Choose Wisely. Win Big.


 

Great executives and great entrepreneurs make great choices.

About everything.


 

Attaining Competitive Advantage in Any Business


 

An underrated joy of being in business is the daily opportunity it offers to strive for and experience breakthroughs in "that best version of ourselves."


 

What Tesla and Playdoh Do that Your Business Should Too


 

Growing wider every day is the divide between companies that “get it” when it comes to modern marketing and business promotion...

...and those that don’t. 


 

The CEO Trap (Avoid This)


 

Unfortunately, most things don't work in business.


 

How to be an Olympian in Your Business


 

Isn’t it awesome to see the amazing grace, endurance, skill, and competitiveness of our Olympic athletes? 


 

The Marketing Experiment


 

The Marketing Experiment

This experiment has been done many times at events.

At one end of the table, they place a box of donuts.

At the other end of the table, they place a bunch of fruit.

The attendees filter out of the room on a break...and see the table.

Fifteen minutes later, the attendees go back into the main room.

What do you think the table looks like? As you can imagine, the donut box is usually empty and much of the fruit is left on the table.

This doesn't makes sense, does it? Everyone knows that fruit is MUCH healthier than donuts. So why does everyone eat the donuts?

Obviously the donuts taste better, and unfortunately, this trumps the fact that the fruit is healthier.

So, why do I tell you this story? Because many times companies make the mistake of marketing "fruit" in their businesses, when they need to be marketing "donuts."

Let me explain. Even though customers should need your product or service, it doesn't mean they will buy it. If consumers always bought what they needed, the size of the fruit section in grocery stores would be doubled, and fitness clubs would be twice the size.

The solution is typically this: sell customers what they want; but then give them what they want AND what they need.

An example of this would be to sell a weight loss diet that promised customers they could eat five times a day and never be hungry (because that's what they want to hear). But then, the diet would slowly replace those five meals with smaller and/or healthier options so that the consumer realizes the desired weight loss.

So, I want you to ask yourself two questions:

1) What assumptions do you have about what your customers need, that your customers might not agree with (or won't buy since the reality of solving that need is unappealing)?

2) How could you reposition your offerings and/or solutions so that you are able to give customers what they want, and then give them what they need?

In marketing, your "hook" or marketing "offer" will bring more customers to your door. But then there are 14 other tactics you need to employ to maximize your sales and profits. The video below explains more:

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The World’s #1 Marketing Plan Template

Would you like to know the quickest and easiest way to create a winning marketing plan?

And how to use it to quickly increase your sales and profits?

Well, we've developed the ultimate marketing plan template to help you do this. Simply click below to learn more.

Finish your marketing plan and start growing your sales and profits today.

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Business Startup Funding: How Even the "Sweatiest Guy" Raised Tons of Funding


 

His name is Kevin Plank. And he was born on August 13, 1972.    

Kevin was a football player at the University of Maryland. But he was no ordinary football player. In fact, he proclaimed himself to be the "sweatiest guy on the football field."     

Being the "sweatiest guy" wasn't a joke to Kevin. He became sick and tired of his cotton t-shirt's inability to keep him dry and comfortable during games and practices. So he decided to do something about it. Specifically, he started searching for a material that would wick the sweat from his body, making him dryer, lighter and faster.    

Kevin succeeded in finding this material, creating products from it, and building a company out of his products. The company, called Under Armour, is now a public company. And when Under Armour went public in November 2005, the company raised $112.5 Million to fuel its growth.

Importantly, Kevin knew that nobody was going to give him $112.5 million in funding to start his company. Rather, he knew he had to raise smaller amounts at first to achieve some success. And with success, he would be able to raise more and more dollars.

So, Plank, while still a college student, started a small business that sold roses for Valentine's Day. While he only made a few thousand dollars from that business, he used that money to initially start Under Armour.

And when he soon burned through those dollars, he got $40,000 from credit cards (he got five credit cards in order to do this) to fund further growth.

And as the company grew, Plank raised more and more money from various funding sources, eventually reaching the promised land of entrepreneurship: going public and raising over $100 million.

Kevin Plank's story is critical to entrepreneurs that need to raise money. Among other things, it should teach you that you can't simply post your idea or business plan online and expect investors to throw money at you. That's just not how funding works.

Rather, you need to figure out the right forms of funding for you based on your stage of development. The latter part (based on your stage of development) is key. Let me explain. While I've identified 41 sources of funding to which entrepreneurs have access, many sources are tied to how far your venture has progressed. For example, if all you have is an idea (and no prototype or beta customers), then you are too early for the vast majority of venture capital firms. In such a case, you need to raise other types of funding first, achieve certain milestones, and then contact venture capitalists.

In addition to understanding which of the 41 sources of funding are right for you, you need to determine what you're willing to give up in return for the funding.

When raising equity funding, you must give up equity or shares in your business. So, if and when your company gets sold or goes public, some of the proceeds will go to your investors and not you.

When raising debt funding, you're agreeing to make future payments of both interest and principle on the loan. And you may need to put up personal items as collateral.

And finally, with alternative and creative funding, which is often a great option for early stage companies, you may not have to give up either equity or agree to future debt payments. But you still must typically give up something.

For example, with vendor financing, you'll give up your right to use multiple vendors (in this type of financing, the vendor will fund your business based on your agreement to use them exclusively for a certain time period). Or with grant funding, you'll give up some of your growth flexibility (since you'll only get fully paid on the grant if you achieve the goals set forth in the grant proposal).

We've all heard the expression, "it's not what you know, it's who you know." This is not necessarily true when raising money. Sure, it helps if you have a rich uncle who's willing to write you a check. But such "friends and family" funding is but a small portion of the funding options available to you as an entrepreneur.

Rather, it's what you know; your knowledge of the types of funding out there and your creativity and perseverance in accessing them that really matter.

So, start by figuring out what company goals you would like to accomplish in the next 12 months. Then, determine how much money you will need over this period to get there. And finally, decide what you're willing to give up in return for this amount of funding.

Once you raise that initial funding and achieve those goals, more and bigger funding options will appear. And, in many cases, upon your initial success, funding sources will start to contact you. And that's the exact position you want to be in -- having funding sources competing to fund you, and not you competing with millions of other entrepreneurs for funding.

 

Suggested Resource: Want funding for your business? Then check out our Truth About Funding program to learn how you can access the 41 sources of funding available to entrepreneurs like you. Click here to learn more.

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Raise Funding in 2018 with Our Proven Funding Pyramid™ Formula

If you’re struggling to raise money, it’s probably because your funding strategy is broken.

Here’s how to do it right

As I explain in this video, the key is to start at the bottom and work your way up the Funding Pyramid.

Click here to watch the video now

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5 Ways to Improve Sales Without Selling


 

5 Ways to Improve Sales Without Selling

There is a big difference between marketing and sales. The act of selling generates revenue when a product is sold. Marketing, on the other hand, is the act of attracting attention, branding a product or person, and creating a buzz that will eventually result in sales.

Peter Drucker once said, "The point of marketing is to make selling superfluous." In layman's terms, this means that if you do a great job of positioning your business in your ads and build a strong reputation, you won't have to do a lot of convincing and selling once prospects come in the door (or to your website). They will already be convinced that are the right company for them.

Below are 5 marketing strategies to use to make selling superfluous and to grow your business.

1. Improve Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

Having a strong unique selling proposition (USP) is a critical element of your marketing plan. Your USP separates your product or service from your competitors. It makes your product or service a "unique, must have" item.

In fact, the USP of Domino's Pizza: "Fresh hot pizza delivered to your door in thirty minutes or less, guaranteed," has widely been credited as the reason for the company's success in a highly competitive and fairly commoditized business.

Ideally you can come up with a great USP for your company like Domino's did. But at the very least, you must be able to clearly articulate reasons why customers should buy from you instead of competitors.

2. Use Multiple Marketing Channels

Once you have the right USP, you want as many of your target customers to hear it as possible. That's why you need to market yourself through multiple channels. The key is this: the more channels you use, the more prospective customers will hear about you. Importantly, some of your target customers prefer one channel (e.g., print newspapers) while others may prefer a different channel (e.g., radio ads).

While one marketing channel may be the most profitable for you, the more marketing channels you can make work for you, the more you will be able to dominate your market.

So, which of the following marketing channels can you start using?

  • Direct Mail
  • Email and Print Newsletter Marketing
  • Event Marketing
  • Networking
  • Partnerships
  • Press Releases/PR
  • Print Ads
  • Radio Ads
  • Search Engine Optimization and Marketing
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Telemarketing
  • TV Ads


3. Understand Your KPIs

"KPIs" or Key Performance Indicators are the metrics that judge your business' performance based on the success you would like to succeed.

Knowing your KPIs and constantly working to improve them is critical to your marketing. For example,

  • How many leads do you generate per dollar of advertising (per channel)?
  • What % of your leads turn into buyers?
  • What is your average revenue per sale (and have you improved this through upselling, cross-selling, etc.)?
  • How often do your customers buy from you?

The more you understand and improve your KPIs the more your revenues and profits will grow. In fact, creating and managing your KPIs is one of the pillars of an 8-figure business.

4. Make Buying From You Easy

We've all been to businesses that don't accept credit cards. Or they only accept certain kinds of credit cards. As a result of this, they lose out on some customers. So make sure you offer multiple purchase options, from credit cards to possibly payment plans.

Likewise, you can make buying from you easier by having your products and services distributed elsewhere. For example, if you offer a physical product, you can also sell it on Amazon.com or eBay among other website. These are essentially buyer search engines; people are searching them for things to buy - what a perfect place for your product to show up. Or, if you offer a service, you can develop joint venture partners who sell it to their customers.

5. Provide the Right Information to Prospective Customers


Remember how good marketing will make selling superfluous? Customers need certain information in order to make a decision.

Specifically, be sure to provide information educating your customers on how your product or service can 1) solve problems and/or help them avoid pain, 2) improve their lives and/or increase their pleasure, and 3) save customers time, as that's a growing need for customers today.

Convey this key information in graphics, articles, videos, case studies, interviews and/or any other way that your prospective customers prefer to consume information.

By following these 5 marketing strategies, you can dramatically grow your sales and profits, and not have to resort to high pressure selling.

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The World’s #1 Marketing Plan Template

Would you like to know the quickest and easiest way to create a winning marketing plan?

And how to use it to quickly increase your sales and profits?

Well, we've developed the ultimate marketing plan template to help you do this. Simply click below to learn more.

Finish your marketing plan and start growing your sales and profits today.

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Six Great Places to Find Angel Investors


 

Six Great Places to Find Angel Investors

Last year, according to the Center for Venture Research at the University of New Hampshire, 67,030 ventures received angel funding.

This represented an increase of 1.8% over the prior year. In total, these angels invested $22.9 Billion; that's a lot of money.

Importantly, the Center for Venture Research found that the number of angel investors providing the funding last year was 268,160 individuals. So, clearly, there are a lot of angel investors out there.

So, you're probably thinking: how do I find these angel investors? The good and bad news is that there's no directory of angel investors. It's bad because if there was, it would be easy to find them. And it's good, since if angel investors were simple to find, they would be bombarded with deals; and thus raising capital from them would be much more competitive.

The best way to find these angel investors is through networking.

First, ask everyone you know (e.g., friends, colleagues, family, advisors like consultants, lawyers and accountants, etc. ) who they know that might invest in your business.

After that, the key is for you to keep networking and meeting new people. In many cases you should target individual angel investors directly. For instance, you may realize that a certain executive in your industry would be perfect, in which case you should call them and/or seek an introduction from a mutual acquaintance.

In other cases, you should "get out there" and meet them at different venues. Here are the six best venues I've found for meeting angel investors.

1. Local Business & Networking Events


Every city has local events that attract business owners and entrepreneurs (note that other business owners and entrepreneurs are often angel investors and/or can introduce you to angels).

You can find out about these events on sites like Meetup, Eventful and EventBrite.

For example, if you go to Meetup and type in "entrepreneur," you'll find lots of local events.

2. Industry Conferences & Trade Shows


Industry Conferences & Trade Shows are great places to meet angel investors. These events are filled with successful people who have the means and often interest in funding a company like yours. And, based on the fact that they are attending such a conference, they know your industry. This makes educating them on your venture easier, and also often gives them the ability to give you valuable strategic advice.

You can generally find out about these events in your industry's trade journals.

3. Alumni Events


Particularly at college alumni events you'll find lots of successful people. Many of whom would be very interested in funding your company as an angel investor. You already have a connection with these individuals since you share the same alma mater. So go to these events and meet them.

You may also have access to an online alumni directly. If so, you can use this to directly target certain individuals.

4. Chamber of Commerce Meetings

There's probably no better place to meet a large concentration of business owners (and potential angel investors) than local Chamber of Commerce meetings. So attend these meetings.

5. Volunteer at Local Organizations & Charities and/or Attend Charity Events

As a general rule, you should volunteer to give back to people less fortunate than you. But as a bonus, when volunteering you'll often meet very successful people, including large donors to the cause. These individuals might also be interested in funding your company.

6. Become a Guest Speaker

There are many groups like YPO (Young President's Organization) and Vistage that have monthly meetings during which they bring in outside speakers.

Find groups like these that could benefit from your knowledge. Present great information to them to help their businesses grow. In doing so, you will make great connections, including some that can fund your business.

As you can see, there are many, many places to find angel investors. It's mostly a matter of scheduling the time into your schedule to go do it.

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How To Raise Funding from Angel Investors

If you want to raise your first $100,000 (or more), click below to learn my battle-tested, 6-step funding formula for raising funding from angel investors

Raise angel funding today.

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Is Your Business Running Out of Time?


 

On Monday, New York Times CEO Mark Thompson admitted something. 

He admitted their print version faces inevitable "expiration." 

Yes, he said “expiration.” 

As in running out of time. 

Now, as a long ago paperboy (for an afternoon newspaper no less!), I felt  a small but perceptible sting of nostalgia at this not entirely surprising news. 

But what really caught my ear was that word "expiration."  

As in a business that, because of technology and changing customer preferences, is just running out of time.

Very unfortunately, when confronted with this kind of reality, too many executives and business owners react in exactly the
wrong way.

They sit in a place of denial - refusing to admit, concede (or even research and understand) the drivers, consequences, and timeline of their business demise.

Or they waste precious time and energy in feeling sorry for themselves - boringly waxing on as to how things “used to be” before all of this "technology" and "those people" got on and ruined things.

Others are more functional, but sad and depressing in their own way. 

They admit, like the New York Times CEO, that they face expiring pressures but then deceive themselves by placing that expiration date in the distant and unpredictable future - kicking the can down the road to be dealt with later, usually by someone else.

Or they “toe dip” with high promise business model innovations, yet weigh them down with the fixed overhead of their expiring parts. 

Half measures like this are doomed to failure.

No, the only appropriate response to expiring business realities is quick, uncompromised and even heartless action.

In the case of the New York Times, that probably (and obviously), should take the form of discontinuing the paper’s print version immediately and not in "ten years or so" as currently planned.

In the case of most smaller businesses, it starts with a thorough audit of all expenses - rents and labor especially - and then matching those against sources of revenue to identify which are moving forward value-add and which are "legacy," expiring and running out of time.

Now, conducting this cost and profit audit based on current marketplace and competitive realities can be money saving, but doing so on future, forecasted realities can be
business saving.

For example, while a defensible argument can be made that many folks are still willing to pay quite a bit to put their hands on a physical newspaper, the economics of so doing are almost certain to continue to deteriorate, so why weigh down the rest of the enterprise to protect a part of it whose future is so bleak?

This is where business leaders become great -- via their ability to forecast how things will be, and then harshly adjust today’s strategies and tactics to serve
tomorrow's realities and opportunities.   

Expiration is the frightening flip side of technological innovation and change.   

Watch-on painfully as it drives your demise... 

...or use the threat of it to drive change and innovation at your business for the better.  

Would you sell your company if the price was right? 

If so, how much is the right price? And do you truly think you can get that? 

To get the highest price for your business, join me for an information-packed recorded web training where I reveal the 5 steps you can take to dramatically increase the sale price of your business, and dramatically decrease the time needed to achieve it.

Watch Now! <== Click Here


 
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