Business Success Truth or Dare: Are you trying to succeed by being a fake?

Truth Or Dare? see-sawRecently, I tried to write a series of emails for a project that my business partner and I had been working on.

Thinking I was going to be crafty and write a really good series the easy way, I modeled my first email after the format that a highly successful marketer used. You see, I had just finished going through his entire promotional sequence of emails and videos, and I was very impressed.

My business partner wrote back saying, “George, this email just doesn’t work for me. I see what you’re trying to do, but it’s off-putting.”

While he was concerned I’d be offended (I wasn’t), it was a great opportunity for a good laugh, and it reminded me of a couple of incidents where I wasn’t being myself…

Lessons about connecting with your audience by being yourself.
I had just come back from a training program on how to present and lead live workshops (Train the Trainer program); this was around 2003 or 2004.

I was practicing an introductory workshop that I was developing with my wife as an audience of one.

So I started my introduction, and two minutes into it she goes, “George, what are you doing?!?”

I said, “I’m practicing!”

She said, “No, no, no.

“You’re trying to be somebody else. You’re trying to be the guy who trained you at the Train the Trainer program. That guy cannot lead this program.

“You and only you can lead this program.

“You need to be you.”

So I got a little frustrated. I turned my back on her and regained my composure. Just took a few breaths.

I turned back around and then I started out the introduction being George.

And I didn’t expect this, but my wife broke into tears within the first 5 minutes. She got the impact of me introducing the program as me. It was powerful.

Curiously, at that very Train the Trainer program that I mentioned earlier, I was selected from the audience to come up on stage as an example.

I can’t remember exactly what the trainer asked me to speak about. But I started speaking about whatever topic it was, and he stopped me very shortly after I started. He said, “Hold on a minute.”

And he thumped me on my chest with a flat hand. Thump. Thump.

He said, “George, you’re a fit guy. “I want you to command that presence.

“Look out into this audience. (There were probably 250+ people.) “

And connect with everybody in this audience, be powerful, and project your energy to the back of the room.”

So after he pounded me on my chest, I started over, this time with a lot more energy, enthusiasm, conviction, and power.

Then he said, “Great job. That’s what I want!”

Everyone in the audience started clapping. And then I started walking off the stage.

I didn’t know this had happened, but several people in the audience were in tears.

I had them in tears. I had my wife in tears in a separate incident. So by then, you’d think I would have learned to be myself.

It’s so easy to forget this stuff!

Where in your life, particularly in your business interactions, have you attempted to be someone you’re not? And how did it go? Did it backfire?

Unless you’re a spy, mentally disturbed, or an accomplished actor, it’s a heck of a lot easier to influence and connect with others by being yourself—warts, blemishes, and all—than by attempting to cover up what you believe your shortcomings are by masquerading as someone else.

With rare exceptions, people can sense a fraud. Conversely, they can sense authenticity. Business success comes more naturally when you’re being authentic.

The next time it’s important for you to inspire and engage an audience of one or an audience of 1,000, which version of you do you want to show up? The real you? Or the fictitious you?

Marketing Madness and Sales Insanity: I know we just met, but how would you like to get married and have kids together?

Marketing Madness and Sales Insanity: I know we just met, but how would you like to get married and have kids together?

In 1999, I was encouraged by some friends to take a class about personal growth and transformation. During the class, I couldn’t help but notice when a certain gorgeous woman stood up to share something.

During one of the breakout sessions, I ended up sitting next to this particular woman. Normally I have no problem thinking up things to say, even regarding topics that I know very little about. However, under the extreme pressure of sitting next to such an attractive woman, I was rendered speechless. The only thing I could think of saying was, “Did you know that your pager is going off in your purse?”

The little common sense I had remaining told me that that line wasn’t going to win the day. So the session ended with me not saying a single word to her.

To make a long story short, that gorgeous woman ultimately became my wife. We have been happily married for the past 13 years and have two rambunctious young boys who are teaching us a lot about being grown-ups.

After our first son was born, I was telling a friend—one of the friends who had encouraged me to register for the class to start with—about how I had sat next to Denise during the second day of class but didn’t have anything slick or suave to say to her.

Flirting at work.Retrospection being highly accurate, he suggested that I should have said something like, “I know you don’t know me, but how would you like to have kids together?”

Hmmm… Single guys out there reading this, don’t try this one out. At least, if you do, don’t blame me for your dismal results!

The other day, I was speaking with a colleague about the challenges of getting clients. She shared an experience she had had earlier in the day: Someone she had just met had immediately started a sales pitch. To my colleague, it felt like an attempt to pressure her into buying something. My colleague has a lot of past experience with sales and immediately knew what was going on.

Another misguided attempt to “close” a buyer without taking time to build rapport.

Her story reminded me about my experience of meeting Denise.

I still shake my head in disbelief when I see so many entrepreneurs out there trying to go back and close a sale almost literally after the first handshake. That’s the business equivalent of saying:
I know we just met, but how would you like to get married and have kids together?

PuzzleI’m not saying you have to take things slow as molasses, but I do recommend that you take whatever time is necessary to get into the other person’s world. Learn about them. Ask questions and listen for problems, issues, challenges, and frustrations. Listen for ways you might be able to provide suggestions or resources, or otherwise provide something of value in an unimposing, nonthreatening, nonsalesy way.

Over the years, I’ve come across a number of people who teach how to get clients by offering a complimentary strategy session, with the primary aim of having the client work with you or otherwise buy something from you.

This approach can certainly work. I used it for the first two years of my coaching practice. But I found it incredibly inefficient, as I wasted a lot of time doing these complimentary strategy sessions with people who I just wasn’t going to be able to work with effectively.

“If only I had a way to screen these people out!” I lamented.

I started tinkering with my approach to the early phases of engaging with potential clients.

Along the way, I wondered why so many coaches, consultants, and therapists just jump right in to working with their clients without so much as a plan, other than: “Let’s get started right away. We can schedule our first session next week.”

Instead of leaping from “just met you” to “let’s jump in bed together,” I teach all my coaching clients to offer a planning session as the next step after the initial “getting to know you” session.

Here’s the common approach:
Informal conversation => complimentary strategy session (a disguised sales session) => sign up client

Now, here’s the approach I recommend:
Informal conversation => screening questionnaire => complimentary discovery session => complimentary (or paid) strategic planning session


While there’s an extra step in the sequence I recommend, I’ve found in my own experience and that of my clients that taking this added step is going to increase your conversion rates significantly when it comes to longer-term, higher-paying clients. And it’s a more natural progression for your clients, making it easier for them to say yes.

Suffering from Entrepreneurial Deficit Disorder? Here’s a Simple Way to Stay Focused on the Things That Keep Your Business Financially Healthy

Suffering from Entrepreneurial Deficit Disorder? Here’s a Simple Way to Stay Focused on the Things That Keep Your Business Financially Healthy

Many entrepreneurs suffer from EDD, or entrepreneurial deficit disorder, a malady in which they have big hearts but so many ideas and so many talents that they don’t know where to focus their efforts or how to choose the best strategies for their situation.

Here’s a real-life example from a recent experience of mine:

I’m helping one of my clients build his group coaching program. As part of this endeavor, I spoke directly with one of his test clients. I gave her advice on where to focus her gifts and talents. Later I heard a recording of a follow-up coaching session that my client did with her.

She was euphoric because I got her pointed in a direction that she’s super excited about; it’s one of her life’s passions. Great news, right? And it gets better: I heard her report that she was so excited that she went out and got several new clients. Starting from scratch, she generated approximately $3,500 in monthly revenue, catalyzed by our initial conversation.

Imagine how thrilled I was to hear this! Then she dropped a bomb: With unbridled enthusiasm, she reported that she had gotten her accountant to agree to train her in how to use QuickBooks. Instantaneously, I felt the blood drain from my face and my back slouch a little bit.

I flashed back to a moment years ago, when I happened be flipping through a book on business planning. I was curious to see the author’s advice for setting up a new business to be successful. In one of the early chapters, she wrote that one of the first things you should do is hire a graphic designer and create a logo for your new business. Bad advice. And this was a best-selling book.

You just don’t need a logo to generate business! (Despite generating a six-figure annualized revenue stream in 73 days, I didn’t have a logo for my business for at least the first couple of years.) Instead, you’d be far better off spending your time and money on getting clients, customers, and patients. A logo will not do that for you.

The same advice applies to my client’s test client: Instead of her spending time, money, and energy on learning a complex piece of software that was designed for financial professionals, she would be better served to focus on getting even more clients — and then delivering outstanding service and value.

When considering investing a significant amount of their time, energy, or money, I advise my clients to consider the following questions:

  • Will this activity help me increase my revenue?
  • Will this activity help me reduce my expenditures?
  • Will this activity boost my cash flow?
  • Will this activity boost my productivity?

If the answer is yes to at least one of these, and ideally more than one, I’m likely to recommend such an activity. But if the answer is no to all of these, it’s best to steer clear.

Real-life stories like these continue to drive me and my business partner, Dan Bowser, to create a cash-flow and money-management educational program for entrepreneurs. We’ve also been encouraged by many of you to develop a Web-based application, Business Cash Pulse. This tool is designed to present entrepreneurs with the financial numbers that matter. It’s designed to be simple enough that you don’t have to invest a lot of time, money, or energy into learning how to use the doggone thing; every minute you waste learning complex software is time and energy taken away from doing what you do best: serving clients, customers, and patients.

In the coming days and weeks, you’ll be hearing more about our holistic, whole-brain (no, not harebrained!) approach to making more money and keeping more of what you make. And you don’t have to be a financial expert to pull this off!

Do You Have The Freedom To Fail?

Do You Have The Freedom To Fail?

On July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was adopted, declaring independence of the existing 13 American colonies from the kingdom of Great Britain. And so it is that we in the States look forward to celebrating the Fourth of July, also known as “Independence Day.”

No matter where you are in the world, this is a good time for all of us to explore an important aspect of freedom, one that is uncommonly considered: the freedom to fail.

Everyone has a different definition of what freedom specifically means. Ultimately, freedom is an experience, a state of mind, body, and being.

For me, freedom means being able to be true to myself: Staying true to my own values and being able to express them in the world by learning, pursuing activities, and cultivating relationships that bring me meaningful experiences.

What about you? What specifically does freedom mean and feel like for you?

Whatever it is, I’m pretty sure that your vision of freedom does not include failure. Am I right? After all, who consciously wants to be defined by your failures?

Assuming you are of sound mind, you don’t.

Like it or not, failure is a critical ingredient in the mastery of any skill, of any successful endeavor, including the level of your Success after many failuresbusiness success. Those who have mastered any sport or other skill are the ones who have learned from their failures and made the appropriate corrections.

The big problem is that society, in general, frowns upon mistakes, even though we’re inevitably going to make them. Whether in education or the business world, we penalize people, sometimes severely for making honest mistakes.

What’s more likely to gain prominence in the media: the colossal mistake or the extraordinary act of generosity? It’s no wonder why, at a young age, we start to beat ourselves down, mentally, emotionally, and even physically, for making mistakes.

I’m not proposing that we encourage thoughtless “pillage and plunder” under the guise of the “freedom to make mistakes.” Instead, I’m recommending that we grant ourselves the freedom to fail, in the context of learning and growing from taking chances, while also taking responsibility for the consequences of our thoughts, words, and actions. Lacking such a shift in mindset, we’ll only reinforce the subversive attitude that mistakes are intolerable and perpetuate the “not good enough” mindset for ourselves and future generations to come. There’s no freedom there.

We learn the most from making mistakes. So why is it then, they we also beat ourselves and others so severely about making imgmistakes? Many people are afraid to “swing out big” because of their deep-seated fears of failure and shame. If you’re afraid of making mistakes, if you try to “play it safe,” you’ll never have freedom. And you’ll never experience the levels of success that are rightly yours.

Having the freedom to fail means having the courage to take chances, to go beyond what’s familiar and comfortable and to actively learn from what didn’t work and work to improve on it.

Ultimately, freedom is an inner experience of peace, joyfulness, an inner knowing that you are living your life according to your values, while honoring those of others who may be in direct opposition to your beliefs and values. True freedom gives you the power to be at peace with your circumstances and results, desirable or not.

It takes practice and inner awareness to honor your mistakes, failures, and shortcomings for what they are: an important part of your personal growth, an important ingredient of sustainable success.

The freedom to intentionally choose to honor your mistakes as part of your path to success is yours.

What will you choose?

Money Can Buy Happiness

Money Can Buy Happiness

“If you think money can’t buy happiness, you’re not spending it right.”

– Michael Norton, co-author, Happy Money: The Science of Smarter Spending

A lot of us have grown up hearing that money can’t buy happiness. But what if money doesn’t make us happy because we’re spending it on the wrong things?

Recently, I’ve been studying a lot about behavioral economics (the science of social, cognitive, and emotional factors on our buying decisions) through Dan Ariely, a professor at Duke University, founder of the Center for Advanced Hindsight, and the author of Predictably Irrational. Through Dan, I came across the work of one of his former graduate students, Michael Norton, now a professor at Harvard Business School.

Mike and his colleagues ran a study at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. They gave students envelopes filled with money, ranging from $5-$20. Some of the envelopes had instructions to spend the money on themselves by 5 pm. Other envelopes instructed the volunteers to spend the money on someone else, such as buying something for a friend or donating it to a homeless person.

The researchers called each volunteer at the end of the day and asked them what they did with the money and their level of happiness, compared to how they started the day.

They found that the people who spent money on themselves weren’t any more or less happy than how they started the day, despite getting the free money.

Yet, the people who spent the money on somebody else actually became more happy by the end of the day.

Wanting to assure themselves that this wasn’t a fluke, Mike and his team repeated the study in Uganda and found similar results!

What’s the practical lesson? Give a part of your money away, even if it’s a small amount; you’re likely to be happier when you spend your money on someone else, rather than yourself!

Inspired by this idea, I’ve made donations to a couple of organizations that I learned about through Mike:

DonorsChoose is an online charity that makes it easy for anyone to help students in need. Public school teachers from every corner of America post classroom project requests on our site, and you can give any amount to the project that most inspires you. I donated to a local school so they could purchase plastic models of human skeletons.

globalgiving.orgGlobalGiving is a charity fundraising web site that gives social entrepreneurs and non-profits from anywhere in the world a chance to raise the money that they need to improve their communities. I donated to a microlending program administered by students at Northwestern University.

Encouraged by my email dialogue with Mike, I was also inspired to begin offering one of my flagship training programs, Rapid Revenue Acceleration Mission Control, for “better than free.” I asked attendees of a recent webinar to make a donation of any amount to an organization of their choosing, send me a copy of their receipt, and then I’d give them access to my premiere training program. I didn’t know what to expect, but the response from participants has been uplifting. Some of them have made contributions ranging from $2.97 to $500 to organizations literally from around the world.

Want to learn more about making smarter spending decisions?
You can pre-order Mike’s forthcoming book, Happy Money: The Science of Smarter Spending, which is being released on May 14th (I placed my order already).

Better yet, why not buy the book and gift it away?!?

And, if you want immediate gratification, I also highly recommend taking in Mike’s 11-minute presentation at a TEDx event.

Happy (and Smarter) Spending!

Building Your Business “Money Muscles”

Building Your Business “Money Muscles”

Ever trying walking up stairs with just one leg? (Okay, I’m going to assume you are not a single amputee; if you are, then you already totally get the message I’m trying to convey here).

Here’s a simple exercise that illustrates the point I want to make:

  1. Get up from your chair right now and walk to the nearest set of stairs.
  2. Now walk up the stairs, say 10 steps or so, then turn around and walk back down.

No big deal, right?
Now, lift your left foot so that your heel is nearly touching your buttocks and you are standing and balancing totally on your right foot.Okay, round 2:

  1. While maintaining your balance, hop up the stairs as far as you can go (without hurting yourself!)

Totally different experience, almost ludicrous, isn’t it?

But you know, this isn’t much different from how many entrepreneurs attempt to build their businesses:
They focus so heavily on getting more clients, customers, and fans that they avoid keeping track of how much money they are bringing in and spending.

Many of you have heard me refer to my colleague, Joan Sotkin, who wrote a book called Build Your Money Muscles. I’ve read it, applied it, and recommend it highly. But let’s get back to your exercise of walking up the stairs with two, then one leg.

You see, muscle is composed of fast-twitch and slow-twitch fibers. When you walked up the stairs in exercise #1, your slow-twitch fibers were firing. If you sprinted up the stairs, your fast-twitch fibers would have kicked in. Both are important to use and develop. In exercise #2, you only had the benefit of the slow-twitch muscle fibers in only one leg, so you had less than half the power.

Similarly, there are two types of “money muscles” that every entrepreneur must train and develop:

1) Money-making muscles
2) Money-managing muscles

Let’s talk about “money-making muscles” first.

Making money is one of those urgent things that get in your face. It’s exciting and there are lots of training programs out there on how to make money faster, easier, with less work. (Heck, I just finished giving away my $600 program on “rapid revenue acceleration” for free to almost 300 entrepreneurs.) The prospect of making money with more intelligence and proficiency is alluring. It’s almost a “no-brainer” for us to continue working on our money-making muscles.

Now let’s address your “money-managing muscles.”

We all know managing our money is important, and yet this essential practice often gets overshadowed by the “instant gratification” of money-making tactics.

Have you heard the saying, “The universe will only give you as much money as you can handle?” Said differently, the universe will not give you more money than you can manage. I’ve seen the truth of that first-hand, repeatedly!

Therefore, if you are going to make more money (on a consistent basis), you must build your “money-managing muscles” and become an excellent money manager.

But Do I Really Have To?
Here’s the thing: When we lack confidence and comfort in managing money, we subconsciously (and consciously) won’t feel strong and capable of making more money.

The resulting self-doubt erodes the quality, quantity, and focus of the actions we must take to make more money, as well as the consistency and accuracy of how we manage it.

So yes, you really have to! Just like getting up a flight of stairs is easier using two legs, both making money and managing money are inextricably tied. It’s the yin/yang balance that’s needed in every business.

If you’re ready to start building your “money-managing muscles,” I invite you to join my business partner, Dan Bowser, and I in a conversation and exploration of what it takes to build your money management skills and habits.

We’ll share our collective experience of working with micro-businesses, multi-million dollar companies, and Fortune 50 giants. And we’ll help you get pointed in the right direction with your own business money managing systems and best practices.

Remember, few very entrepreneurs are doing this well or at all. This is your chance to strengthen your core, so both of your legs are available as you climb the stairs of success.

Register below and start building both sets of your “money muscles:” Money-making AND money-managing.

Tower, We Have No Instruments! Lessons About Business Finance from a Tragic Airliner Crash

Tower, We Have No Instruments! Lessons About Business Finance from a Tragic Airliner Crash


(NOTE: This is a follow-up to a previous blog posts about business cash flow and money management; read the previous ones here)

In the pitch black of a cloudy, moonless night on October 2, 1996, a Boeing 757 with 70 passengers and crew took off from Lima, Peru.

Barely three minutes into the flight, the pilots recognized in horror that their basic flight instruments were behaving erratically, providing conflicting information about airspeed and altitude.

Over the Pacific Ocean without the benefit of moonlight or city lights, they had no ground reference for guidance. In the midst of the confusion, multiple alarms sounded, signaling problems with windshear (the winds were calm) and the airspeed (being both too high and too low.) Even the autopilot system was inoperative.

Back on land, the Lima control tower was unable to provide accurate, timely information about the plane’s airspeed or altitude. Before a chase plane could be dispatched to lead them to safety, the troubled plane’s left wing and engine hit the water. After the initial impact, the aircraft climbed 300 feet, inverted, and plummeted into the sea, sinking immediately with all crew and passengers aboard.

The post-crash investigation revealed that masking tape was covering the external ports that the cockpit instruments need to determine altitude and airspeed. During washing and polishing of the aircraft, a maintenance worker had placed adhesive tape over the ports and neglected to remove it. This resulted in catastrophic malfunctioning of the airspeed indicator and altimeter, which led to false and conflicting flight data. Since the control tower’s flight data came from the aircraft’s system, the tower was unable to assist the pilots effectively.

Confused, overwhelmed, and unable to properly determine their airspeed and altitude, the pilots were unaware that their plane was descending at a 10-degree angle when it first hit the water.

So what does this tragic story have to do with your business?
Think of your business as a high-performance jet, capable of flying at high speed and great altitude. After all, your business is your greatest asset and the easiest one to crash. With that metaphor in mind, you must ask yourself…

  1. How high and how fast are you flying? From our experience in working with hundreds of entrepreneurs and small business owners, we know there are a lot of you who are flying your ‘business jet’ without a clue as to how high and how fast you are flying. You don’t even know in what direction you are headed. As a result, you might end up in a dive, headed for the mountain. And you won’t know it until it’s too late.
  2. What are your fuel (cash) reserves? If you don’t know what your reserves really are, what your cash “burn rate” is, you aren’t really in control of your business.But you say, “Wait, I’ve got my book of business and good financial records.” Sure, you might know your income and expenses or your balance sheet and/or a cash flow analysis for a given time span.Yet chances are you’ve only got a part of your instrument dashboard working.
  3. How are your engines revving? So you say, “I know how high and how fast I’m flying. And, I know where I’m headed! Just to prove it, I’m going to rev up my engines.”Hold on a minute. Before you touch that throttle, do you have the instruments that tell you how your engines are doing?The alternative to flying your business blindfolded is having financial dials and gauges that tell you where you are and where you are headed.

What we’re talking about here is the need for a Strategic Financial Dashboard.

A Strategic Financial Dashboard is a set of metrics, or indicators, that tell you about the health and performance of your business. They are also known as key performance indicators (“KPI”).

Here are examples of a few basic indicators:
Cash Flow. Cash flow is the movement of cash into, and out of, your business. Understanding the flow of cash in your business tells you when you will have the cash available to pay bills and to pay yourself. Cash often moves out before it moves in. Cash flow projections enable you to strategize on how you will cover the gap.

Revenue (actual and projected). Revenue or sales are the income that your business generates. Historic actual revenue tracking and forward-looking projections of revenue are important indicators for planning cash flow into your business.

Expenses (actual and projected). Tracking expenses provides a means for understanding where money is going. Anticipating expenses in advance enables planning of the cash flow out of your business.

Assets = What Your Business Owns. Assets take the form of 1) cash that is immediately available, 2) things that can be converted to cash, and 3) things that make you money.

Liabilities = What Your Business Owes. Liabilities take the form of 1) money owed to others or 2) obligations for which you are responsible, such as rent or advertising.

Equity. Sometimes referred to as “Net Worth” or “Net Wealth,” equity is the difference between assets and liabilities; that portion of your business that you actually own. In a healthy business, equity is positive and growing every year.

These are just some of the key performance indicators that show the true picture of how you are doing. There are three primary financial benefits from managing via your KPIs: First, profitability goes up; second, value goes up, way up; and third, risk goes down. In addition, your confidence increases because you are dealing with information, not guesses. In turn, your presentations and presence become stronger because your self-confidence is higher. Summing up, you and your business move to a higher level of performance.

Having shared all of this information with you, we must also offer a note of warning: These key performance indicators are nothing new. But far too many entrepreneurs don’t pay attention to them or know how to track them.

And, even if you do track them, most people aren’t financial types who can interpret what they mean.

When it comes to quantifying the variables and measuring the results, there are a number of assumptions that you need to make. There are also a host of limitations and pitfalls in collecting, analyzing, and interpreting the data. Nevertheless, used properly, these measures can mean the difference between a mediocre business (or worse, a failed one) and a phenomenally successful one.

The Bottom Line on Business Financial Performance:
The airline pilot must continually refer to and measure the fundamental indicators of engine, controls, and navigational performance if he or she is to arrive safely at the desired destination. The same is true of every business.

Measuring, tracking, and analyzing fundamental metrics gives you command and control over a critical part of your business. Doing so will help you to make the best strategic decisions to maximize your revenues and profit and increase value.

After all, when it comes to flying your “business jet,” we want you to reach your destination (goals) safely and successfully.

Rapid Revenue Acceleration and Wise Money Management Go Hand-In-Hand…

If you’re ready to explore fundamental principles and best practices of money management that entrepreneurs like you and I must know and use, please join us:

The Most Important (But Least Obvious) Reason to Become an Excellent Business Money Manager…

The Most Important (But Least Obvious) Reason to Become an Excellent Business Money Manager…

(NOTE: This is a follow-up to a previous blog post about business cash flow and money management; read it here)

Clearly, we need money for basic business purposes: turn on the lights, buy supplies, fix things, hire help, grow our clientele through marketing, pay taxes, and pay ourselves. These are all practical reasons to manage our finances carefully and intentionally.

Yet isn’t it strange how very few actually manage their money well?

I’ve been studying these types of phenomena for years, marveling at how we unconsciously struggle to eat better, workout more, and become organized with our finances.  And yet, the vast majority of people who want to adopt a healthier diet, who want to move their bodies regularly, who want to manage their business finances more effectively, can’t, don’t or won’t.

It takes someone with incredible fortitude, awareness, and humility to say, “I’m ready to tackle this mountain and I have no idea where to begin.”
This is what happened in my plastic surgery days. When I walked in the door each morning, I knew the rent and overhead for my office exceeded my revenue.

I feared looking at the numbers because I already knew it was ugly.

After amassing more than $350,000 in debt within a couple of years, creditors with nasty attitudes were harassing me, even paging me in the operating room. Naively, I didn’t know who to deal with first or how to “right the ship.” Family and friends sensed what was happening, but they didn’t know how to help. As much as I studied what to do, how to better manage the money that came in, it was clear I wasn’t going to get through this alone. At this point, the woman who became my wife, Denise, bravely stepped in and helped me manage the mess. I’m eternally grateful to her for doing that for me and our future.

Perhaps your story resembles mine. Perhaps, like me, you can muster the courage to face the numbers, but you aren’t confident about where to put your energy. Your biggest obstacles are probably: “where to begin,” “how to begin,” and “what to do”. Chances are you’d give anything for someone to bail you out!

In my previous blog post, I spoke about how the lack of financial clarity causes burnout and a sense of failure, even despite obvious successes. Here’s what else comes with being confused about your money: a debilitating sense of self-doubt.

Self-doubt leaks out in all kinds of ways and can be felt by those with whom we associate. When I pick up on self-doubt in one of my clients, I’ve learned that it means they’ve lost connection with their purpose. They forgot how to express their deepest values.

I’m here to tell you, this isn’t a life sentence. I’m living proof, along with countless colleagues and client entrepreneurs I’ve worked with, that we can take control of our financial health once and for all, without being at the mercy of circumstance and chance.

Taming the financial beast is possible! This victory will not only save our lives, it will refuel our mission and purpose like nothing else.

This leads me back to the beginning of this blog post.

We think we need better money management and cash flow to run the basics of a business. Does this old business saying sound familiar? “The primary purpose of a business is to make a profit.”

Undeniably, a business must turn a profit.

Yet, I believe that “turning on the lights,” “buying supplies,” “paying for help,” and so forth are accurate, yet superficial reasons for turning a profit and the root cause of why we continuously ignore this crucial crusade.

Instead, when we return to the WHY of our work (our reason for being, our vocational mission), guess what happens? — Motivation suddenly appears! We must clean up the financial health of our business for the sake of others and the importance of our passion.

Some believe that when they focus on their finances, it detracts from their mission.

If this is true for you, then THIS is where we should part ways. If you believe that fulfilling your mission means ignoring your money matters, then seriously, go directly to the unsubscribe link on any email I’ve ever sent to you.

But if this conversation stirs you up inside, then congratulations! Something is waking up inside of you.

If you’re interested in continuing this dialogue, then sometime in the next few days, I’m going to be asking for your help, your input, and your opinions. I’ll ask your thoughts on how my business partner, Dan, and I can best help you kick-start your journey to overcome “financial vagueness” and understand fundamental principles and best practices of cash flow and financial management.

Whether you’re avoiding the numbers altogether, unhappy with your current management system, or simply want to keep improving what isn’t quite yet perfect… stay tuned for some unprecedented guidance and simple tools.

Until next time, consider this: Think about what happens when we go into a grocery store without a shopping list and we’re starving. What happens? We wind up buying unnecessary items and spending way too much.

This is what the majority of us do every single day with our business finances: Without knowing where we stand with our money, it’s all too easy to justify buying another gadget, gizmo, doo-dad, or yet another business training program. Let’s stop the insanity together, unravel this intricate, financial knot, and find a practical cure for “financial vagueness syndrome*.”

*Thanks to my good friend and colleague, Joan Sotkin, who coined the phrase “financial vagueness syndrome.”


Cash Flow Management: Every Entrepreneur Must Do This (But Few Actually Do)

Cash Flow Management: Every Entrepreneur Must Do This (But Few Actually Do)

As entrepreneurs, we spend lots of time learning about marketing, networking like crazy, reaching out for new clients, and becoming “known” and connected on social media.

Yet there’s an elephant in the room that only a few are willing to acknowledge. He’s not as colorful as the images on Instagram, he doesn’t “LIKE” your quotes on Facebook and he certainly isn’t writing your next blog post.

I’m talking about the least sexy part of your business and also the most crucial to the vitality of your vocational bliss… your finances!

Every business person must pay attention to the numbers in order to thrive, but it seems much easier to avoid the pain of what we might find behind the curtain. Whether earning a health income or not, this kind of denial can be devastating mentally, emotionally and even physically.

This post is a “shout out” to those who no longer want to ignore their numbers or allow their finances to remain obscure, or a disorganized mess. It’s time for us to grow stronger roots and rise up with new financial strength on behalf of our vision, clients and the incredible passion we bring to our work every day.

When working with clients privately, I’ve seen those who don’t or can’t manage their numbers consistently (or intentionally). They don’t know what kind of financial production is enough or how many more clients they actually need.

They don’t have specific financial goals they’re shooting for or have a way to know when they’ve “arrived.” Consequently, they can’t ever relax because they think they continually have to be working on getting more clients and making more money. It’s a game that no one can win, not even the best of us. Inevitably, this causes serious burnout.
Entrepreneurs are notorious for choosing to “go with the flow.” We can’t be tied down. We want to live “in the now,” yet this flexibility often makes us choose poorly.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing information and training to help you understand foundational principles for cash flow and cash management and how to build money management best practices into your business (without pain or suffering). This is the kind of information every service oriented professional needs to have, yet very few actually do have it.

Clearly, those who take it on enjoy significant advantages!

This is such a critical topic that I’m bringing in Dan Bowser, my business partner in another endeavor (one that involves financial analytics with a Fortune 50 manufacturing company and its suppliers), to contribute his expertise and wisdom on this topic.

Here’s my promise to you: Nothing from us will be laced with complicated lingo. Entrepreneurial service businesses don’t need the kind of complexity or sophistication that Dan and I use when we’re analyzing multi-million dollar companies.

You need simple straight-forward and practical advice. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist or plastic surgeon (wink wink). All that’s required is a commitment to fulfill the dream on which your business is built.

So if you’re ready to ramp up your game and take your business to another level of freedom, contribution, AND profitability, stay tuned. We’ll be back with more details in a couple of days.

Acting on True Power

Acting on True Power

A lot of times, we take action lacking confidence and compromise our own true power, because we’re afraid that things will “turn out.” So we dilute our efforts, our energy, our focus.

The quirky thing is, you don’t know how things are really going to turn out until they do, right?

So instead of operating from a place of being worried, concerned that things will turn out, why not operate as if you knew things would indeed turn out, at least as good as, if not better than, expected?

After all, to turn the tables on you, you simply do not know how things will turn out. So why not expect that things “turning out” will be a desirable outcome? Expect the best without attachments, instead of fretting about failure, embarrassment, or shame.

When you come from this mindset, you have more freedom to be the best you can be.