In this presentation called, "Opposition Research", e4e partner Thad James tells us how knowing all we can about our competition can help us to grow our own businesses.
We all plan in some manner, but recognizing and appreciating a variety of planning methods can make all the difference in reaching success from many different approaches.
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.
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?”
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
Dale's company, Furtwengler & Associates, Inc., helps companies get higher prices regardless of what their competitors or the economy are doing.
Accountability is usually associated with punishment and finger pointing. Operations and talent management expert Ann Prenatt reframes accountability so viewers use it to ask questions and follow a specific system so everyone is successful in planning and executing on what’s needed to get desired results.
People often want new results but in general are not willing to change behaviors. They need a disciplined and consistent way to be accountable. Ann cites the multi-billion dollar industry of dieting and how people still maintain old behaviors because money and intention alone are not enough to get results. Important questions she asks the audience to consider and for which she provides guidance:
In her presentation, Ann Prenatt asserts that proactive approaches are essential to helping people plan and execute on goals so that they see their responsibilities, own them, solve them, and do them. She provides specific steps to ensure changed behaviors occur to improve individual and team performance. These steps include:
In this powerful and thought-provoking presentation, Ann Prenatt helps viewers take practical steps to empower, enhance, enable and engage people and systems so greater accountability and success occurs to celebrate. She imparts to the audience that putting accountability into your operations and using a specific system helps you communicate effectively, focus on results rather than blame, drive high performance, and build and strengthen relationships.
Ann Prenatt is highly qualified to provide human resource management assistance or help you in building strong, caring relationships. You can contact Ann at email@example.com
Why systematize your business? Gain insight and review examples of how standardization has positively impacted successful businesses, enabling them to outwit, outplay, and outlast challenges.
Bill Prenatt, while being a proven expert in sales strategies and implementation is a knowledgeable and passionate champion for what he calls a game-changing trend of systematizing your business. He opens his presentation asking the audience if they often feel like they are on the show Survivor. He provides examples of how standardization impacted his work with Allen Foods. He also cites the story of how McDonald’s can tear down and re-build a restaurant in 90 days because they are so systems-driven. He uses this presentation to build a strong case for standardization in business stating it is a way to outwit, outplay, and outlast any challenges that arise.
Bill Prenatt describes the predominance of fire-fighting and scarcity and how we support this with the mantra that everything is hard and tedious; in other words, we are our own worst enemy. This is a big reason we are not thriving. He focuses on how systems help us to:
Bill Prenatt asserts that waves of change so big and so bold that we aren’t able to recognize and respond to them. On top of this, we are drowning in information but starved for knowledge. We are a service economy with a product model and don’t know how to sell the invisible, the services we provide. He cites Uber is an example that change is in the air. He also cautions that only 6% of entrepreneurs are systematic.
Bill provides solutions including:
Bill Prenatt concludes by briefly describing the standardization stages and invites the audience to determine where they are on the systems cycle so the learn how to leverage them. He asserts we must identity, banish and replace our way of doing things with a systemic approach for operating.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. He will always have a generosity of spirit and much practical wisdom to share.
When a long-term care issue affects a loved one, that long-term care issue affects every member of the family. Unfortunately for a business owner, this means his or her employees are affected when one of their family members has a long-term care issue too. Recent studies have shown that any given individual has a 50% likelihood of being affected by long-term care in their lifetime, and 75% will be affected by a loved one’s long-term care issues.
An informal poll of our firm’s clients reflects the average costs for skilled nursing care in St. Louis, Missouri is $7,000.00 per month, or $84,000.00 per year. It is much higher than that in other areas of the country.
Given these costs, it’s no wonder an employee would devote more time to finding a solution to these issues than the job they have been hired to do. In fact, if they are also the ones providing care to their aging loved one, this is like your employee having another full time job. The ensuing decline in productivity costs a business owner money. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:
Unfortunately, this problem isn’t going away. It’s estimated that by 2020, one in three U.S. households will be involved in caring for elderly or disabled relatives, up from one in four today.
With the likelihood of a long-term care issue affecting a business owners employees, and the devastating costs associated with them, it makes sense to provide some solutions to employees in advance, but what can be done?
What is Long Term Care?
When someone has a long-term care issue it means they have issues with at least two activities of daily living or a cognitive impairment (such as dementia or Alzheimer’s). The activities of daily living are bathing, eating, dressing, toileting, continence, and transferring (getting in and out of bed or a chair). The care is considered “long-term” when the need for these activities is expected to continue for at least 90 days.
What Can a Business Owner Do?
Providing long-term care insurance to the business owner, executives and key employees is one piece of the puzzle. In many businesses, especially small to medium size businesses, if long-term care were to prevent a business owner or key employee from being able to work, the business would go under quickly. Providing long-term care insurance to a select group of employees is a great way to hedge your exposure to the risks of long-term care directly affecting your business, plus there are tax incentives associated with providing this insurance.
Premium payments made by an individual are included as a personal medical expense if you itemize on your taxes. Medical expenses exceeding 10% of your adjusted gross income (AGI) are deductible. However, self-employed individuals (including those in sole proprietorships, partnerships, LLCs, and S-Corporations) can write off 100% of the individual limit regardless of the 10% AGI limit, as a reasonable and necessary business expense.
This treatment is similar to traditional health insurance premiums. Likewise, for C-corporations, premium payments are also fully deductible as a reasonable and necessary business expense. This can apply to owners, their spouses, their dependents, and all employees. Tax treatment for benefits received from the policy for employees is very favorable as well. Employer-paid long-term care insurance is excluded from an employee’s gross income and the benefits received are tax free.
But what about the indirect consequences of an employee’s loved one needing long term care that a business owner can’t insure against? Start by providing education to your employees about the risks of long-term care and give them resources to seek out for professional guidance. Long-term care solutions are one of the most misunderstood set of legal and financial rules that exist, and without proper education, it can take years to figure out how to plan appropriately. Inviting a local elder law attorney or a qualified financial professional to speak to employees about these issues can avoid hours of lost productivity.
Long-term care issues are something that can be planned for in advance. A business owner should encourage his or her employees to seek guidance from a legal professional to pre-plan for any issues that may arise with their loved ones. Like most legal and financial issues, advance planning leads to the best (and least stressful) solution when those issues arise.
Brian G. Quinn is an Attorney with the law firm of Quinn & Banton, L.L.P. in St. Louis, Missouri. If you are interested in learning more about protecting yourself, your family, or your business using legal strategies, please contact Brian at 636-394-7242 to schedule a consultation.
Family-owned and family-managed businesses account for 90% of all business enterprises in North America, more than 60% of America’s employment, 78% of all new job creation, and 50% of America’s Gross Domestic Product.
Paradoxically, only 30% of family businesses in America are successful passing the reigns to the next generation.
70% of family businesses do not make it to the second generation even though surveys indicate 79% of senior members want their families to retain the family business and 70% of the next generation shares these hopes.