Santa the Entrepreneur

santa

Most people think Santa Claus only works one night a year. Nothing could be further from the truth. Sure, product distribution takes place on one magical night, but Santa’s operation runs year round and is one of the largest manufacturing and distribution operations in the world.

You’ve probably never considered the fact that Santa is the CEO of a large organization that not only distributes a vast assortment of products throughout the world, but does so in a single night with just a sleigh and eight tiny reindeer. Sam Walton would have killed to have Santa’s logistics manual.

Do I believe in Santa? You bet your red longjohns I do. I especially believe in Santa’s entrepreneurial spirit. Just consider all he does from an entrepreneurial point of view and I think you will start to believe, too.

Santa Is His Own Company Spokesperson

Santa is a brilliant marketer and knows that his image is the best marketing tool he has. No other face is as recognizable and no other entrepreneur has inspired so many songs. You’ll never hear “An Ode To Jack Welch” on the radio ten times a day.

Santa’s Customers Love Him

Just say his name around a group of kids and watch their little faces light up like Rudolph’s nose. You will never see Bill Gates get that kind of reaction. Heck, he can’t even make his own kids smile.

Santa Sets The Bar For All Entrepreneurs

When you list the traits of the perfect entrepreneur, Santa gets the highest marks. He has passion for his work. He loves his customers and will go to great lengths to make sure they are happy. He has the ability to spot consumer trends and bring products to market quickly. He can lead a large organization with a wink of his eye. He inspires those around him. He is tireless. He is dedicated. He is loyal. He is persistent. And above all, he is jolly. Name another jolly entrepreneur (other than Dave Thomas of Wendy’s fame). I bet you can’t.

Santa Is A Great Leader

Can you imagine trying to manage a few hundred giddy elves who are shut in year round and spend their off hours drinking spiked hot chocolate and doing who knows what with fairy dust? It would be enough to drive even the best of entrepreneurs to hide out at the North Pole. Somehow Santa manages the task without pulling his whiskers out. I expect he has a management system that promotes from within. The hard working elves get into management. The slackers are stuck cleaning up after the reindeer.

Santa Perfected “Just In Time” Manufacturing

Santa heads up one of the largest, most diverse manufacturing operations in the world. His product lines range from rag dolls to toy trains to rocking horses to baseball gloves for the little kids, to iPods and cellphones and diamond rings for us big kids. Santa’s factory runs year round, twenty four hours a day, seven days a week and never, ever suffers from cost overrun or production shut downs. Santa perfected the “just in time” method of production that is used by many of the world’s largest manufacturers today.

Santa Pioneered Global Product Distribution

Santa is the king of single channel distribution. How else could he deliver millions of presents to good little girls and boys all around the world on a single night? Santa’s distribution process is a closely-guarded secret (elves and reindeer are required to sign iron-clad nondisclosure agreements), but I expect it involves a highly detailed logistics plan and the best CRM software on the planet. You never hear about Santa calling up a kid and telling them a present is backordered until July.

Santa’s Delivery & Tracking Systems Are Second To None

If you think FedEx is number one at tracking packages think again. Santa’s track record is spotless. He has never, ever missed a single delivery or left a box sitting on the porch in the rain. Every package is delivered in perfect shape, right under the tree.

Santa Wrote The Book On Customer Satisfaction

Santa proudly boasts a 100% perfect customer satisfaction rating. You never hear about class action lawsuits and Better Business Bureau complaints against St. NIck. Santa makes sure that his customers are happy and if they aren’t, he’ll come back next year to make things right. If JD Power could find him, I’m sure they would give Santa their Christmas Customer Satisfaction Award.

Santa Claus Is Watching You

Not everyone believes that Santa is the perfect entrepreneur. There are those kids who complain that Santa never brings what they ask for, but we grown ups know that Santa brings the gift that is deserved, not necessarily the gift that is asked for.

Here’s a little Christmas tip: If you get a lump of coal in your stocking this year it’s because you were bad and that’s what you deserved.

It was not because Santa dropped the ball.

Brainstorm and take action

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How is your life and/or your business doing? Is it stagnating, boring, going nowhere? Have you become obsessed with meeting those loan repayments or trying to just survive until the next fistful of money comes in? Are you having trouble maintaining your positive expectancy about life and/or business?

Too many of us are living this way and it has to change! The Government won’t do it for us, nor will our family or friends. So what steps do we need to take to make life worth living and our businesses into exciting ventures?

The way to live satisfying lives is to simply dream up the things that we want to do and then make them happen. A simple statement but so few of us can put it into practice!

You can put it into practice if you take these steps NOW! First, find yourself a quiet, comfortable location where you will be free from disturbances. Ensure that you have paper and pen handy as you will need to write some things down.

Brainstorm Ideas

Now, let’s do some brainstorming. For the next ten to fifteen minutes, write down all the things you’d like to do. A few rules for this exercise are in order. Don’t evaluate as you write! For example, if you’d like to go overseas on holidays for twelve months – don’t stop and think whether you can afford it. Just write it down. Evaluation can occur later. At this stage, write down all the things that you’d like to do assuming there was nothing that you couldn’t do.

Priorities Ideas

When you have finished brainstorming, you will have a list of the things you would like to do – and hopefully it will be a long list! Your next step is to review your list and sort it into priority order. Again, do not evaluate any of these items as to feasibility, etc. while you are ranking them. At the top of a fresh sheet of paper, write the thing you would like to do most. Underneath that, write what you’d next like to do most. Continue doing this until you have sorted your list into order of most wanted to least want to do. Also, put beside each one when you would like to do it by.

Take a short break before proceeding to the next step.

Evaluation

Now, look at the top three items on your list and ask yourself the question: “What is stopping me from doing these things? It will help to clarify things if you write down these reasons. For example, if your number one choice is to go overseas for twelve months, your reasons for not being able to do so could be:

+ can’t afford it;

+ can’t leave my business unattended; and

+ afraid I won’t like it when I get there.

You’ve got to remember that you are looking at the three things you’d like to do most! So you’re not going to let reasons like that stop you from doing them, are you? Now spend some time thinking about what you can do to overcome these reasons. Again, brainstorming without evaluation can help. Write down all the things that come to mind that could overcome these obstacles. You might write down things like:

+ sell the business;

+ cut back on personal expenditure to save the money so can afford it;

+ get more information about where I want to go;

+ hire a manager to run my business while I’m away;

+ sell the house and use proceeds to pay for the trip;

+ increase my business so that I make more money; etc., etc.

Once you have a list of solutions (no matter how silly some may be), you can then evaluate them. Remember, sometimes it is the modification or extension of a silly idea that holds the solution. From this evaluation process, form a plan of how you could do what you most want to do.

Do a Plan of Action

Your final step in this process is to put your plan into action – and do it now! Don’t wait for a more opportune time – the best time is always NOW!

However, don’t let your big plans stop you from doing some of your smaller plans now. Pick a couple of activities you can do within the next month that won’t cost you money. DO THEM! You will feel like a different person for having done so.

Okay, but can you apply this process to your business? You surely can. Instead of asking yourself what you would like to do, instead ask what can you do that will make your business more attractive to your customers so they will do more business with you?

Again, use brainstorming to help you. Follow all the steps above and you will come up with some great ideas that will help you to revitalize your business. Also, don’t forget that the best source of ideas is from your customers. Ask them what they want – then give it to them provided you can do so at a profit. If you can’t do it at a profit, brainstorm ideas on how you can do it at a profit. Always aim for continuous and never-ending improvement in your service to your customers.

You will see the difference doing things can make to your life and business!

Become An Opinion Leader

Opinion

“How do I get good people to listen to me?”

When’s the last time you asked yourself that?

Part of the reason marketers everywhere have such a tough time getting people to listen to them is because their audiences (i.e., us) don’t believe them entirely.

So how can they become an opinion leader?

Problema…

We all know the marketers are “selling” whatever (they’re professionals aren’t they?) and that they’ll say whatever nice words and make whatever promises they have to, to make the sale.

So we, as marketers, are suspect. Yes, including network marketers. Because a normal consumer doesn’t know if we say the nice things to sell it and make a few shekels, or because we really love it ourselves.

Here’s the good news…

We ALL like to buy stuff, don’t we? So ask yourself: What kind of person do YOU most like to buy FROM?

Here’s what I do. For anything that matters, I seek out a member of the club, so to speak.

As an avid tennis lover, if I’m thinking about a new tennis racquet, I’d not go to Wal-Mart to buy one. Instead, I have usually gone to a good tennis coach, took a lesson or two, and asked them for a recommendation. I go to the best tennis places and people I can find. Because I love tennis.

And yes, of course I know the person or shop is making something on the sale, I don’t care. What matters is that they know and love their tennis.

Say you, as a consumer, know that nutrition matters. You know you need to supplement. And you want whole food based products, no synthetics.

Or you’re someone concerned about how your skin looks, and you believe that the ingredients in the skin care products you use make a difference. E.g. no chemicals or no animal products.

So who would YOU rather buy from?

A. The sales rep who sells various nutritionals or skin care products as part of their ‘line’,

or

B. Someone who cares about nutrition like you do, or about skin care and chemical-free products like you do, and who sells a specific line because THEY love it and use it themselves, too?

This is where network marketers have a very big edge over regular marketers. If you sell it because YOU love it – because of how it helped you – you are like the tennis coach recommending a racquet so an aspiring player. You are an instant ‘opinion leader’ to tennis players and tennis player wannabes.

The regular marketers are all abuzz about what it takes for a corporate spokesperson to be perceived as an opinion leader, so they’ll be listened to when they deliver their product pronouncements.

In a survey by a prestigious PR firm, they asked, “Who is a respected opinion leader?”

Findings:

“68 percent of respondents said: ‘A person like yourself or your peer’ is the most credible spokesperson about your company.”

Isn’t that what we just said? A member of the club (or even more passionate than you), or your peer or better? Someone like you or even more so?

Regular marketers have a much bigger hill to climb than network marketers. Many don’t use what they market, and they don’t market it because the products have changed their lives. They are usually NOT a member of the community of those who care about X.

They just try to sell stuff to people who care about X.

People who care about X, being consumers, don’t like buying from people who really don’t care about X in their own hearts and lives.

We want to buy X from X lovers.

X lovers are X opinion leaders.

Leadership Self-discipline

self-discipline

Champions are not made on the field of play, they are only rewarded there. Champions are made from their daily routines. They work on sharpening their reflexes so every move they make becomes second nature. Champions never take short cuts because they know it will only expose a weakness. No matter how gifted an athlete is, they will never reach their maximum potential without self-discipline.

Just like athletes, leaders must be the masters of self-discipline.

During seminars, one of the most common things I hear people say about leadership is: “It’s easy for you, because you were born with these gifts.” While I agree that some people naturally have greater gifts than others, the ability to lead is a learned skilled which can be continually improved upon.

I grew up in the area my family lives in now and every so often we run into old classmates. You know how this goes, at some point they ask: “So what are you doing now?” My answer always brings awkward faces because the fact that Justin Ledvina ended up being the CEO of a multi-million dollar company, a published author and public speaker is just shocking to many. Indeed it is so shocking that some members of my own family have yet to wrap their heads around this. Why should this be? Well, I never showed any ability as a leader in my younger days. This is a skill learned later on in my life that I constantly work hard on.

A great example of someone who didn’t have all the raw talent but became great through self-discipline is Larry Bird. Even though I’m from New England, most would agree that during the ‘80’s, if the game was on the line, then you wanted the ball in Larry’s hands. We can also agree that he didn’t dazzle us with his blazing speed or atomic dunks. He was great at putting the ball in the basket from some of the most ugly angles. Larry spent most of his youth shooting the ball into the hoop. When he became a pro he knew that his talents alone would not keep him there. Bird was always he first to practice and the last to leave and he worked hard on hitting shots from anywhere on the court.

This is why I believe anyone can become a successful leader through self-discipline.

What is self-discipline?

Self-discipline is the ability to get yourself to take an action regardless of your emotional state.

Why is self-discipline important to being a successful leader?

Author H. Jackson Brown Jr. once said: “Talent without discipline is like an octopus on roller skates. There’s plenty of movement, but you never know if it’s going to be forward, backwards, or sideways.”

Imagine how long people would follow you if they never know what direction you were going to take them in. Followers are looking for leaders they can depend on, they are not looking for a constant state of chaos and confusion.

Here are some key points I focus on to develop my self-discipline.

Cut the excuses

Excuses are the reason why we stop doing something or anything. I’d be lying if I told you Justin wasn’t the king of excuses. I had a reason why I couldn’t do anything except be a loser. Proof of this is the shock mentioned earlier when people find out how successful I’ve become. Making excuses why we can’t do something or why we have to stop doing something is easy. We all do it at some level. To me, this is why there are so few successful leaders and so many followers. Anytime an excuse pops into my head I challenge myself to replace it with just one reason to fight through the pain.

To help cut down on my excuses I take a few minutes out of each week to set up a schedule. Nothing like a minute-by-minute break down of each day, instead it’s just some key objectives to keep me on track.

As an example, last week it was decided to increase our company’s presence in the market. Part of this required me to design all new advertising. I took a few minutes to figure out how many ads we needed and approximately how long each one would take. From there I was able to create some quick objectives that were broken down over the course of the week. I shared these objectives with my team to hold me accountable. This prevented me from making up excuses and trying to cram all of that work in at the last moment. In this situation, if I had allowed myself to make excuses and ended up not getting the project done, it would not only have hurt myself  but would have hurt everyone else associated with the project.

Know my skill level

Even though leaders are visionaries, do not assume this means they do not think in reality. I am constantly aware of where my skills are at. This allows me to raise the bar slightly, each day, forcing myself to push further without discouragement. Being unaware where a skill is at and raising the bar too high, we set ourselves up for failure.

Life experiences have taught me that slowly building up my skills each and every day is easier long term than trying to change them drastically overnight because doing the latter has always lead me to burn outs. The goal here is a steady, constant growth and not a roller coaster of large up and down swings.

Focus on the results

This one is key for me and let me share with you why. The second my eyes are taken off the prize, my brain starts to focus on all the hard work instead. Wow, just reading what I wrote there sent a shiver down my spine. When I’m focused on the work and not the results of my work, the feeling of being an employee creeps in. Every one of you that is self-employed probably got that same feeling. It is so much easier to do the work when you can envision the fruits of your labor.

Something I’ve done to keep myself focused on the results is put visuals in my work area. My mission statement, which is my big goal, is clearly visible in my office. Actually this is the very first thing I look at each work day to remind myself why all the hard work put in is well worth it. Under my whiteboard, which sits one foot to the right of my desk, are printouts of progress of some of my smaller goals. As an example during the writing of our first book I printed out the cover and a few of the pages. I cut them out to the exact size the book was going to be and taped them to the wall.

Learning to be a leader doesn’t happen overnight, because like anything worth having it takes time and dedication to achieve.  We must be willing to pay the price and go through the process. The good news is we will see progress along the way. Don’t forget this is a never-ending road. You must be willing to constantly soak up knowledge like a sponge along the way.

When we practice good self-discipline, everything we do becomes second nature and we no longer think deep on our actions. Your ability to lead becomes rapid-fire reflexes like a champion athlete.

You Can’t Change Me, But….

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You ever hear the saying “You can’t change how people act?” for the most part this is true but we can control how people interact with us. Take a few minutes and watch a webinar I did at Randy Ritter’s Avenues to Success talking about some of the things I do to control interactions with me.

I hope you found some of the information insightful and are able to use it for yourself. I had a great time and look forward to sharing more information like this with you.

What are some of the things you do to encounter more positive interactions even with those you find most difficult to interact with?

Question about advertising with video

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This is a common question that gets asked to either myself or at http://trafficexchangelive.com – Should I even bother advertising using videos people are telling me they surf with their sound off anyways? I put together a quick video with my thoughts on the subject.

 

 

Here are a few quick tips using videos when advertising in traffic exchanges.

Keep it short – I can’t tell you how many times when surfing I move on to the next page just because the video was too long. The only thing you want to do with a video in a traffic exchange is get someone to take an action. That’s it nothing else! Give them just enough information to create curiosity and then tell them what you want them to do. Don’t assume on this last part that they know what you want from them, be the leader and TELL them what to do next. This should only take you 20 – 45 seconds to achieve.

Start it right away – Notice in the video above that my message started right away? You don’t see my setting the camera up or trying to find the right spot, I just start talking. Most people are going to breeze right by your ad unless the message starts ASAP. This can easily be done with editing software that comes with both Windows and Macs so there is no excuse for this mistake.

Stop yelling at me! – The reason why many videos you see and hear are super loud is because those advertisers are following a philosophy of TV advertising. The truth is no ones going to the bathroom or getting a snack when your ad is playing, they’re right in front of their monitors usually 2 feet from the speakers. Make your videos at a conversation level as if I was right in front of you. Why? because when I’m watching your video you’re right in front of me.

No music – The last two suggestions lead us to this one. Save the music for your iPod or videos of your cousin Earl doing the salsa after a night of eggnog. You already know the surfer needs to hear you talking right away so by default you know there is no time for a music intro. There is a million reasons why I recommend no music but here are the two most important ones. Copyright, even though we’re small companies, many one person operations, none of us are immune to the legal system. Some people find it difficult picking up words when music is playing in the background.

Don’t worry about making your videos perfect. Ever notice when you see someone from Timtech making a video how often we stumble over words, say stuff like ummm and ah? The reason why we leave our mistakes in is because it instantly tells the viewer this wasn’t scripted. We’re not filming sitcoms, we’re building a brand and this is done by being yourself. You don’t get a do over when meeting people in person so stop worrying about how well you come across on video. Just speak from your heart.

I know my company is heavily focused on advertising and training using videos. Although we also understand not everyone is a fan of this advertising method and this is why we still heavily advertise using static designs. Do not assume everyone is like you or you’ll be ignoring a large sector of your own market.

My question for you today is, do you think adding videos to some of your advertising makes any difference to your brand or bottom line?

Lt. Col. Rob “Waldo” Waldman at TELive

waldo-during-motivational-keynote

For those who missed one of the best conference of the year here’s a recording of Lt. Col. Rob “Waldo” Waldman at TELive.

Lt. Col. Rob “Waldo” Waldman – The Wingman – is a professional business motivational speaker and author of the New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller Never Fly Solo. He teaches organizations and individuals how to build trusting, revenue producing relationships with their employees, partners, and customers while sharing his experiences as a combat decorated fighter pilot and businessman.

Waldo overcame massive claustrophobia and a fear of heights to become a highly decorated combat fighter pilot with over 65 missions in Iraq and Serbia. He believes that the key to building a culture of trust lies with your wingmen – the men and women in your life who help you to overcome obstacles, adapt to change, and achieve success. In business and life, you should never fly solo! The solution to winning when the heat is on lies in the ability of every wingman in your organization, regardless of their role, to support the team and be 100% committed to the mission.

Checkout more about the Wingman at his website http://yourwingman.com

Thanks to Randy Ritter, Sam and Deb Burgess for making this happen. I truly loved the content Waldo was giving as well how down to earth he was. It was what we call Awesome Sauce! Also want to thank Bill Gorcsi for recording this webinar.

If you kill it you got to eat it

white-tail-deer

My grandfather had a rule “If you kill it you got to it eat”. You see to him hunting wasn’t a sport it was a resource. This rule kept me from wasting lots of animal meat just for fun.

I also have a rule “If you quote it you got to be it”. Not as cool as my grandfather’s rule but it makes just as much sense. You see Twitter, Facebook and even our conferences have been a sport of who can drop the most quotes. A great quote doesn’t do anything unless the person saying it is living proof of it. Let me give you a great example of me using a quote that holds no weight because I’m telling it to you. An apple a day keeps the doctor away. Does anyone believe I really eat an apple everyday or even 1 a week?

Here’s the thing anyone can drop great quotes making themselves sound awesome that’s the easy part. The objective isn’t to get 20 people to like your facebook posts or to retweet your quotes from some famous dead guy. The goal is to be that shining light for others to follow and this can only be done through ACTION! I’m not going to lie to you that message isn’t sexy and it’s a lot of hard work but the pay off is far greater then being the master of other people’s quotes.

Action does, and will always speak louder than words. Do not fall into the trap that you can just say great things and great things will happen. I challenge you to stop being the master of great quotes and become the master of great action. Become that beacon of light that shines so bright others are drawn toward you because of it. Challenge yourself to stop taking the easy way out and start taking the road less traveled. Don’t be afraid you won’t have to go it alone there are many of us that will walk with you.

Remember the next time you drop a quote ask yourself “Am I living what I’m saying?” if the answer is no print that quote out paste it next to your computer to remind yourself one day you’ll be able to say that quote with confidence. If you kill it you got to eat it!

Are you living what you teach? If not what can I do to help you move in that direction?