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Personal Accountability

The Power of Positive Thinking

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The Power of Positive thinking is quite real. In fact, it’s all that gets me by, especially on bad days. Let’s be frank. There were days when I began my journey where I thought to myself “Am I on the right path?”, or when I was studying for an important test and thought to myself “I think I’m going to fail”.

One thing that’s always helped me while continuing on this journey called life, is that when the going gets tough, maintaining positivity has always pushed me through. Especially in sales. Sales can be a very hard task, especially if you’ve just started.

Optimism

Good selling requires that you understand the product well and work as hard as you can to meet the customer’s need. But before everything, the secret of a good salesperson is about what goes on inside their head. Selling is an attitude. It’s how you think and feel. It’s about your whole approach to yourself, your company, your products and of course your customers. All of this can be summed up in three words: Confidence, pride and care.

A positive person anticipates happiness, health and success, and believes he or she can overcome any obstacle and difficulty.Please note that positive thinking is not accepted by everyone. Some, consider it as nonsense, and discourage people who follow it, but there is a growing number of people, who accept positive thinking as a fact, and believe in its effectiveness.

To use it in your life, you need more than just to be aware of its existence. You need to adopt the attitude of positive thinking in everything you do. Trust me, it will only steer you in the right direction.

Frank.

Spring Cleaning!

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I hope you’re staying warm! It’s a new week and it’s pretty frigid in Toronto. So cold that it is 30 degrees below zero. That doesn’t mean that work cannot get done! As we’re close to the end of the first quarter one question I have for you is are you on your way to reaching your goals this year? One thing for me that’s always been essential to attaining my goals was to maintain a high level of organization.

I’ve learned that without being organized, you only add stress to your work, and with stress comes more issues. Gladly, spring is coming up so why don’t you start on getting organized now?

Here are some tips that I have come across to keep me steadily organized when it comes to completing tasks and keeping on top of my goals:

  1. Get Rid of Junk – It’s important to always take away the clutter that you don’t need in your work space. Make sure that you make a ‘toss’ pile of things you’d like to throw away and a ‘store’ pile of things you’d like to keep. Be mindful of the value of things that will help you be efficient in the work place. Also, don’t forget to create and maintain a well-documented ‘to-do’ list.
  2. Store what’s important to you – Do not hoard things for the sake of having them or else it will take away from what you actually need! Create a way to organize your materials in a way that makes sense to you. Everything related to what you need to be successful, ensure that you keep it in a safe place to allow you to refer to it when you need to.
  3. Tackle your to-do list – This is where you should always invest your efforts for the biggest payoff in the long-term. Create file folders for each project. When you complete a project or tasks, go through the file and discard the unimportant documents from within then store and organize the file accordingly.
  4. Keep your desk (work space) clear! – The surface of your desk should always be visible. Keep it that way. Deal with every piece of paper that crosses your desk immediately, to ensure that you are getting tasks done in the most efficient way possible.
  5. Use Technology Wisely – Develop a method of storing phone numbers, and files on your computer and/or mobile phone. Online organizers which you can access via your computer or phone may take a little while to master, but will save you time in the long run.

Lastly, always remember to self-evaluate your progress to ensure you’re on the right path. Here’s an amazing article that I came across from Forbes explaining this: http://onforb.es/1hOBNaN

Have a great week, stay warm, and don’t forget to keep your eyes on the prize!

Frank.

Stopping Yourself Before You Even Try

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Stopping-Yourself-Before-You-TryHow many times have you wanted to try something, only to stop yourself before you even attempt it? Travel to a country where you don’t know the language, jumping into a cave with a pool at the bottom, asking someone on a date… or perhaps more relatable, asking for the close when fear has the nasty habit of making you say “I can’t do that” before you even attempt it.

I’m not going to go into the psychology or anything too heavy about fear, but what I am going to try and do is convince you that you’re you own worst enemy. Thinking about it logically, the reason that you think that you can’t do something is because you’re afraid of the negative outcome. If you’re scared about jumping into the cave with the pool at the bottom, you’re most likely scared that you’ll hit something on the way down. If you’re afraid of asking for the close, you’re most likely afraid that they’ll turn down your offer and all your hard work will be for nothing.

When it comes to fear holding you back when you’re selling, I can offer you two points of advice based on my own experience:

You Won’t Know Until You Try – Why would you put in all the work of building a connection with a prospect, getting to know them and realizing that your service can genuinely help them, only to stop yourself before asking for a close? Getting cold feet near the end of the sales process can be tricky, but the absolute worst case scenario is that they’ll say no. Afterwards, the solution is simple…

Worst Case Scenario: Move On – So you do the big ask and they say no. Was it as bad as you imaged? The reality is that it probably stung a bit, perhaps it was a tad frustrating and threw off your day, but you moved on right? Even if we don’t admit that we can, moving on is just something that people do naturally. Of course, it comes easier to some than others, but no matter what it’s important to simply deal with whatever outcome has happened and grow from it, instead of dwelling on it and letting it prevent future opportunities.

It’s better to cope with failure than live with the “what-ifs”, both in life and in sales. Trust me, once you get rid of all fear when selling, you’ll excel further than you thought possible and soon enough be sitting on that cash throne.

Adapt When Your Plans Fall Through

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If you went to the mall this past weekend (or anytime this month really) then you’ve been elbow to elbow trying to get some last minute shopping done. This could have all been easily avoided of course if you had just made a plan beforehand and then tackled it strategically.

The interesting part is that not everyone leaves all of their shopping to the last minute on purpose. I know many people who make detailed shopping plans that list everything from who the gift is for, to where they’ll buy the gift and even the exact price. With such a detailed plan, you would assume that getting everything done would be simple since all you have to do is tackle each piece one at a time. Things don’t always go as planned though, and even the most detailed plan can fall apart due to unforeseen circumstances…. See what I’m getting at?

Most entrepreneurs easily recognize this scenario, as a detailed business plan or planned acquisition can fall apart, leaving you scrambling to find alternatives if you’re ill prepared. Cases like this is where you need to be adaptable enough to find other solutions, instead of staying stuck on what could have been. But how?

Always Have A Contingency Plan – No matter how bullet proof a plan may appear to be, you always always need to have an ace up your sleeve. There have been many instances where an organization has been brought to their knees because they had all their hopes on a major acquisition or something similar, only to have it fall through. In essence, since these organizations thought that this one particular action item in a plan would pan out and essentially set them up for success, enough to the point where they don’t even attempt to get new business. Once things fall through, there’s a period of time where everything slows down because you need to build up momentum again and get over the failure – which not everyone does. This is where the contingency plan is useful, because you’ve already detailed what you need to do in the worst case scenario. All that’s left afterwards is to follow that plan.

Don’t “Fall In Love” And Rush In – An old Elvis song says “Only fools rush in”, and I think this ties in nicely with the previous point because the reason a lot of companies don’t have a back-up plan is because they’re completely in love with the potential ROI one of their created plans has to offer, and blindly chase it without considering the downsides. I’m not saying that being determined on a certain item is a bad thing, but I am saying that you need to be realistic about certain things. Get your team together and objectively assess whether or not this plan can come to fruition, and if you’ll have to change details that you might have been “in love” with.

At the end of the day, you can’t depend on anything realistically working out for you. Even those who work their tails off can have things blow up on them. It’s in these moments though that true leadership shines, as how you navigate these stormy seas can sometimes determine your organization’s success.

Holiday Homestretch

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With 37 days left in 2014, families and organizations are undoubtedly feeling the pressure of holiday crunch time. I’m pretty guilty of waiting last minute to buy all of my Christmas presents, but when it comes to prepping for the next year I try hard not to lose my focus and keep it going.

This time of year it really does feel like everything is working against you, though. The dreary weather sometimes makes it impossible for you to even get into the office, unexpected family visiting, hysteria at every store you visit regardless of what you want to buy…. It seems endless. During this chaos though is when you need to carve time to review how the year has been, since you’ll be busy the next couple of weeks preparing for 2015.

Revisit Your Earlier Goals – Hopefully you made a list of goals at the beginning of the year to guide your business. With so little time left in the year, you shouldn’t be looking at your list and attempt a mad dash to the finish. Rather, it’s a time to look at your list and see what has worked well for you. Hopefully you’ll find that you not only surpassed some goals, but that you also surpassed goals you added on a little later in the year. You’re bound to find something that was meant to be your focus that you may have let slip through the cracks…

Tie Up Lose Ends – If you do see a few loose ends that you were supposed to focus on for the year, you should do one of two things: (a) see why you weren’t able to meet this goal and attempt it next year or (b) decide if you should make it a priority for the coming year or if it’s actually a critical goal. Losing sight of a particular goal isn’t always a bad thing. Perhaps you subconsciously realized that this goal wasn’t essential to growing your business – especially if you’ve experienced tremendous growth in the year without it. On the flip side, if your business didn’t grow as quickly as you expected, then you should probably make it a priority in 2015.

Plan Your Time Off Accordingly – You’re not seriously planning on neglecting your family over the holidays, are you? No matter what holiday you observe, this time of year is important to spend with your family. I’ve talked about balance before, but I can’t stress how important it is to actually put your phone and computer down for a bit and spend time with loved ones. I can completely sympathize if a 100% disconnect is impossible, but don’t completely neglect your family either!

I’m very interested to know what your game plan is for the final weeks of the year. Please share your thoughts with me in the comments!

Escaping Negativity

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escape-negativityYou know those days? Those days where everything seems to go wrong, be it on a technical level or something else entirely? Those days are extremely difficult to cope with, but that’s all they are – just single days. The trap to be weary of is letting these days turn to weeks, then weeks to months until you’re consumed by this negativity.

Doing your job becomes incredibly difficult when you constantly create barriers that stop you from performing well. As cheesy or clichéd as it sounds, your state of mind has a tremendous effect on your surroundings. I won’t turn this into a debate on whether you believe me or not, but I do want to offer some points on how to evaluate your negativity to see if something productive can come from it.

Talk It Out With Someone – This of course works with most difficulties in life, but its important to talk this out. Discussing your issues with different people in your life will give you a different view of your situation. You’d be surprised by how many coworkers might be going through the same situation you are. Don’t limit it to coworkers either. Friends, family, significant others… There are rarely any problems you experience that haven’t been dealt with by someone else. Perhaps you won’t like what you hear, but at the very least you’ll have a different opinion.

Pinpoint Your EXACT Cause – After you’ve discussed why you’re feeling so negative with other people, I imagine that you’d have a general idea of what type of negativity is consuming you. What’s important though is that you figure out EXACTLY why you’re being negative. Was it something that has been building over time, a bad experience that you can’t shake or do you feel unfulfilled with what you do? Pinpointing the exact reasons for of your bad vibes can have a better understanding of how to resolve these underlying problems.

Look At The Big Picture – After you’ve talked it out and narrowed down the exact reasons of your negativity, it’s time to act. This will depend entirely on you. Consider the options though, and don’t act on instinct. Perhaps you are long overdue for a vacation, or there’s been something brewing between you and your manager for a long time coming. As drastic as it sounds, you also have to consider that you are simply not happy with the organization you’re with, and its time to move on. As difficult as that might be, in the long run staying somewhere that makes you feel negative isn’t beneficial for either party.

Escaping negativity isn’t easy, but you’ll be thankful once all is said and done.

Mastering Efficiency For Better Business

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2594377_origThis past week I had the pleasure of taking part of an internal strategy summit with all of the Presidents of the different Wish Group companies, as well as attending our quarterly meeting with all of the companies. Admittedly, one of the challenges that we face with having so many different companies under one umbrella is a unified focus. While I’m perfectly happy with the success of each company all they have achieved, I adamantly believe that if all of the companies combine our synergies, we can become a much more efficient unit.

In fact, the heavy focus of this quarterly meeting was on efficiency. As with all of our meetings, we pick one theme and message to drive home to the team and our leaders felt that efficiency was certainly something that any company can always improve on. As such, from both our strategy summit and our quarterly meeting, here is what we are doing to increase our efficiency that can be applied to any company.

Re-examine How Things Currently Work – The first step towards making anything more efficient is taking an honest look at how things are currently working. I say honest because if you keep telling yourself that everything is perfect, nothing will ever improve. Examine some of your shortcomings and try to assess what mechanics you can put in place to streamline processes that will make you work smarter.

Assembly Line Principle – One of the analogies that we used to drive home efficiency is one of the most successful business efficiency success stories of all time – the assembly line. Henry Ford was famous for taking a long, complex process and turning it into something that made it significantly easier to produce more cars in less time. The main idea behind this was to have staff focus on using their strengths, instead of spreading them thin by trying to do everything. This is incredibly difficult at a start up company as everyone is always wearing multiple hats, but try and discover what tasks your team members excel at and whenever possible give them those tasks.

Trust Your Team – Tying into the previous point, once you’ve discovered what areas your team members are adept at, trust them to complete their task. If you’re constantly worrying about the kind of work your team is doing, it’ll leave less time for you to focus on running your business. Have faith that your team will always produce the best work possible.

I’m certain that efficiency is always top of mind for your company, so I’m curious to know what tasks you think you could be doing more efficiently, and what you want to improve on in your company.

Do You Treat Success Like Turkey And Pumpkin Pie?

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I hope that everyone enjoyed time with their family during Thanksgiving and that everyone had a chance to eat to their heart’s content. I have a very soft spot for pumpkin pie and as such I happen to over indulge a bit over the past weekend, along with a bunch of other food. If it’s in abundance, it’s the time to enjoy it as much as you can, correct?

I don’t think I need to tell you the consequences of enjoying too much pie, but I’ve found that many business owners treat success the same way as Thanksgiving treats – they gorge themselves on it without thinking of the consequences of the future. Here are some things to consider when it comes to celebrating your success:

Success Isn’t Given, It’s Created – It’s always nice to not be the host during Thanksgiving every now and then because it means that you’re not the one who is preparing the food. But just because it was handed to you doesn’t mean that it didn’t take hard work to make it happen. Don’t get lazy once your company starts seeing a lot of success, because it won’t always come as easily to you. You shouldn’t depend on success being given to you, you ALWAYS need to work hard and earn it.

Save Some For Later… – I don’t think I need to tell you, but I hope that once your company starts seeing financial success that you’re not spending it on unnecessary and extravagant expenses. There’s hardly any worse feeling than realizing that all of this infamous pie is gone, so imagine how it must feel when you realize that enjoying too much of your financial success and you’re almost back where you started or worse. It’s a good habit to keep an ongoing tally of your success and budget, and make sure that you’re properly investing in areas of your company that will ensure growth.

…But Still Enjoy It – Of course, we’re only human so don’t take this as me simply telling you to not enjoy your success. If your team worked hard to land an account, or your business has been consistently growing for a few months, treat your team and show them that this success was entirely possible because of their hard work and dedication. As with everything in life, balance is important. Be responsible with your celebrations.

It’s always tempting to go for more and want more, but as long as you’re responsible about how you do it, there’s nothing wrong with indulging every now and then.

Make The Most Of 24 Hours

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24-Hours24 hours in a day – to some people it seems like that’s never enough to accomplish anything, but then there are the people who seem like they can get everything done in that time, plus still have time for their family, friends and a million other personal tasks. Your gut reaction might be to be envious of these people, but it’s not as if they’re cheating and getting an extra hour from somewhere. We ALL have 24 hours to make the most out of, which means that it really just comes down to time management.

Managing your time really is an art. It takes a lot of practice and experience to know how to best use your time, especially when you’re a sales person. Selling isn’t as simple as calling random names in a phonebook (which admittedly is a dated phrase), sending random emails and then patiently awaiting the results. You’ll need to be tactical of how you organize your time to ensure that you’re getting the best results while taking advantage of the time you have. I’ll provide you with a few insights from years of selling:

Write EVERYTHING Down – The key to any form of time management is to keep track of your day. Eventually you’ll be able to adjust and plan ahead, but to first start things out you should just write down everything that you’re currently doing in a typical day. This way you’ll get a solid understanding of how you currently spend your time. You’ll also get a very stark view of how much time you’re not using effectively, which might be difficult to accept. Everyone likes to believe they’re productivity machines, but we all fall victim to distraction.

(Try To) Limit Distractions, Or Schedule Them In – Once you get an understanding of how you’re using your time and see how you’re distracting yourself, the next step is to try and limit your distractions. I put an emphasis on “try” because I know that it’s not as simple as just cutting yourself off from the internet or turning your phone off. At the end of the day, we’re all human and can’t keep working hours on end without some form of distraction. What you can, and should, start doing is penciling time to be distracted. That way, you’ll make the most out of the bit of time that you have. Keep in mind though, that there will be many times when you can’t predict things coming up, and you’ll need to just act on instinct.

Know When You’re Good – Not everyone is an early bird, and not everyone is a night owl. Every person is efficient at different times of the day. For example, those who prefer working early mornings will tackle their most important tasks first thing, while those who are more functional in the afternoon will focus their mornings on less vital tasks and preparing for the tasks ahead. There’s no right or wrong when it comes to this. Figure out what works best for you and try to work around it. If you can prove results to your manager, you can even try changing your working schedule to accommodate this!

Like I mentioned, each step might vary slightly based on the results that you find, but once you find out what works for you, stick with it and you’ll find yourself using time a lot more efficiently – both in your work life and personal life.

Setting Standards and Expectations

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setting-expectations-and-standardsSurely you’ve heard people mention in passing that they live by a “code”, but what does that mean exactly? While I could delve into many different territories here, something that I believe all “codes” follow is that they set certain standards and expectations.

Standards and expectations are important because they dictate vital elements of how your business will operate, like how you’ll treat your clients and who’s accountable in your organization. If you try to operate your business without setting any form of standards to follow, the results are guaranteed to be disastrous.

To me, these are the three most important people you need to set standards and expectations for:

For Your Clients – This should naturally be your priority. Who will be the point of contact for clients? How will you communicate with them? What type of tone will you use, professional or casual? How do you want them to perceive your organization? These types of questions may seem arbitrary, but if nothing is set in place before your team starts liaising with clients, the disorganization will be obvious. There are few things more annoying than multiple people from your organization reaching out to a client to ask the same questions.

For Your Co-workers – Another equally important set of standards that you need to have in place are for your coworkers. You may think that you have them in place, but are you sure that everyone truly understands what they are? This goes far beyond simple things like a dress code. This means that everyone understands deliverables for each project, how much time to allocate for different clients and who will deliver what work. Again, this may sound arbitrary, but you might be surprised once you discover what people on your team are expecting from each other – and from you.

For Yourself – This point ties in with what I was discussing earlier when I mentioned living by a “code”. When you set standards for where you work, then it makes sense that you should set standards for yourself, correct? While everyone’s idea of ideal expectations will differ, sit down and pencil out what exactly is important to you. How will you treat your clients? How often do you want to regroup with your coworkers? Are you realistically making enough time for yourself and your loved ones? These things matter in the long run. Once you have an idea of what people can expect from you, make it known to them.

One last thing I want to mention about expectations and standards is that once they’re set, don’t neglect them. While not having standards can be pretty rough, setting them and not following through is much worse.