: When to Believe Naysayers

During a recent episode of Shark Tank, all of the sharks told a budding entrepreneur that his idea wouldn’t work.  The sharks went on to explain why the idea wasn’t viable.

Reasons to listen
There are a number of reasons why this entrepreneur should listen to the sharks.

  1. They’re incredibly successful business people.
  2. They have experience in a lot of different industries with a lot of different markets.
  3. They don’t hide their mistakes; indeed, they readily admit their failures hoping to help others avoid making the same mistakes.
  4. Their mission is to promote innovation and entrepreneurship, not quash them.

I have to admit I shared the shark’s opinion of the idea, although I‘ve been wrong before.  This raises some interesting questions “When do you listen to naysayers?  When do you ignore their advice?  Is this an either/or decision?”

Not either/or
One of the things I’ve learned over the years is that just because someone says “It can’t be done” doesn’t mean I should abandon the idea.

A few years back I pitched a book idea to my literary agent.  She responded saying “You’re not known for that topic so it’ll be a nearly impossible sale.”  And she was right.  One of the things publishers want to see are credentials that lend credibility to the book’s message.  I didn’t possess those credentials.  I set the idea aside and didn’t do anything with it for over a year.

During that year my mind was continuously drawn back to that topic through conversations with friends, through questions I got from people who were suffering a crisis of confidence or some personal pain.  Eventually it became obvious to me I needed to write this book and I did.  The title is “Lead a Life of CONFIDENCE...Free yourself of fear, anxiety and frustration.”

While it hasn’t yet (note the yet) become a best seller, it has laid the foundation for me to become known for this topic.  Indeed, within the past few weeks a whole new market has opened for me to promote the book, and more importantly, the message.

A follow-on book will be released this month, “Stand Out From The Crowd...Without having people point and laugh,” and I’ve just completed the outline for the third book in the series.  I’ve decided to self-publish all three as a way to build the credibility that may or may not lead to a future book deal with a major publishing house.

My point in sharing this story with you is that when you’re told “it won’t work” by naysayers, listen to what they have to say, then figure out a way to overcome the obstacles they see.

When to listen
It pays to listen to people with more experience than we have.  It’s counterintuitive, but it doesn’t mean we have to abandon our idea.

Typically when experienced people say “That won’t work” what they mean is that it won’t work as you outlined it.  It’s your job to ask “Why won’t it work and how do I overcome the obstacles you’re seeing?”  Let them help you find solutions, they have more experience than you do.  But don’t give up on the dream.  You may have to make major adjustments to make the idea work, but if you want that dream badly enough, you will make it work - simply not in the form you originally envisioned.

When not to listen
Don’t listen to people who have little or no experience in what you’re trying to accomplish.  Many of them become naysayers simply because they can’t dream as big as you are dreaming.  I learned this lesson from having seen an interview of the Williams sisters.

They said that when they told their friends their dreams of being tennis champions, they were told they couldn’t do it.  The sisters said that at some point you have to leave old friends behind because they aren’t dreaming as big as you are.  They went on to say you have to develop friendships with people who believe in you and encourage you during the inevitable dark hours that accompany the pursuit of any significant dream.

My mastermind group encouraged me to go forward with the confidence book despite the fact that my agent said I wasn’t known for the topic.  Their advice?  “You’re not known yet.”

By all means, pay attention to what people are saying.  There’s almost certainly some sage advice to be found in their comments.  Don’t, however, let them dissuade you from your dream.  There’s a reason why you’re being drawn in that direction.  You may have to make course corrections and the ultimate form your dream takes may be dramatically different than the one you currently envision, but if you’re dreaming it - it is possible.

Dale Furtwengler is the author of the internationally acclaimed book, Pricing for Profit as well as six other books

  1. Lead a Life of Confidence: Free yourself of  fear, anxiety and frustration
  2. Making the Exceptional Normal
  3. The Uniqueness Myth and other misconceptions that derail businesses,
  4. Become a Maverick: Grow your business using the unconventional strategies of world-class companies
  5. 10-Minute Guide to Performance Appraisals and
  6. Stand Out From the Crowd: Without having people point and laugh.

Dale's company, Furtwengler & Associates, Inc., helps companies get higher prices regardless of what their competitors or the economy are doing.