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The Need for Speed

April 14, 2016 Leave a comment

Speed is critical to success in business. Weedin Place image

Period.

While this seems like an overly simplistic statement, I’m constantly amazed at how many entrepreneurs and small business owners don’t follow this mantra. Do you ever catch yourself saying something like:

“I just need to wait until I have the money to….”

“I am going to wait for the perfect time to…”

“I need to think about…”

Here’s the deal. Smart and savvy business people don’t need to take a lot of time to make a decision. Here’s the formula: Assess the situation. Quickly determine upside and downside. Create metrics to measure return on investment. Make a decision and commit to it.

Fear is the primary cause keeping entrepreneurs from pulling the trigger with velocity. The consequences of lack of speed – especially in today’s fast-paced, digital world – are severe. They include loss of opportunity, loss of valuable time that can never be reclaimed, and regret and anxiety for not having had the courage of commitment and missing out. The primary fear is manifested in the thinking that a risk will fail. Welcome to being in business. Risks fail all the time. Rarely are failures fatal. Taking risks is the hallmark of an entrepreneur. If you follow my decision-making model above, I surmise you’ll win significantly more than you lose. And even in those losses, there is opportunity.

I’m not suggesting that you take every risk that comes your way. I am suggesting you make speedier decisions. Here’s one important example:

Entrepreneurs often put themselves last when it comes to investing in themselves. They are eager to invest in better equipment and technology, the professional development of their employees, and marketing. While all these are terrific investments, the most important is the growth and development of the owner. It’s the first place that should be considered because without continually improving one’s own self, the rest of the organization will never reach it’s potential. I’ve heard entrepreneurs say, “I can wait on me until we can afford it.” The reality is that they can’t afford to be without it. The faster they grow their skills, the faster the company develops and accomplishes greater things.

Speed to market, speed to being smarter, speed to produce, and speed to reaching your ideal condition as a company are common denominators of successful and significant companies and business professionals. You don’t have to drive 55 on this highway; instead get your engines revved up and speed toward greater success!

© 2016 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

 

Fearlessly Stepping on the Scale

April 7, 2016 Leave a comment

58842030-Dan+Weedin+%22Unleashed%22-30This is my April column for the Kitsap Sun/Kitsap Business Journal.

How do you track the success of your business?

Unfortunately, a high percentage of small to middle market enterprises (SMEs) -employers of less than 500 people – track their business success like a hopeful exerciser frightened to step on the scale for fear of what it might reveal.

My daughter is getting married in July. Shortly after hearing the exciting news, I realized that wedding pictures are forever. That thought jabbed me in the pit of my stomach. That same stomach was of late getting slightly bigger than I wanted. It was at that point in mid-November, that I resolved to lose the unwanted baggage. If I was to walk my beautiful daughter down the aisle, I needed to take up less room!

I was a regular every morning at 5:30 at the gym. I couldn’t understand why this was happening. It seemed counter-intuitive, except the empirical evidence proved otherwise. It was time to step on the scale. It read 199 pounds. I think I audibly gasped; I’d never weighed that much before. I realized that just hitting the health club daily and working hard didn’t assure results.

One problem was that after an Achilles injury, I had essentially stopped running. In addition, my penchant for cooking and eating like I was still running was damaging my bottom line, or in this case, my belt-line.

I quickly created a plan to start running again, increase my stretching to avoid injury, and do something I really hated; step on the scale every other day to track my progress.

While the initial results netted a slight decrease of about 2 pounds, for some reason it never really broke below that. Checking dutifully every other day, I became increasingly agitated that my new routine wasn’t working. Even though I felt better and more energetic, the scale was still telling me an unkind truth. I was basically treading water.

That’s when I made one more change; this time to my diet. I cut out almost all bread and went gluten-free. I reduced my portions to only one serving instead of going back for “seconds.” And I eschewed all desserts except for the weekends. This new initiative did the trick. In just a few weeks, I dropped down to my current weight of 193 and on track to hit my goal of 189. I’m still weighing in every other day to make sure I don’t increase (and if I do I take corrective action).

Here’s the comparison of your bottom line to my belt line:

  • Small business owners use the “feel” method for charting success. Instead of reading their own scales (metrics) regularly, they consider that by working hard every day, the results will follow. I was working out hard daily, but that was only masking my lack of improvement.
  • Initiatives for improvement are put into place, but are done without strong metrics to track results. Everyone gets so busy that they assume things are better. Much like I felt better after initiating my running and stretching regime, however the scale told a different story.
  • If I didn’t step on the scale 4 times a week, I’d still be 6 pounds heavier. If you don’t track and monitor your measures for success, you may find that over time, you’ve only kept pace or fallen behind.

It’s time to fearlessly step on the scale. Just like I was hesitant to see the “truth,” you might be hesitant to face the actual reality of your lack of reaching your own goals. Here’s my 5-step plan to accelerate your weight loss – or in your case – path to consistent growth and success.

  1. Create metrics that will chart what you want to measure. Examples include: Profit per employee; Productivity per employee; Rate of absenteeism; Customer compliments given; Rate of turnover; Revenue growth; Cash flow; and days that you are able to get away to take vacation.
  2. Seek expert help. There are a number of resources to find information on how to measure these categories. You can access consultants, trade associations, articles and videos, and even internal “smarts.” Create your own to match your industry.
  3. Gain employee buy-in. They need to understand this isn’t micro managing; rather a system to help them be more productive and happier.
  4. The first sale is to you. You must be willing to persevere and lead through these changes.
  5. Get on the scale daily. Check each of your categories on a dally basis. How do you know how you’re doing if you don’t know the score? A football coach makes in-game decisions based on the score, not on how things “feel.” You make important decisions all the time. You need to know your score.

The biggest hurdle for SMEs is the perception that they are too busy. They are working in their business, not on it. The reality for most of you is that at some point in the future, your business is going to fund your “golden years.” To maximize your business wealth and equity, you must ardently keep track of your success, so that you’re in a position to be nimble and change when needed. The consequences of not doing this are as detrimental to your business health as an expanding waist is to your personal health.

The surest way to protect and grow your business wealth is to step on that scale every day. Why not start today?

© 2016 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

 

Feel the Heat

March 17, 2016 2 comments

Bella_HeaterBella is a diva.

You’re all probably quite familiar with Captain Jack. well, we have another – not quite so well known but as eccentric – Jack Russell terrier that fancies herself the queen of the castle. It’s still a little chilled outside which makes the house colder than I care for. Bella, too. As I sat down during lunch to watch a little of the NCAA basketball tournament, I turned on the heat to remove the chill. Turns out the heat was sucked up by one body…. Bella.

It’s normal practice for Bella to hog a heater vent that’s turned on. I’m not so sure she really cares that she is keeping any other body in the house from getting warmed up. I think it’s just her taking full advantage of the vent.

Bella has figured out that in order to maximize her heat intake, she needs to use the entire vent. Being 10 feet away doesn’t do it. Neither does being off to either side of the vent. In order to maximize her heat input, she’s got to own the space. (To add to it, she’s been known to issue a stern bark at anyone that dares turn off the heat.)

That’s how it is with your career and life.

You want to squeeze every bit out of your career – be it entrepreneur, executive, or employee? Then you can’t be on the outskirts trying to catch whatever “heat” is left over. There will be too much room to make up and you will be left with very little and little control over event hat. You can try to get closer, but even the edges don’t give you the full effect. In order to take up the entire vent, you need to take risks, be bold, be confident in your ability, have the courage of your talent, fight off fear, and dream big. There’s no room for the timid next to the heater. You need to scare yourself a little every day.

[Accelerate the heat in your professional life, career, and company]

The same can be said for your life. I’ve met too many people that are reticent to be bold becasue they are frightened to death of getting burned. Fear of failure; fear of rejection, and fear of being “found out” hold many of you back in your professional and personal life. I’m convinced that many people go to their graves carrying a lifetime full of left over and now useless “poker chips.” They couldn’t drag themselves to take on the full brunt of the heater. The same suggestions I listed above are applicable personally, too. The difference is that you may well have people that are very important to you counting on you being everything you can be. You’d do well not to let them – or yourself- down.

Be  more like Bella. Don’t take a chance of letting one degree of heat get by you. You never want to end a game with extra “chips” in your hand.

[Check out Unleashed Universe to transform your business and life in 90 days. Feel the heat…]

© 2016 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

 

Entrepreneurial Myths & Monsters

March 9, 2016 Leave a comment

600x923_ID-BadgeFrom my March column for the Kitsap Sun

One of the hallmarks of the “American dream” is for that opportunity to build your own business from a passion and have it form your lifestyle and security for generations. Entrepreneurship is a noble avocation. Many of you reading this are entrepreneurs holding the title of Founder, President, CEO, or just Boss.

Small business enterprise drives the economy of our country and is responsible for employing millions of people. That being said, entrepreneurship requires more than courage, guile, and persistence. To attain both success and significance, entrepreneurs must disabuse themselves of the myths and avoid the monsters that threaten their great achievements.

I’ve identified 5 Myths with accompanying Monsters that must be debunked by savvy entrepreneurs to maximize their impact on customers, clients, employees, and community. Sparing no expense with a fancy headline, allow me to present and offer solutions to Dan Weedin’s 5 Myths & Monsters:

Myth #1: You must work harder and longer hours than anyone else. The subsequent Monster is fatigue and health issues caused by forcing your nose to the grindstone. Just because you’re the boss doesn’t mean you have to work longer hours and perform labor that is more effectively hired or delegated out. You’re the boss for a reason. That position has much more to do with your “smarts.”

You have the task of being strategic and visionary. You should transfer your skills to others through mentoring, training, and coaching. You should allow yourself the time to think about growing your company, providing jobs and value, and seeking new opportunities. Many entrepreneurs founded a business to leave a boss, only to get a much worse one. Don’t be that boss. Be a leader that models efficiency and productivity.

Myth #2: You have no control. The Monster is discouragement, and this murders innovation and talent. A popular misconception is that most entrepreneurs are control freaks. In my experience, many believe they have little to no control over the economy, their employees, their customers, and local politics, to name a few. This mindset will often lead to bitterness and anger, and can be transferred to the culture of the company.

You have more control than you think. You can control the products and services you offer. You control your pricing. You control whom you employ and for how long. You control with whom and where you do business. You control short and long term strategies. You control how long you want to work. Finally, you control your own attitude. Those that feel powerless will look into the future with dread and anxiety. Those who seize control are opportunistic in any economy or situation. Be the latter.

Myth #3: The future is scary. The Monster is paralysis by fear. I’ve talked to people that fear technology, competition, and the zombies charging the hill. There is a reticence to change or try new things.

Smart and sophisticated business leaders are innovative. They brainstorm; they ask “what if:” and they boldly take risks. I have a standing calendar event where every Friday I invest time in thinking up new intellectual property – both in products and services. It doesn’t matter whether I discover something every week or not. What matters is that I am thinking (there’s that word again).

Don’t stand still. Find a path to the cutting edge in your industry. Create programs, invent processes and products, and step out of the box with vigor. Try to put yourself “in harm’s way” every day. The result will be an invigorated resilience where innovation rules. That will make the future exciting, not scary.

Myth #4: You’re not deserving. The Monster is loss of confidence. There is a malady called the CEO Effect that postulates that many chief executives are worried that one day they will be found out and thrown bodily from the building.

We all have great value that is demonstrated and shared through our skills and talents. This myth is based on low self-esteem, which seems contradictory to the position of a business leader. Let’s remember that we are all human and battle past experiences and current challenges, among other things. It happens more often than you think where loss of confidence is a thief of self-worth.

You are deserving. Accept failures as lessons. Define yourself by who you are, not what you do. Ask for help when you need it, but always remember that you are where you are for a reason. That reason is you, so be proud of it.

Myth #5: You’re alone. The Monster is a combination of loneliness and self-imposed exclusion. This is the old Lone Wolf adage. Many entrepreneurs arrive at that point through years of thinking they are the “only one” that can do, fix, sell, perform, or clean up anything. They become isolated through their own doing.

If you’ve fallen victim to this myth, remember that dogs are pack animals. “Lone wolves” don’t really exist except in our minds. There are many avenues to be part of a pack – executive groups, service/civic organizations, trade associations, coaches/mentors, and charitable organizations are a good place to start looking.

If you operate from a singular point of view mindset, you end up breathing your own exhaust. We know what happens next. If you choose to find yourself a pack of kindred “dogs,” you’ll open yourself up to new ideas, enhanced perspective, and even a place to just vent!

All of that is good for the entrepreneurial (and personal) spirit!

Are you an entrepreneur? Learn how to boost your revenue and build your business wealth

© 2016 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

 

The Ultimate Goal: Thriving Through Life

March 8, 2016 Leave a comment

AlansBirthday

Retirement is an ancient and irrelevant artifact. To deliberately stop contributing, creating, and providing value to others is unthinkable (and a slippery slope to irrelevancy and decline).

In the grand scheme of things, life is blazingly short. We condemn suicide, yet we seem to think nothing about throwing life away in part and piecemeal, a little at a time, through inaction and self-doubt. Liberate yourself each morning, like my dogs, charge into the yard and find out what’s new and potentially rewarding for you!

~ Alan Weiss

Last Saturday, I had the tremendous honor of sharing in the birthday celebration for my business mentor, Alan Weiss.I love his recent quote on “retirement” and want to share with you. I tell people all the time that I have no plans to retire. Did George Burns or Bob Hope ever “retire” and stop working?

Find your passion, do what you love, and then have great patience and perspective. The bad things that happen are rarely calamitous. They are most often just minor speed bumps. Speed on.

[ Accelerate your speed to building your business and unleashing your potential ]

Final thought. I work with clients all the time that have built (or are building) a business to then fund their “retirement.” I absolutely endorse that and am helping them accomplish it. The difference is, once they’ve funded the rest of their lives, there is no reason to “retire;” just to discover that next adventure to contribute, create and provide value.

© 2016 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Punching Back…Hard

February 17, 2016 Leave a comment

Ronda RouseyRonda Rousey, in an interview with Ellen DeGeneres, admitted that she was so distraught after her defeat to Holly Holm in November that she briefly contemplated suicide. The former UFC champion had been undefeated – and literally unmatched – until Holm knocked her out in the 2nd round of their title bout. Rousey’s words in the interview were chilling. She said, “I sat in the corner and thought – What am I if I’m not this anymore?”

What am I if I’m not this anymore?”

“This” for Rousey was undisputed, undefeated, and rock star UFC champion. I don’t doubt her sincerity in her statement or her feelings after the fight. I’m glad she found a way out of that mindset through the help of her friends and family. And, this sentiment doesn’t just hold true for athletes like Ronda Rousey. The world of entertainment is rife with stories of “stars” that have committed or attempted suicide or just threw their life away because they no longer identified as the “rock star” any longer. They defined their life – and their self-worth – as that “rock star.”

Humans are humans. Business people can fall victim to the same mindset. It’s not limited to Fortune 500 CEOs, political figures, and well-known business moguls. It can also happen to a small business owner that is running a 3rd generation family business and is facing a crisis; a sales superstar that has gone from fortune to famine; or a community leader that has fallen on hard times. These are just examples…the truth is that anyone can get caught in the trap of defining themselves by what they do rather than who they are.

When I coached high school basketball a decade ago, I admit I was pretty competitive. In my earlier years of coaching youth basketball, my teams won the vast majority of our games. As a high school coach, the losses outweighed the wins by a much larger margin. There were times that I allowed myself to be defined as a coach – and as a person- based on my winning percentage. The only person thinking that was me. I had defined myself as a “winning coach,” and “what was I if I was no longer that?” This hurt my self-image, my self-talk, and my self-confidence.

Fortunately, that was short-lived. These can often be minor points of time based on perspective and proportion. For business owners, executives, and entrepreneurs, this definition of themselves may be tougher to break free from.

Let’s do a very quick exercise to help you find out where your self-worth is currently:

FirstHow do you define yourself? What makes you who you are? Is it your job, your business, your affiliations?

SecondWhat happens if that’s gone? Are you opportunistic to find something else, or will you be crushed? Is what you do everything, or are you resilient to become anything?

FinallyDo you believe that you’re special, talented, and great even if when you fail? Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson confidently proclaimed after he threw a game-ending interception in the Super Bowl that he wouldn’t let that one play define him. He was seeking that next opportunity to be great. The following year, he had his best year ever.

Maybe in the end, since we started with Ronda Rousey, we should look at this from a boxing perspective. It’s not simply about being able to take a punch in life. Almost all of us have been able to do that.

The real question is – Can you can take a punch and then jump back up and deliver two punches of your own? People with great self-worth, that define themselves by who they are and not what they do, and that are resilient and opportunistic…these are the people that can.

Russell Wilson has. I have full confidence that Ronda Rousey will. But more importantly for the purpose of this article, can you?

Go define yourself as a puncher and a winner. That’s the surest and straightest past to living an “Unleashed” life.

© 2016 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

BeastMode Branding Brilliance

February 9, 2016 Leave a comment

BeastModeSeattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch “announced” his retirement on Sunday during the second half of the Super Bowl. And he did it in consistent fashion….without words. The entire staging of this whole event just goes to show how smart Lynch is when it comes to business.

It’s all about the brand, boss.

Here’s the deal – Lynch knows that today’s athlete is more than just someone who competes in a team or individual sport. Each athlete – especially the high visibility ones – are a brand. Brands have longer life spans than athletes; they can be forever. Brands are critical to obtaining endorsements, creating intellectual property, manufacturing and selling proprietary products, writing books, giving speeches, and a multitude of other things. The real “action” here is about advancing the brand. Here’s why BeastMode is so brilliant:

  1. He stayed consistent with his persona. Instead of holding a press conference with throngs of reporters, he tweeted out his signature green cleats hanging up – i.e. “I’m hanging ’em up.”
  2. He used only visuals. Heck, even is “peace out” was an emoticon.
  3. He “announced” during the biggest sporting event in the world – and it happened to be his world. Right in the midst of the Super Bowl, where everyone in the sports world in on Twitter, he subtly announces his intentions and it catches fire.
  4. Just days earlier, he had the grand opening of his new BeastMode brand store in the Bay Area (the same location as the Super Bowl).
  5. In the following days, both the team and his agent confirmed his intentions. No words from him…just the people in the know, assuming that the speculation was completely valid.
  6. Suddenly, there is a just a ton of buzz – gratitude overflowing on social media, highlight videos being created and promoted by the team to honor his accomplishments, and national stories circulating about his greatness.

Finally – and maybe most importantly – the timing is perfect. Let’s face it, Lynch will be 30 next year (ancient for running backs that have endured the pounding he has over the past 9 years). He just had his first major surgery and all signs indicate the team was moving on with a younger running back. Based on his personality, it’s unlikely he would find a good fit with any other team that has any Super Bowl aspirations. He’s saved his money brilliantly – reports are he hasn’t spent any of his nearly $50M earned from salary, living off his endorsement money.

Waiting one more year would not have advanced his brand; in fact the opposite was more likely. If he had an injury-riddled year, played poorly, was viewed as a malcontent, or even was just mediocre, his BeastMode brand suffers. If he walks away now, he’s still BeastMode. he’s a legend in Seattle and his hometown of Oakland and a sports figure that’s last memories are basically from the 2 Super Bowl runs where he played a dominant part.

Here’s your BeastMode lesson for the day – Build your brand. Be consistent. Make waves. Have others talk about you and your products or services. Create a buzz. Be visual. Be innovative. Be bold. Have good timing. Be BeastMode in your world. Be Unleashed.

Download the Periscope app on your mobile device and follow me @danweedin for videos and quick hitters to help you to achieve higher performance and stronger resilience.

© 2016 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

 

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