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Archive for January, 2017

Extra Points: What Are You Afraid Of?

January 30, 2017 Leave a comment

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40For the better part of the last year, there seems to be a lot of fear and trepidation in this country. All you have to do is spend a few minutes on Facebook to get your fill of colorful responses to it.

The building of a wall on the Mexican border dominated the headlines last week as President Trump seeks to make good on his campaign promise. Fear of safety has been the rallying cry for those in favor, and the response against has been just as loud. As a history aficionado, I wonder what the response – had social media existed – would have sounded like in December 1941 when President Roosevelt ordered the internment of nearly 120,000 Japanese-Americans after the Pearl Harbor attack. Today we look back in horror to the actions of what is a now a very celebrated president. Just like the topic of today’s wall and other issues related to entering this country have been sparked by fear of security, those decisions made by President Roosevelt and the government were fueled by the same fear.

Fear is a powerful motivator. Although fear of certain things – getting too close to a flame for fear of being burned; fear of not insuring your home or business in case it’s destroyed – cause us to take actions that benefit us; many things we fear lead us to sit on the sidelines. We have all been guilty of it at one time or another in our lives, I’m sure. The question is now, what are you still afraid of and what is it holding you back from accomplishing.

The legendary actress Mary Tyler Moore passed away last week. For millions of women, she gave hope to taking control and betting on one’s self. The roles she played were contrary to the world’s view of a woman; and in real life she formed her own production company that spawned hundreds of popular television shows. Why is this important? Because regardless of gender, race, color of skin, or anything else, you control your own destiny. You direct each day, week, and year. The only thing stopping you from being bold is a fear of something. Identify what it is; exorcise fear from your thinking; lay your emotional and financial investment on yourself; and if you’re resilient, you may “just make it after all.” Because as some famous president who’s profile graces our dime stated nine years prior to those Pearl Harbor attacks, “the only thing we have to fear; is fear itself.”

Go be fearless.

Need help identifying and overcoming the fears and obstacles that hold you back? Give me a call or email and let’s talk.

Quote of the Week:

“You can’t be brave if you’ve only had wonderful things happen to you.”

~ Mary Tyler Moore

© 2017 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Next Guest in the Shrimp Tank

January 24, 2017 Leave a comment

shrimptanklogoOur next guest in the Shrimp Tank will be Nick Johnson, owner of Cima Creative and Co-Founder of Libro.fm. The podcast will stream live on Wednesday, January 25th at 3 pm. You can listen live on our WEBSITE.

Here’s a quick bio on our guest, Nick Johnson….

Nick Johnson is the Creative Director at Libro.fm, a Seattle based startup that provides independent bookstores the ability to sell digital audiobooks. He is also the Owner of Cima Creative, a Branding and Marketing firm based out of Poulsbo, WA.

20130515_cima-creative_nick-johnson_portraits_003-mediumHe graduated from the University of Washington with a Bachelor of Arts and Sciences in Interdisciplinary Visual Arts where he studied drawing, painting, sculpture and photography. He transitions his studies from fine arts to graphic design and upon graduation quickly landed a role with a leading design firm in Seattle. While there, he working with a wide variety of clients’ from small non-profits to global Fortune 500 companies.

In 2013 he went off on his own and launched Cima Creative shortly followed by Co-Founding Libro.fm with fellow University of Washington Alumni Mark Pearson and Carl Hartung.

Nick is passionate about delivering high quality design and exceptional customer service. His work with Libro.fm is geared towards providing small businesses a way to compete with large monopolies, and to give people a choice in who they support when they spend their money.

© 2017 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Extra Points: Are You Out of Water?

January 23, 2017 Leave a comment

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40This Week’s Focus Point: Are You Out of Water?

One of my jobs as the minion of two demanding Jack Russell Terriers is to keep their water dish full. While they might think it’s my “only job,” I do on occasion lose track of the depth of the water dish. Captain Jack is not afraid to tell me. He is very skilled at striking the empty bowl as hard as he can with his paw, causing a loud clang that reverberates through the house. If within a few seconds I don’t appear, the action is repeated until I respond. Captain Jack is not shy about asking for (or rather demanding) help and getting what he needs.

Business owners and other professionals should take a cue from my canine pal.

Be bold and ask for help. In my experience, many business owners and professionals choose not to ask for help for three reasons. First, they don’t think they need it. Second, they know they need it but don’t know where to get it. Third, they fear looking “weak.”

My responses: First, we all need help. Sometimes it’s advice; sometimes guidance; and other times a full blown intervention. No matter what one has achieved, there is always a need for growth. Just ask any world-class athlete if they still get coaching and help. Second, help is easier than ever to find. Referrals from colleagues and simply searching on the Internet are two fast ways to start the process. If that’s the real excuse, then the problem is probably deeper and more the last reason I mentioned. I believe that the most self-confident and successful people in any profession are boldly willing to seek and find help. Just like Captain Jack, they don’t waste time in seeking it; are persistent on their attempt; and gain tremendous value and return in investment from it. For both Jack it quenches thirst and is necessary for a healthy and happy life. Same for you…

You have a right to keep your water bowl filled. That might mean your professional skills, the growth and significance of your business, or the quality of your life. Whatever it is, I encourage you to be vigilant over the depth of your bowl by constantly keeping it filled so you never get thirsty and desperate. Captain Jack doesn’t, and neither should you.

Need help identifying where your dish is getting empty, check out my Unleashed® Balance Sheets below. They are free to download and send to me for a no obligation perspective.

Quote of the Week:

“We may encounter many defeats, but we must not be defeated.”

~ Maya Angelou

© 2017 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Seattle Shrimp Tank Episode #8

January 18, 2017 Leave a comment

Listen to the Podcast (45 minutes) – LINK

Here are both the audio podcast and video wrap up to our great interview with Ryan Fournier. Ryan is President of Fournier Insurance Solutions in University Place, WA. In fact, Ryan has five locations around South Puget Sound. Ryan and his sister Kendra are second generation owners of the agency. Listen to Ryan give some age advice on running a family business and how business insurance is so critical to small business success.

Ryan also played football in college with former Seattle Seahawks quarterback Jon Kitna. Listen to hear if he shares any “dirt” on Jon!

You can subscribe on our website or on iTunes to never miss an episode. The next one is on January 25th at 3 pm PST with our guest Nick Johnson from Cima Creative.

© 2017 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

In Plain Sight Behind Closed Doors

January 17, 2017 Leave a comment

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40On Sunday, the Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Kansas City Chief in an exciting National Football League playoff game, sending them to the AFC Championship match up against the New England Patriots. After the game, Head Coach Mike Tomlin gave a rousing speech to his team; full of praise for their efforts and encouraging them to now move on and pull off the upset of the favored Patriots team the next week.

Coach Tomlin’s inspired words included a few expletives and exhortations that are normal in post-game locker rooms at any level of play. They are normally expressed behind closed doors and private. That’s what Coach Tomlin thought they were. Turns out that star player Antonio Brown was off to the side of the locker room recording everything on the moment on Facebook LIVE for the world to see.

Aside from the fact that it’s a violation of both team and NFL rules, there are huge issues here that pertain to your business.

  1. There was a well-communicated rule about the privacy of the locker room. What’s said within the walls (before the press is allowed in) was for those players and coaches. Brown blatantly and selfishly violated that rule using a live stream social media platform. What rules do you have about privacy in your company? What rules apply to the sharing of: employee compensation, bonuses, disciplinary actions, intellectual property, proprietary information, client and prospect lists, technology, and other “classified” materials? How do you know your “locker room” is safe?
  2. If you’ve seen the stream (now playing at your local Internet), you see Brown is around the corner from the coach and other players. He’s not listening or being part of the team. He’s more concerned about preening in front of the camera for 18 minutes (45 seconds of Tomlin’s speech included). While your employee meetings may not use the same format, how many of your employees are listening when you speak? Ever see any vacant eyes, distracted stares, peeking at text messages and email under the desk? 
  3. Antonio Brown is one of the star players. From all I’ve heard, he’s a hard worker and good teammate. He got caught up in the moment, thought of himself first, and then willingly broke rules. How many of your best and brightest employees are capable of bad behavior that could damage your company in some way? Don’t say “none.” I’ve had a situation where a client’s bookkeepers stole tens of thousands of dollars from under his nose over the course of several years before getting caught. Smart and successful business owner (just as Tomlin is a smart and successful coach) who placed trust in someone.

Here’s today’s takeaways:

  1. Don’t get caught being looking behind every rock for an employee behaving badly. The majority are doing the right things for you. However, being consistent in your message about what is expected and required is critical; even if you think you’ve got it under control.
  2. Your private company conversations, resources, information, etc. are all more at risk than ever. Cyber issues – whether it be crime or just social media – can put your company and your reputation at risk. You need to have a plan.
  3. Develop strong leaders to police yourselves. Give them autonomy to be your eyes and ears.

For most small and mid-size companies, these actions rarely get taken due to time and energy constraints. This is an investment of your time, energy, and money. In order to avoid both your “dirty and clean laundry” from being exposed to the world (and your clients), then you need to create a resiliency plan. Doing this will keep you from yelling expletives in the privacy of your office!

Need help creating a resiliency plan to prevent and mitigate crisis, and protect your reputation and profits? Contact me at (360) 271-1592 or dan@danweedin.com and let’s talk.

 

© 2017 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

 

Extra Points: Mental Toughness

January 16, 2017 Leave a comment

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40How do you define mental toughness?

I once defined it as a type of resilience; the ability to overcome adversity by using your mental capacity and smarts. While that may indeed be a component, I’ve come to a different global definition for mental toughness. Let’s see what you think…

Mental toughness is the capacity to concentrate on one thing at a time; to laser-focus on the task at hand, while drowning out all other distraction. It’s the discipline to not make things bigger than they really are (in other words, keep perspective); to not allow the past or the future to divert your attention to what’s in front of you; to simply play one play at a time.

I coached high school basketball for eight years. A common consequence of a player missing an easy layup would be that they then played poorly on defense the next play because they couldn’t eradicate the missed shot from their memory. Then on the next offensive possession, they were thinking of the missed shot; the bad play on defense; and “what will everyone think if I blow another one?” This is a terrible cycle. It’s a lack of mental toughness, and it afflicted some of the most physically tough athletes I coached.

It also plagues adults trying to run businesses and grow careers. Negative conversations can turn into bad meetings; turn into bad days; turn into bad weeks/months/years. Get my drift?

It’s not a failing to have this lack of focus enter our minds. Our brains are too complex and “stuff” comes in and out all the time. The key to mental toughness is to identify a “trigger” that will remind you to stay focused. The very best athletes, musicians, artists, sales professionals and CEOs (insert ANY career) have done it. It’s a daily discipline.

I work on it regularly. In fact, there are many times that lack of mental toughness “beats me.” If that happens to you too, then do this: Be kind to yourself. Understand you aren’t a robot and sometimes fail. Figure out the root cause of the failure and aim to identify it. Then next time when the urge to lose focus creeps in, fight back. This kind of muscle memory requires commitment, tenacity, and a positive attitude. The result of winning more frequently is becoming mentally tough. And that my friends, will catapult you to new heights in business and in life.

Quote of the Week:

“Positive anything is better than negative nothing.”

~ Elbert Hubbard

© 2017 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Protecting Your Profits

January 11, 2017 Leave a comment

20 Under 40 20_3This is my monthly column for the Kitsap Sun / Kitsap Business Journal. It’s Part 2 of a 3-part series but will stand alone in it’s value to you. Enjoy!

Last month’s column unveiled Part 1 of creating a strategic growth plan with eschewing the traditional business plan model and focusing on a strategic marketing plan. This month, we dive into a topic that most business owners and entrepreneurs should care a lot about – profits. A strategic growth plan better include profitable growth or you’re just messing around.

There are three components in my strategic growth plan — marketing, protection and financial. This column will cover protection, with the final one to follow next month.

Let’s face it; talking about growing profits is a sexier topic than protecting them, right? The problem is that there are so many monsters out there ready and willing to devour those profits that you need to build a fence around them.

I hate the phrase “risk management.” To me, it implies that “risk” is a bad thing. Without a healthy dose of risk, there are no rewards. Risk is simply a function of your tolerance for it. As an entrepreneur, you need a lot. That’s why I suggest you need to be resilient. My personal definition of resilience is this – the ability to take a punch; jump back up and throw two more of your own. Heck, as a business owner, this may be a daily discipline!

The “burden of reactive chaos” is a state where you’re constantly putting out the proverbial “fire” at the office. Instead of having a plan of attack to deal proactively with chaos, you’re seen constantly running around stamping out those flames with the same vigor and angst as kids hitting a Whack-a-Mole at a carnival. You are reacting to outside crisis and allowing that effort to exhaust your time, your energy, and your mindset. Left unchecked, you’ll find your profits dwindling because you and your employees are working less effectively, while also leaving gaps for those profit monsters to eat at your bottom line.

In order to avoid the “burden of reactive chaos,” you need to have a strategic resilience plan. Have no fear. I’m about to tell you how to get started with one!

How to Create a strategic resilience plan:

— Commit to investing time and money for the protection of your profits and sanity. This is the same concept as preparing your house for a disaster (which I’m certain you all have done). If you as the boss don’t commit to this investment, then who will? That’s right, nobody. Consider your ROI gobs of discretionary time, dramatically improved performance, and happier employees.

— Identify the monsters. What are the most probable obstacles to being wildly successful? The answers are bunched into four categories: physical (e.g. fire); human resources (e.g. employee issues); liability (e.g. negligence to someone else); and loss of income (e.g. brand/reputation). You can’t plan or prevent without identifying what can hurt you. This is the most important step.

— Assess the threats. Are these “monsters” lying in wait under the bed, or almost non-existent? Based on your industry, geography, and best practices, you can determine the likelihood of the chaos. You can also guess how bad it might be (e.g. lost days versus lost weeks). You can build a plan around certain calamities or create a “plug and play” model.

— Write it up. Once you’ve got a plan, write it down and share it with everyone. Create a committee or task force in charge of implementation. Make sure that everyone knows what to do in case of an emergence, especially how to evacuate. If it’s not written, it won’t be followed and your work will have gone to waste.
Practice. When I coached basketball, we would drill daily on end of game situations so we would be prepared when it happened. You need to do the same thing. Ask yourself how many employees can actually use one of the many fire extinguishers in your building. If there is no confidence in carrying out a plan, then reactive chaos flourishes and eats away at your profits like a hungry dog on a bone.

— Build a team. There are plenty of experts out there that can help you. Insurance brokers, consultants, technology specialists and more should be part of your team. Once a year, bring everyone together and brainstorm. Your resilience program needs to be nimble. Things change all the time, and your plan needs to be ready for that.
Patience. This isn’t the most fun thing you will do in your business, but it may be the most important. The main reason smart people let this slide is because they get impatient and allow it to not be a priority. In this case, patience isn’t only a virtue; it might save your business.

There are three key factors that keep otherwise savvy entrepreneurs from getting out of the “burden of reactive chaos.”  They are apathy, complacency, and arrogance. They think it will never happen to them, they’ve done all they can, or (worst) they will figure it out when it happens. Don’t be that guy or gal. Too many people need you to be profitable and open for business – your employees and their families, your clients and customers, your key vendors and partners, and your community. Invest your time in slaying those profit monsters, escape the burden of reactive chaos, and stay constantly in the pink (or in this case, the black!).

Next month: Strategic Growth Plan #3: Financial Fitness

Dan Weedin is a strategist, speaker, author and executive coach. He helps small business and middle market business leaders and entrepreneurs to grow more profitably and create a better life. He was inducted into the Million Dollar Consultant™ Hall of Fame in 2012. Contact Dan at 360-697-1058, dan@danweedin.com or visit his web site at http://www.DanWeedin.com.

© 2017 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved