Why Honor and Integrity is Worth More Than Money

March 31, 2011

A friend of mine asked me this week about a business decision I made last year that cost me several thousands of dollars.  I thought I would briefly share what happened and why I feel I made the right choice.  You can decide for yourself what you would have done.

So here’s the scenario last year.  A very wealthy friend of mine asked me to get involved in a business venture of his.  I took a serious look at the business, but ultimately decided it wasn’t for me.  I knew we could make a lot of money, but quite frankly the concept bored me to tears.  One of the key compensation components was in building a national sales team and  receiving a generous commission on all their sales.  While this intrigued me, I had to make a decision.  Was I doing this for the money or the love of the business?

You see, I’ve found that if you don’t love what you do, you won’t do it very well.  Forget the money for a second because loving what you do each day is priceless!

Let’s fast-forward a few months.  After I decided not to pursue this opportunity, I referred another friend to it.  Now I did this for the sole reason that I knew she would LOVE this and pursue it will all her heart and I knew she would be a rock star at it.  Soon after I referred her, my friend called me up and told me I should jump in the business and put her on my team.  Even if I didn’t do anything else in the business, I would make a small fortune off of her work.  I politely declined.

For me, this is where HONOR and INTEGRITY come in.

You have to understand my point of view on this.  When I commit to something, I really commit to it and stick with it until it works or fails miserably.  It’s the only way I function.  So if I would have gotten into that business, I would have gone all the way.  For me, I wouldn’t recruit a sales person and then leave them without my leadership.  In my opinion, there’s no honor or integrity in that move.  It’s purely money driven and will bite you in the rear.

In this particular case, I knew I couldn’t look myself in the mirror if I left my team out in the cold without my direct guidance and supervision.  Regardless of my abilities, those people would be my responsibility and I would give them 100%.  But that’s where my heart jumped in and said, NO!  I knew I didn’t like the business and would be bored out of my mind very quickly.  That would translate into the business amd my team and I would eventually hate every moment of it.  Which would present another problem for me.  Because of my commitment mindset, I would pour my soul into this business only to hate every minute of it and eventually resent the whole thing, my team and my friend.  My other option was to quit if I hated it and quitting just isn’t an option for me.

So in this case, the honorable thing to do was not to get involved in that business, BUT still refer people who I thought were a great fit for it.  You see, in your heart, you have to figure out who you are and what you are about.  For me, I’m all about helping people achieve their dreams.  I’m not the only person in the world like this, but I’ll tell you what differentiates me from many.  I don’t focus myself on how I will be rewarded for helping others.  That limits my abilities to help people achieve their dreams which is why I was put on this planet.

Honor and Integrity are more important than money for this simple reason…  You can always make more money, but it’s nearly impossible to get back your honor or integrity once you show the world that you are willing to comprise either or both of them for any reason.

Another great reason to focus on honor and integrity over money is the legacy you leave behind.  Most people have no idea the impact they make on their team or their family.  Believe me when I say everyone is watching every move you make.  Especially your children.  So leave the generation after you better off by leading with Honor and Integrity every day in every decision you make.  You will be rewarded properly for doing the right things.  And as you can see from the picture of my little girls below, there are some things that money just can’t buy!

My little girls

Katie and Megan 2010


Want to know how to get Larger Coaching Clients?

July 27, 2010

Here’s a post that I wrote for my coaches that are clients this week.  I thought I would share this here since ANY business owner can apply this to getting bigger clients for their business.  Enjoy!

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I’ve spoken to about 20 coaches in the last month and I get asked by every coach I meet how to get larger clients.  I get asked this for two main reasons.

1.  Most coaches don’t think they can sign smaller clients.

2.  After a while in this business, coaches want to get their average dollar sale up.

 So here are my thoughts and experiences on both topics.

  1. You probably don’t think you can sign smaller clients.  So what’s a small client?  A small client is 0-500K in revenues.  I’m here to tell you that you can sign these people.  I’ve made a business out of this target market.  And these people can pay between $1,500 and $2,500 per month.  I know this because I sign these clients all the time.  I’ve recently hit a pattern of signing clients that are only generating about 20 to 40K in annual revenues.  And yes they are paying in the $1,500 to $2,000 per month range for coaching.

Here’s the thing about MY FREE COACHING sessions….  Prospects see the value of coaching and they know by the end of the FREE COACHING SESSION that they only have to front the coaching fees for the first 90 days or so and then coaching is not only paying for itself but generating a profit.  This is absolutely KEY to bringing these people on board.

One of my clients came on as a start up almost 3 years ago.  He had a projection of $140K in revenues, but had only generated about 50K so far that year.  We started him at $2K per month and he put it on a credit card.  Fast forward 3 years and his business is generating $4.3 Million in revenues.

The point I really want to drive home is that you CAN sign these “smaller” clients and they can pay you really well.  It just depends on how you position the investment into coaching.  Oh yeah, and then you have to get them results.  Get them results and they will refer everyone they know like my first client did.  My first client was making about 400K in revenues when I met them.  They flat out said there was no way they could make 500K a year in revenues in their business and it hadn’t been done in 50 years of running the place.  I started them at $1,800 a month.  We ended their first year of coaching at approximately 657K in revenues, reduced the owners hours IN the business from 80 to 15 per week, and increased profits by about 15%.  They became a steady stream of referrals for me.

2.  All that said, HOW DO I GET LARGER CLIENTS?  This is what you really want to know.  You may not like my answer.  Have you gone back to the SYSTEM AND reviewed the MARKETING flipcharts?  If not, you may want to right now.

Remember the slides about your target market?

First off, do you know what your target client looks like?
What are their revenues?

How many employees?

What cities do you want to target?  (Remember that you can market to your ENTIRE state.  PHONE COACHING ROCKS!)

What industries do you want to target?

                That’s step 1.  Defining who the market is….

The next step (step 2) is brainstorming where they are in the largest concentration?  The whole purpose of this is to figure out the best ways to reach them in mass quantity.  Here’s a bit of a secret.  If you are looking to attract businesses that are generating 1 to 5 Million in revenues, you have to look for them at their place of business.  That is where they spend the most time.

So step 3 in this process is deciding how you want to market to these people.  If you need to reach them in their office you will want to consider Bold or Cold calling strategies…  I like Phone Mail Phone for these people and make it very specific to them and their business…  Be creative with direct bulky mail…  Send packages instead of direct mail…  Ask people in your networking groups if they know specific contacts at these companies…  And an absolute MUST is that you create a top 50 or even 100 of these companies that you want to do business with.

My favorite strategies include Strategic Alliances with CPA’s, Staffing Companies, and other partners that work with my target market.  A third party referral from one of these people is like GOLD!

Here’s a secret about targeting higher revenue clients.  The acquisition cost is higher.  That means it may take longer to acquire them and it may take several touches just to get them interested.  The other part of that is that the lifetime value, SHOULD BE GREATER!  You just have to keep this in mind when you are marketing to them.

Step 4 is that you have to test and measure your results.  What’s working, what’s not, and what do you need to change up?

Step 5 is the crown jewel of coaching.  Go back to the 5 ways.  How many leads do you have that fit your target market?  How many FREE COACHING SESSIONS have you set with someone in your target market?  How many have you closed?
Want more large clients?  Look at the numbers…  Focus on the activity.  If you only have a 20% conversion rate you can do one of two things.  Generate more leads or get better at closing.

Here’s a hint.  There are fewer prospects in the multimillion dollar range than there is in the 500K and below range.  So work with both and hone your coaching with the smaller clients.  Turn your small clients into big fish in your market and they will refer other big fish to you.


Google Alerts

July 15, 2009

Here’s a quick, but valuable suggestion.  I recently started monitoring Google Alerts for my name and industry.  Simply go to www.google.com/alerts  and setup keyword alerts for any words you wish.  I have two setup that I monitor daily.  I focus on one for my name and one for business coaching.  This allows me to see any news posted about me or my industry. 

Very handy for many reasons.  One big reason is to see if someone is posting good or bad press about you on the web.  If they are posting good things about you, you can thank them.  If they are posting bad things about you, you can work with them to resolve these things.  And don’t kid yourself, no matter how great your service is, people are going to complain about you.  And here’s an insider tip:  They almost never complain to you if something is wrong.  So be smart and monitor your personal profile and your industry keywords.

On the industry side, it’s great to see some of the press that happens in your industry.  For example, Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt just posted a video on how everyone needs a coach.  It’s a great video and it shows how he didn’t think he needed a coach until he got one.  Here’s the video so you can check it out.  http://money.cnn.com/video/fortune/2009/06/19/f_ba_schmidt_google.fortune/


12 Proven Strategies to Boost Your Business During a Recession – eBook

July 7, 2009

Times are tough for many business owners, but here is a little secret. They don’t have to be. Here are 12 proven strategies that will get your business humming during any economic climate.

1.Give the best value – Never sell on just price. People want the best value and are usually willing to pay for it.

2.Market to your customers – Current customers are 7 times more likely to buy from you than someone who doesn’t know you.

3.Get a website that works – If you don’t have a website that works, you are missing out. 60% of all consumers in America search the web before making even the smallest purchases these days.

4.Business networking – Get out and meet other business owners. It’s not who you know in business as much as it is who knows you. Meet people and provide value to them. They will return the favor with business for you.

5.Customer service – I have done business in over 80 countries. The one thing I hear most in those countries is the need for customer service. An extra smile, a cute note on a bill, or a simple “is there anything else I can do for you” go a long way.

6.Create a business plan – I’m not talking about a 30 page proposal for a bank. I’m talking about a 2 page action plan with weekly steps toward your business goals. Always know where you are heading.

7. Collections – Make sure you are on top of the money people owe you. Show some concern and be fair but firm.

8. Focus on your strengths – You’ve probably heard this one all your life, but are you doing it? Do what you do best and beat all the rest.

9. Keep your business tidy – Chaos repels customers and the best employees. Make sure you keep things neat and clean at all times and you will attract more business.

10. Know your numbers – You need to know your break even on the day, not just the month. Have sales targets per day. Understand where you are at any given point in the month.

11. Get some training and help – The best business owners and sales people go to 3 or 4 training sessions per year or have business coaches they meet with regularly.

12. Social Media – Learn how to connect with your clients on their terms in a setting that suits them. Facebook, twitter, and wordpress blogs are a great place to start.


The B-GREAT System

June 7, 2009

Here’s a little system that I recently came up with to help organize my day.  I find the key to a great system is something easy to remember and easy to follow.  With that in mind, I came up with the B-GREAT system. 

The system is easy to follow and should be customized to your individual needs.  My suggestion is to follow this each day.  You can even make a quick checklist to ensure that you meet each step each day. 

System Outline:

B – Breakfast – Everyone needs to start the day off with a little breakfast.  Most nutritionist recommend this as the most important meal of the day and with that, it should be the largest.  This will help you get your mind sharp for the day as well as set your body up for success with regard to diet. 

G – Goals –You should start each day out with 1 ot 2 goals for the day.  Accomplish those goals and you should be on track to accomplishing your weekly, monthly, or long-term goals.  Be sure to set realistic goals for the day and be sure that they help you accomplish your long-term vision.

R- Reading – If you are an avid reader, this is an easy thing to do each day, but most of us are not big readers these days.  My suggestion is to start with 15 minutes a day.  That goal accomplishes a lot of things.  First, studies show that most people only remember at the highest levels for the first 15 minutes and last 15 minutes of study or reading.  So skip the middle part and just learn at the highest level.  It’s a great place to start.  Here’s what I have done to get back into reading.  I start the day with one chapter in the book of Proverbs.  There are 31 chapters in the book so you can read one a day.  These are very quick and get my mind going.  Since that book is based on the wisdom of the wisest man to ever walk the planet, it’s a good place to start the day.  I then try to ready 5 or 10 minutes in a business or personal development book.

E-Exercise –We all need at least 30 minutes a day of exercise.  That is really at a minimum.  Again, you can do less, but many studies show that you don’t really start to burn fat or get a good cardio workout until you hit that 30 minute mark.  What people don’t realize that is exercise could be a lot of things.  You can really get creative here.   You may have to invest a bit more time in the activity to get what you need out of it, but there are many activities that can help keep you in shape.  Here are a few.

You can:  *  Go to the Gym   *  Ride a Bike   *  Organize your basement   *  Clean your house   *  Play with your kids   *  Take your dog for a walk   *  Take a walk at the park   *  Go hiking   *  Jump on a trampoline (kids optional)              *  Play a sport   *  Chop firewood   *  Clean out and hand wash your car

A – Action Steps/Action Plan –The key to a system like this or even life is ACTION.  Which means you have to DO something.  Action requires DOing.  Your daily action plan should have a couple of components.  The first is a schedule.  We all need a schedule for the day that keeps us organized and on top of things.  This could be done with a date book or calendar or with something more techie like Microsoft Outlook calendar and reminders.  I also like to use tasks in my Outlook to make sure I’m keeping track of the things I accomplish.  Just remember to keep it simple.  One of the most popular suggestions is to plan your day the night before or first thing in the morning.  Taking a few minutes to plan your day.  This is the glue that holds together the whole system.  This is how you plan out your breakfast for the week, work on your goals for the day, it’s when you get your reading done, and find time to exercise.  One last thing, your action plan can change during the course of the day depending on your needs.  Be flexible, but make sure your plan gets all the important things done first.

T – Time for Reflection/Self– Here is one that most people may already be doing, but not really thinking about.  It’s important to think back on the day and be able to go over the days events and ask this question:  Did I do everything I could today to move my life forward?  I only spend in little bit of time reflecting on the day, but I find it very helpful to look back at the day and see how I used that time.  Time is your most valuable resource.  You have to spend and invest it wisely because you only get one shot at it.  Sometimes I ask myself, If today was my last day on the planet, would I be proud of how I spend it?  The answer isn’t always YES.  So I use this reflection time to think of better ways to act next time.  I also think of situations I was in and how I might have acted differently to change the outcome.  This is a part of the system that can really develop wisdom in your life if you allow the time to reflect and understand your actions and how they impacted your life.  The second part of this is time for yourself.  You need time to recharge and relax each day.  It may be 20 minutes playing a game by yourself, browsing the web or working on your Facebook page.  Whateve the release, we all need one on a daily basis.  This is great exercise for your brian.  It will also help your brain come up with some of your greatest ideas.


Top Time Wasters and How to Avoid Them

May 20, 2009

It’s easy to find extra time in your week to get things done when you realize the amount of time you have never changes; being smart about how you use it gets more done in the available time.

The telephone. Interruptions caused by phone calls can reduce your productivity well below half. One client I worked with did a time study and found he was spending up to 2 hours a day answering phone calls that someone else could have dealt with or were calls of no value to him. He blocked out 2 hours a day when he did not answer the phone and found that he got about 4 hours worth of work done. He also reduced his working hours each day by 2.
Email now ranks with phone calls as a top time waster.
Action: schedule time to make and receive phone calls and emails. Put these in your default diary so you know when they are to be done. Block out time that is uninterruptable to get high value work done.

Visitors. Unscheduled meetings interrupt your day just like phone calls. A travel agent client I worked with had the constant disruption of people dropping in for a chat. It is wonderful that people want to keep that contact with you. However, the meeting needs to be kept brief.
Action: Prepare plans to deal with these circumstances. The plan should have a script that deals with ending the meeting such as needing to meet someone else, and it should also have movements, like standing and walking the visitor to the door.

Meetings that go too long or waste time. You are meant to be earning money. If the meeting is not contributing to making money don’t have it. The meeting should only go as long as its return on investment. If you are holding a meeting with 4 people who each earn $100 an hour, then your meeting better end up making more than that back. Otherwise, you would be better off not holding the meeting.
Action: Have a set agenda and time frame for meetings. The chairman must keep the meeting to the agenda. Circulate the agenda so that people come prepared. Put time limits on responses.

Procrastination. The biggest time waster of all is putting it off or letting something else get in the way. You know what I mean. “I will just get a cup of coffee before I start.” “I will just take the garbage out.”
Action: Stop putting it off. Write yourself a sign and put it up. The sign says DO IT NOW.

Socialising. The coffee break is the break. Work is not the break from socialising. Taking too long because you are busy chatting is wasting time. Time adds up. If you waste 10 minutes a day, that’s 50 minutes a week, which is 2500 minutes in 50 weeks. That’s 41 hours and 40 minutes. A whole week’s work.
Action: Mental sign BACK TO WORK.

Let’s have a quick review of time wasting, or more importantly the benefit of not wasting time. Take 10 minutes of less socialising when you should be working, take another 10 minutes of more effective activity from the other 4 areas mentioned. Start work 5 minutes earlier and finish 5 minutes later. That’s 30 minutes a day. You have just got yourself 2 1/2 hours a week of productive work (a day’s worth of just being busy being busy type work). How much more will you make in a year by working like this? Not harder, just more determined and efficient. What difference will that make to your business and your life? It is up to you.

Regards
Marcus Kroek
Winner: Best CLient Results 2008
ActionCOACH Asia Pacific
marcuskroek@actioncoach.com
www.actioncoach.com/marcuskroek


Family Friday

March 29, 2009

We recently implemented Family Friday at my office.  It’s an idea from my Army days where we would leave early one day a week.  Our office chose Friday.  So each Friday we leave at 3 instead of 5.  It allows everyone to beat the rush hour traffic, get a jump on their weekend, and spend a bit more time with their family.

Morale has instantly increased on those days.  I’ve gotten several comments from our team about this being a great thing.  Best of all is that it is really free for the company to do.  I have found that everyone still gets their job done and that customer calls or anything that happens after 3 still gets handled.

So next time you are looking for a free way to boost morale, add Family Friday to your list of benefits of working for your company.  Your team will love it and it won’t cost you anything.

We are now thinking about no email Friday.  That’s a tip from one of our folks right out of the new What Would Google Do book.  I think it’s an interesting idea.  The concept is that you don’t send email internally on that day.  Of course some departments will still have to in order to communicate with clients, partners, and vendors but a lot of the company can go without for a whole day.