In business we are constantly bombarded with other people’s opinions. We have clients and prospective buyers tell us that they
would buy if only we did….. We have government, banks and other organizations tell us that we must do this or that to succeed in business. We are told that our opinion counts and then no one listens to us.
It’s tough out there!
So learning to say NO can sometimes be a positive thing. Let’s look at some obvious examples and then maybe something less obvious
We all know that taking heroin, coke and other recreational drugs damages our health and can get us hooked on a habit that destroys life, so saying no to the first offer is good. Right?
We all know that for most marriages, infidelity destroys the marriage. So saying no to temptation is good. Right?
We all know that cheating on your taxes, lying to your client or stealing from someone could all come back and cause us major problems even jail time. So saying no to this kind of temptation is good. Right?
But what about the doom sayers who tell you that business is bad and you are doing it wrong? Should you take their advice and say no or should you listen carefully, see if there is something you could learn and then say no to them?
What about the person who offers you the next great way to find clients if you will only pay them $XXXXXXX, money that will put serious strain on your financial well being and also your family and business. Should you say no, right now I would love to learn from you but to do so would put pressure on me. Yes there are guarantees these people give but the real question is are you willing to really follow them step by step. Unless you will follow step by step, you may need to say NO.
And what about the time when you need to balance keeping your word. You promised a client and your child something and suddenly the timing coincides and you can only do one of the things you gave your word on. Who do you say no to? And what will be the consequences of saying NO. Your child may only ever have one award winning banquet or concert or debut but if you explain to the client. they may give you another couple of hours or days. Who do you say no to? And what are the consequences of that no?
When you live in the now or in the moment, one of the biggest balancing acts you need to do is what feels good in the moment and what you committed to achieve. What do you say no to, instant pleasure or gratification or keeping the commitments you made so that people will know you are trustworthy?
Business is about trust and sometimes saying NO, at this time, we are unable to deliver, we are unable to… is better for the business than saying yes and failing to deliver.
Yes and No only work in conjunction with responsibility and keeping your word. And keeping your word is about trust and the relationship. When you value the relationship, you can use no to tell someone the truth.
And when an advisor, a salesperson or an authority tells you that you MUST do something, NO is an option to keep you in control.
So use NO wisely. Stay in control and enjoy keeping your word and having people trust you and your business. Consistency of good performance is what marks a good business. Funny though people accept consistency of bad performance if there is no other choice.
Today look at your yes and no situations and decide who is in control?
Can you suggest in the comments any other times when no was positive for you?
Passionate about your success in business
There are three simple but not easy to do ways to always be a professional but before looking at those lets understand the word professional a little better.
According to the online dictionary, the word professional can be a noun or an adjective. Using it as an adjective it generally describes people in certain professions like doctors and lawyers and is often tied to pay rates or classifications of the area of service like a professional sport. As a noun, the word is used synonymously with expert or skilled practitioner. Practically though a professional gets paid for the service they render.
- Always keep your word and deliver what you promised, when you promised it and with a little bit more than was expected.
- Always treat all parties with respect even when you feel that they are treating you badly. Never lower yourself to street fighting or abuse to make your point. Always maintain dignity for everyone, especially yourself. And that means always doing your best.
- Always realize that both sides have an opinion and acknowledge that the other side has their wants and needs too. Accept that you have differences and appreciate that you can only be responsible for what you do and the other person has a responsibility for what they do, say, think and feel. Changing someone else’s mind only happens by them choosing to change based on new information that allows them to rethink the situation.
In the last article, we said that you could become a millionaire, whatever your income. You just set aside 10% of your income and let it accumulate with interest. The idea works through compounding interest.
If you have a spreadsheet application (Microsoft’s Excel, for example) on your computer, you can do the calculations yourself, either by using enough rows and repeating a formula through the various cells. Or, if you know a little about the financial formulas, you can input a time period, interest rate, constant payment and other parameters, and get the same kind of answer with only a few entries.
What you find is that getting to your first million can take a long time. In fact, most people probably won’t live long enough to reach a million dollars, regardless of their income. Thus, all get rich schemes look for ways of shortening the time frame. Please note: that’s ALL get rich schemes, whether fast or slow.
One of our readers sent in a question. It’s more of a statement, but phrased as a question: “Surely you are better off with multiple sources of income? I’m involved with MLM and I’m into a number of affiliates on the Web. These passive income sources are my claim to be wealthy. And everyone can do them, and get the same results as I do.”
Here’s the thing: those passive incomes (Web or MLM) depend on people buying the products or services. Yes, it seems like you do very little to get that income. But you still need to SELL! Take a close look at the global figures about Web or MLM success – only about 5% of the participants have an income worth talking about. The other 19 out of 20 people are lucky to get a nice little addition to their main income. Those paths are only passive in the sense that you can do a very small amount of work – selling – to get an income. As with all selling, fashions change. What was a huge earner loses its appeal. You constantly need to chase after the next product, the next item that will sell. To get a decent income, you might need to have a hundred different products and places to which you are affiliated. But your earnings are still based on your efforts. You are not creating wealth, just more money.
There are only two ways of getting an income:
(1) YOU work for it, putting in your own time and effort. You might extend this by getting a share of the earnings from other people using their own time and effort, but this is still dependent on that time and effort. The share might only be 1%, but if you can get 1% of the income from 100 other people’s earnings, it is exactly equivalent to what you can get by doing the work yourself.
(2) You get your wealth to work for it.
Both ensure you have an income, or the equivalent to an income.
The first is easy to see and do. At least, it is easy in theory. It is how many of us were brought up with the ethic that earning money depends on working for it in some way. The harder you work, the more you should be able to make over your lifetime. It’s a good paradigm, and is sometimes called “the protestant ethic”, but it holds for virtually every race or creed. But, Kiyosaki points out that this is the way his “poor dad” works and thinks, while his “rich dad” does not.
For the moment, let’s concentrate on how the “work for an income” paradigm affects most of us and our thinking.
Most people spend their lives in a job. They go to work, do what is required, and get paid. It may be one job, or it could be a hundred, but the same principle holds – someone pays them for their time and effort. The job might require special training or special knowledge, but the principle is still the same: turn up for work, do something and get paid. Even managers, at all levels in a company, are in the same basic scenario: go to the office, do the work, and collect the salary.
We assume that this is the norm for people – it is for a huge majority of any population, whether they are farm hands, production workers, office staff, managers, executives, and so on.
What do they do with their incomes?
Pay rent or mortgage, pay for water and power, buy food and clothing, buy petrol to run their cars, pay rates, buy entertainment, gamble a little, give some money to charity, buy larger things like household appliances and cars, take holidays, give children pocket money, and so on. Of course, they save some for later financial independence – their version of having a million dollars.
Some of the spending is through credit and debit cards. They may also take out loans, and thus pay interest on the debts. They manage their debts and cover fines and other penalties, for many reasons, plus taxes, rates, school fees, insurance…
When one starts to look at ways people use their incomes, one begins to see why “job” is sometimes referred to as “just on broke”!
It is easy to finish up with the income being not quite enough to cover the pay period, hence the need for money management. And the need for supplementary incomes.
Remember: if one looks at a country’s population as a whole, this is the NORM, not the exception.
Jobs take up at least one third of each person’s day. Then you can add on commuting time, relaxation time and de-stressing time. How much time is left for the person to properly enjoy themselves, or do the things they would like to do? Even weekends and days off do not make up enough time to make a fully satisfied normal person.
So we dream of becoming rich.
Most people see this happening through increasing the INCOME! So, people get better qualifications, look for job promotions, take on second (and third) jobs.
This, as Kiyosaki calls it in Cashflow 101, is the rat race. We run around the track of life, collecting our pay packets, spending our incomes, gathering debt, and then wonder why we are still in the rat race, even though we might have changed some of the circumstances around the track we are using.
What else can we do?
Some people buy and sell houses. They find a place that they can fix up, buy it at one price and sell it for a bit more than was spent of the original purpose and repairs. What is this but another J.O.B.?
They buy into the MLM dream. This involves finding either buyers for the products or buyers for the PLAN, and thus building a down line. It can be lucrative, but most of the time, people have substitute products or they find the effort too much to build onto the down line, and so drop out. In other words, people finish up doing another JOB, to increase their normal income.
They look at the Web, and see people making money through Affiliates. It sound easy and simple – just a Web page that people can go to and sign up to buy products or services. It’s little effort, since, once the page is up, it doesn’t need much change or tweaking. They can then put their efforts into promoting the affiliation link through writing blogs or articles, which pay through a cut of the Adwords tacked into the article or blog. And they can run their own Adwords campaigns. Surely, there’s no real effort in all of this? At least that’s what the promoters claim. But, really, what’s the difference between this and a normal JOB?
The one thing these have in common is that, if you stop doing them, what happens to the income they generated?
Right! The INCOME stops as well!
So what else can one do to increase income?
Start your own business?
We’ve been involved with people in their own businesses for more than twenty years. That’s not counting working in a job for years before that, gaining the knowledge and experience to allow us to be good consultants, mentors and coaches. Yes, we’re still for hire to help people do the analysis, strategizing, marketing, and all the other things that a business needs, but we do this less and less as the need for that INCOME diminishes.
One thing about many business start-ups: most are there to earn the owner an INCOME. Often, the income is greater than they would get working in a JOB, but they still need to work in the business to get the income. If they stop working, then the income stops, just as it does in the other cases.
They fail to reach the first step in becoming wealthy – financial freedom! They are still working the paradigm that goes with the first way to get an income.
They have not yet learned that:
People are not wealthy because they have money;
they have money because they are wealthy!
Next time, we’ll start looking at creating or gaining wealth and the paradigm that goes with it.
Based on the BlogTalkRadio Broadcast
Why do cake recipes usually finish up with something that is very close to perfection, whether you are a trained chef or just someone trying to make the cake for the first time?
The answer is simple: you follow instructions!
You start with the list of the right ingredients, separate out the right quantities, put these ingredients together in the right order, set the oven to the right temperature, and bake for the right length of time, do the right amount of cooling, apply the right icing (also from a recipe). And then you serve it in the right portion sizes.
There is nothing magical about the process or the recipe. It all just fits together as the creator of the recipe told you. But, sometimes, when you are doing it yourself, things do go wrong.
Why? Often, things go wrong because you did not understand the instructions. For example, your moisture content (the liquids in the recipe) might be less than the recipe suggested; which means that the baking time or temperature should be adjusted. Your batter was not quite consistent, you had a different grade of flour – when we moved to New Zealand from North America, for example, we found that the flour was ground more finely, so, to get the right consistency, we needed to use a little more than the recipe called for. Another is something simple, like beating egg whites – the recipe may call for “soft peaks”, but what does “soft peak” mean? What’s the difference between a “hard peak” and a “soft peak” or a “medium peak”? What’s the difference between the way the mixture drips off the beaters, when that’s the measure of consistency?
In short, there are many words used in the full recipe that are “fuzzy” – words like “to taste”, when it comes to the right amount of spices or salt, and those words can mean the difference between a result that is “perfect” and one that fails, or is just “okay”.
That’s what business advice is like: it is usually absolutely correct, except that there are fuzzy words, which you need to interpret to your own understanding of the words. The closer you get to the intended meaning, the better applying the advice works. And, when you get the actions – the recipe – correct, you finish up with the best possible results.
When one looks at various businesses, the impression one gets is that they are all different. No two organizations work in the same way. What works for one business may be disastrous for another business, even when they are in the same industry or in the same geographic area. When you think about it, individual people are different, and they all have their own understanding of what a business does and how it is structured. It is people who make an organization work, so no wonder there is no basic recipe that all can follow. After all, there are many different kinds of cakes, and they all have a different recipe.
So, where does one start with a basic recipe for a business, any business? Is there such a thing?
After all, cakes, no matter which kind, do have some basic similarities, and ingredients that are virtually the same…
The Starting Point
We’ve worked with many different businesses. They have varied from one-man bands through to hundreds of people. They have run the gamut from turnovers of perhaps a few thousand dollars per year to hundred of millions. They range from craft shops to manufacturing, from primary industries to service organizations, from government departments to consulting businesses to training institutes. We have had access to detailed figures on their costs and turnover and profits, not for single years, but across decades. We’ve managed businesses, helped business start up from scratch or fit into franchise, worked with businesses on the brink of failure to those that were already successful .
One thing we have learned: you can’t always take what was successful in one operation and translate it easily into another one. What works for a large organization does NOT work in a tiny one, although many lessons from small business systems can be up-scaled to fit large ones.
However, there are two basics that apply to all businesses, regardless of size or industry:
- those that work best have a consistent structure, and
- those that work best have a unique purpose
So, what is consistent in the structure of businesses?
This is what we call the Basic Business Model. It consists of three sets of functions:
These functions are present in EVERY business, although a particular segment may be virtually invisible in a specific business, and parts of these functions may be outsourced (farmed out) to other businesses, which may concentrate , for example, Administration, or Production, or Sales.
- entrepreneurs effectively concentrate on Sales; they find people with a need for a product, and bring them together with people who have or make the products and need to sell it.
- consulting companies may work on the systems and the Administration functions that are needed to control the main organization, but they do need someone who can sell their services (including their own efforts) to an organization or business
- crafts people are good at making products, but they may need accountancy services (Administration) and someone to sell their products to others.
That the functions exist is easy to demonstrate. However, having a good structure is not enough to build a strong organization. That’s where Purpose comes into the picture.
How does one determine a Purpose for the business?
Our basic recipe – the starting point for a Purpose Statement – is that every business exists to meet its own needs (profits, turnover, however one wants to measure it) by meeting the needs of buyers (raw materials, products, services) within the needs of the community (in which they operate.
With the structure and the Purpose, we have a way of describing any and every business in as complete a manner as is possible, right down to its uniqueness,
Do we need anything more?
One of our observations is that it takes a minimum of THREE elements to build a successful structure. If you look at the Business Model, you will see that there are THREE elements that interact with each other. With Purpose, we have another THREE elements: the business needs, the buyers’ needs and the community needs.
Do we need a third element for our basic recipe? And, if so, what is it?
There is one thing that businesses can’t exist without – PEOPLE!
People have the needs that the business meets, and people have what the business needs.
Can people be set out as a set of three elements? Yes:
- People who work in the business – STAFF. They handle the administration, production and selling that the business needs
- People who work with the business. These are the buyers and the suppliers. Do suppliers meet a business’s needs? Yes, they do: they help provide the basics that meet the needs of the buyers. Without them, there is no business. Suppliers are like “reverse buyers”.
- People who make up the community. These include regulators, law enforcement, and other aspects that make up the environment in which the business operates.
Yes, people are included in the Purpose Statement. Yes, they do the work required, the “adding value” or “reducing costs”. And yes, an individual can belong to all three sets at the same time.
Don’t forget to get the Free Ebook on Business Models
Using Paradigm Shifts to get Overnight Organizational Optimisation
The following is adapted from the broadcast on Blog Talk Radio 11 January 2011.
What is a paradigm?
In a sense, a “paradigm” is a fancy word for “model”. It’s a model of how you expect the world to behave, and how you expect to behave in the world around you. It’s a world view that you use to understand how the world functions.
Change your paradigm, and you literally change YOUR world!
We first came across the effects when we were teaching people how to start their own businesses. The people would come in with great ideas, most of which had little chance of success. These were not stupid people. They had looked around, seen people making a modicum of success being self-employed, and figured they could do the same thing. Most had already tried, and found that their business idea was floundering.
They had the experience to do all the things they needed to do. They had the skills and the knowledge that could lead to success. They had the will to succeed. But they just could not make that breakthrough to success.
Most had spent thousands of dollars on courses and consultants. They had their mentors, both free (through various funded schemes) and paid-for. Some had been managers in large corporations. Some had family connections with business experience. Yet their businesses were failing.
To cut a long story short, they took our three-day intensive course on running a small business, and a very large percentage of them are still in business – nearly 20 years later!
What happened during those three days?
They made a paradigm shift!
Can anyone describe what happens during a paradigm shift?
Not really. You see, the tricky part of a paradigm shift is that it changes past, present and future. It’s easy to understand why such a shift changes the present and future, but how can it change what has already happened?
The answer is that the interpretation of the experiences is different.
For example: you probably learned arithmetic at school. You might not have liked the subject, but it does give an illustration of how paradigm shifts affect the way you see things, even things in the past.
When you start learning about numbers, the first numbers are what mathematicians call the counting numbers – one, two, three… You learn that the numbers are in a particular sequence, and that two is one plus one; three is one plus two, and so on. From that, you learn that two plus two is four, and four plus four is eight. That’s a paradigm: the counting numbers behave in a certain way, and you expect them to keep acting in the same way.
Of course, there is a problem when you go from single digit numbers to double digits – six plus seven is thirteen, eight plus nine is seventeen. But there is a consistency in the results, one that you learn to expect. Even when you learn to add up double digit numbers, you find that there is a consistency with what happens when you go from single digits to double digits. Eventually, you begin to see that adding three and four digit numbers is not so different from adding single digits.
Then you learn about differences: two minus one equals one; five minus three equals two, and so on. This leads to a real problem. It’s fine when you are subtracting a number from a bigger number, like twelve minus eight, but what happens when you subtract twelve from eight?
The paradigm for counting numbers doesn’t allow for this. The answer (-4) does NOT belong to the counting numbers. The integers (the minus numbers, zero, and the positive numbers) give you a new paradigm. Once you adopt this new paradigm, it is almost impossible to think in terms of the counting numbers paradigm. You KNOW that the difference can be less than zero, and have few problems with it.
Then you get to the paradigm of the rational numbers (fractions), which allow you to divide an integer by another integer, and still come up with an answer – not possible with the integers. And then there are “real numbers”, the ones that seem to fit in-between the rational numbers. It’s another paradigm, and one that allows you to do manipulations you could not do with counting numbers, integers or rational numbers. And, finally, when you get to higher levels of education, you find that there are “imaginary numbers” and “complex numbers”.
Here’s a question: which are more “real”: real numbers or counting numbers?
The answer is that you can’t compare them that way. They are different modes of thought, working from different paradigms.
Why did we go through this?
Because it gives us a way of looking at the criteria which show the difference between paradigms:
* Broader scope
* More fruitful
(These criteria were first outlined by Thomas Kuhn (a physicist, who is best known for his philosophy and history of science studies.)
If you look at the number systems we’ve outlined, you can see that complex numbers are more accurate and more fruitful than the other number systems – they give us solutions to many equations, for example. They have a broader scope of applicability. While all the systems are consistent within themselves, they also keep the consistency for the equivalents in the “higher” systems.
Does this same thing apply to business?
The answer is YES!
The trouble is that business is not as easy to define like mathematics or the hard sciences.
Mathematics is about precise relationships between entities like numbers, or points, lines and curves. It is precise because it deals with measurable parameters. The hard sciences, like physics, depend on measurable quantities like mass, distance and time.
What’s the equivalent in business?
There isn’t any.
The closest is money and time as the main parameters, but there’s also population, population density, distance to a market (calculations of time to cover the distance and the cost of doing so), different needs – luxury, ordinary, essential. One could go on for hours about the bits and pieces that one has to know about a business.
Even with the easy ones – Money, to be meaningful, depends on the size of the business. Some companies can spend millions of dollars on advertising, while others look at a marketing budget of a couple of hundred as large.
Our approach is to think of the business parameters as “fuzzy”, as in “fuzzy logic”; everything is relative to the individual business, and two businesses, even if they are in the same type of business, are not directly comparable. It’s as if they are using two different paradigms. Actually, if you think of Purpose as a paradigm, similar businesses do have different Purposes, so maybe they are.
Can a business change paradigms overnight?
The short answer is yes. However, there are often “hold-outs” who try to drag the business back to the old paradigm, and it can take a while before these people accept the new paradigm.
What you need to understand is why the new paradigm replaces the old.
So, why does a new paradigm replace the old one?
It comes back to the list of criteria we’ve already covered – accuracy, consistency, simplicity, scope and fruitfulness.
A new paradigm will start to appear:
* When the existing one becomes too complicated to be workable. You look at the business procedures, and start finding that the current processes and procedures emphasize the exceptions. The more exceptions that are present in the processes, the more complicated things get. There are hierarchies within the hierarchies, and many small “empires” being built within the organisation.
* When the existing paradigm does not have the scope to cover what should be the natural market for the company. You look at what the logical prospects are buying instead of the current set of products. It’s not that the products are bad or obsolete (although that can be the case), but that people no longer think of the products to meet their needs. Needs change, not the products.
* When people seem to be using the same paradigm, but they give different answers to the same questions. This shows up as a lack of consistency in the organization, and will drive buyers away from the business.
* Lack of new ideas and new approaches.
* The variety of buyers reduces. Often, the business depends too heavily on a small number of clients, so losing one has a huge effect on the total turnover.
Any one of these means that the current paradigm has outlived its usefulness, and the business is moribund. Oh, it may continue for a long while, but any change in economic conditions can have a major effect on staffing, getting new business, holding on to existing clients and so on. Even a new competitor coming into the market in a thriving economy will have a bad effect.
So, how does one create a new paradigm?
The simple answer is that the business has to go back to basics; the basics that made it work well in the first place. It’s not a matter of starting over, although that could be an option, but one of re-invention.
In our view of business, this is the Third Law of Business: “The objective of every business is to eliminate itself”. Or, in another metaphor: “every organisation is either green and growing or ripe and rotting”.
We’ll reach the other two laws as we go through this whole series…