What kind of souvenirs do you usually bring back from your trips to important meetings? Do you bring back something kitschy that gets tossed in the corner or in a box for years? Do you bring back some picture of yourself peeking through one of those cardboard cutouts? Well, the best souvenir is often the valuable information you went to that meeting or seminar for in the first place. Often, you’ll gain something that could save your business valuable time and money, but it’ll wind up in that same corner or box to collect dust.

Organizations, like Success Group International, pour effort, knowledge, and money into creating and offering top-notch training programs. After one of our meetings, our members return home with volumes of materials and hours of video/audio tapes.

The ones that are successful take that information and internalize it and use it. They don’t let it collect any dust. In fact, the best will use it so quickly they’ll leave the competition in the dust! However, there is always someone who takes the information or materials and puts them in that box as soon as the meeting is over and it is time to return to the real world.

Some people prefer to attend business meetings to network with friends, play golf, and enjoy social activities. That’s fine. But they tend to forget the main reason they’ve traveled there in the first place – to learn and educate – and then to take it back and implement it.

Don’t be the person who turns in an expense report, noting that you have been on an educational trip, only to spend more time socializing with friends than learning. Balance both – and brings back some good ideas, which are the best souvenirs.

If you want to attend a meeting where you’ll return home with ideas and materials that will change your business and your life, I invite you to one of our Success Group International meetings.

Webster’s New World College Dictionary defines “mentor” as “wise, loyal adviser; a teacher or coach.” Everyone at one time or another in their lives has depended on someone to help them through a difficult time or moment. We don’t always label that help as “mentoring” but it really is.

Smart businesspeople know the value of mentoring. Many choose to belong to a mentor “group” where ideas and advice are shared with other businesspeople that face similar challenges and who often share similar business demographics. Knowing how to face a situation is often much easier when advice comes from someone who has faced that exact same scenario.

Mentoring can also be described in the sage cliché: “No man is an island.” In today’s fast-paced business world, that cliché rings true time and time again. If a business owner thinks they can run a healthy and profitable business without any outside mentoring, they are doomed for failure.

If you brush aside help or advice because your ego is bigger than the building you own, its time to swallow some humble pie.

If you want to learn from the most powerful mentors in the industry, I urge you to attend one of the Success Group International Profit Days.

“There is a lot of information, but it is delivered in a fun and interesting way. I feel like I could go to every school and buy every book, but I would never have access to the expertise, information, and assistance that we are going to have. This is going to help us grow.”
– Jan and Scott LaPoint

That’s just one comment we’ve heard about the power of Success Group International. For more information about a Profit Day, just give us a call.

I urge you to find a mentor — and find new ways to succeed.

How do your employees see you? Do they enjoy coming to work every day? Do they enjoy the duties of their positions? Do they enjoy interacting with customers and other employees? Do they enjoy working for you?

Hopefully the answer to all of these questions is YES. And if all of the answers are yes, your employees should let the world know about it. Here’s how.

Several magazines and periodicals in every industry conduct annual contests seeking “the best contractor” or the “best contractor to work for.” The winners are all businesspeople who have been nominated by their employees because the employees truly enjoy their work experience.

The point is: encourage your employees to seek out this type of public recognition that you deserve. Find the news organizations that sponsor these contests and leave subtle hints around the office, i.e. magazine turned to contest story, entry blanks in the lunchroom, etc. If you end up winning, the rewards will be numerous and your employees will probably tell their friends in the business too – which means some of the superstars may just apply to work for the best of the best.

Blow your own horn when you can – let your employees blow it when you can’t.

Are your marketing efforts a shotgun blast that covers your marketplace in the hope that you hit something, or do you send out precise, guided marketing pieces that you know will always land on target?

Successful contractors don’t just become successful by blindly shooting marketing arrows all over the landscape – thinking that one or two may hit the bull’s-eye. Sure, you are bound to hit something if you shoot enough arrows. But, in the meantime, think about everything you’re wasting. You’re wasting your time in shooting the wrong arrows and you’re wasting your valuable arrows! Not to mention that the ones that do wind up hitting the target may not be hitting the best targets.

The true profit-maker is a person who knows which arrows to shoot and where to shoot them. They know when to shoot each arrow, and they can predict the results they’ll receive. How is this possible? They track their results.

If you don’t know which arrow works, how can you select the right targets? Tracking your marketing and advertising campaigns is a solid and proven way to choose the best one for your business.

Start tracking your success and make sure you end up on target !

Reality television is more popular than ever, and one of the most popular shows continues to be “Survivor”. You’ve no doubt seen the show where contestants must learn to be resourceful with what they have around them in the hopes of surviving.

What is your “reality?” Does it resemble Survivor?

Many business owners must be resourceful with what they have around them in the hopes of merely surviving. They don’t master the tools they have around them so that they can thrive.

Or is your world more like one of our old favorite reality shows we hope makes a resurgence, The Apprentice? Are you running from one task to the next without knowing what’s coming your way next while you hope you won’t hear those two fateful words – “You’re fired.”

This is another reality you may find yourself facing. Going through your business life without a plan will leave you facing each day as it comes, and you’ll never know when that day is going to come when it’s all over and you’re fired!

So, make your reality a winning reality. Master the tools you have. Discover the most powerful ways to market your company. Discover the keys to a winning presentation from your technicians to your customers. And then, make a plan so you know what’s coming in the days ahead.

Make winning your reality! After all, who wants to just “survive?”

How have you organized your office or shop? Do you have an “A” bin, “B” bin, “C” bin, etc.? Are the tools and items that you need and use more often the most accessible?

Picture a heating and cooling service contractor who uses a lot of replacement parts and equipment in the course of a normal workday. The most common items used by the service technicians are basic hardware, i.e. nuts, bolts, screws, etc. The parts bins are located on the ground level – easily accessible to all service technicians. One level up are furnace filters, almost as popular as basic hardware. And one level up from the filters are the next most common parts, i.e. fan motors.

You get the point – although it is pretty obvious – that the most efficient way to run a business is to put the most important items up front and easy to reach.

And speaking of important items – where are your important items? Where do you have your budget for the year? Is it in an easily accessible place so you can pull it off the shelf at the beginning of the day to see where your company is headed? You should also have your daily reports in an easily accessible place so you can look at them at the beginning of the day.

However, you choose to organize your office, it should be set up in a way that makes it easier for you to succeed.

Imagine the greatest novelists sitting down to write their masterpieces without any type of plan – no outline, no plot line, no character descriptions. Would they turn out the masterpiece we know today, or would they get lost somewhere along the way and never make it to the end. Without that outline to start from, there’s no novel at the end.

Your life is your story, and, unfortunately, most people go through it without any type of plan or outline. They go through life living in the present, content to “get by” and “make it through another day.” They’ll get to the end, but most likely they won’t have the happy ending they were hoping for.

Business planning is often handled just as haphazard. Some business owners look at a calendar and see 30 days. Others look at a calendar and see three months. Still others see a full year. For many owners, the center of their universe revolves around what happens on a daily and weekly basis – and that’s as far ahead as they think. They spend their time putting out the fires rather than planning how to avoid the fires to begin with.

The most successful businesspeople formulate a plan for the entire year – and beyond. Many have a five-to-ten year plan. Their philosophy is “if you don’t know what direction you are going, how can you plan each step?”

Take a look at your calendar or day planner. How far out are your longest plans? If today is the first day of December, do you have any plans for March of next year? Why not? Is it because your calendar ends December 31st?

Go out and buy a new calendar – and start planning for next month, next year, and beyond. Your competitor is. Make your plan so your story ends the way you always dreamed.

Ever wonder what it would be like to receive a message in a bottle? Better yet, ever wonder what a thrill it would be to receive a reply to a message that you sent in a bottle?

What do you think the chances are of actually getting a return message in the same bottle that you sent it in? A million to one? A billion to one? Calculating the likelihood of that would take more than a lifetime to figure out, what with weather, ocean currents, geography, etc.

In other words, don’t bother waiting for an answer to your message.

But in a sense, there are business owners who send messages out in bottles every day – in a literal sense – expecting to receive answers. It’s a shame that they think this is marketing their company. If they think it’ll work, their thought process is as narrow as the neck of that bottle with their message. They don’t know who to send the message to or how to do it.

You can have the greatest message in the world, but if you hide it in a bottle and set it adrift, what good is it?

That’s why it’s important to know the best way to get your message out. The best way is to network with other professionals in your trade to learn how they send messages and get responses. Take time to listen to effective and winning ideas from your peers – ideas on how to get your message across to the targeted market you are looking for.

Join an organization like the ones we have at Success Group International and you can tap into the most advanced techniques that business owners like you are using to build strong companies, create wealth and get results. Pick up the phone, and recycle that bottle you were ready to toss into the ocean.

Do you use “cheat sheets” in your business? You know the ones — where in school someone would attach a sheet of answers to test questions to their clothing or wrote the answers on their hands – to gain an unfair advantage.

While using cheat sheets in school is certainly unfair, there is nothing that says you can’t use the same idea in your business to make things a little easier on your team. For example, there is nothing wrong with having a flip chart of commonly asked questions and their answers in front of your customer service representatives while they are on the phone. You could even have a computer screen with the appropriate script all ready to go.

There are also different versions of cheat sheets – called “reminder sheets.” These can be as small as business card size and carry valuable information that a person needs to keep reminding himself or herself of an important event or meeting. Think of it as “tying a string on your finger.”

The cheat sheets and reminder sheets have now morphed into “inspiration sheets.” Some companies put their mission statements on these cards while others list keys to success. That way your employees can carry it with them throughout the day and stay focused on what it is their mission is each day. You could even have a cheat sheet of things your technicians should do before approaching the house or a checklist of things they must do on each call.

Whatever you call it, if there is a way to make things easier for your employees to remember and execute throughout the day – do it.

When is the obvious too obvious? When does a surefire profit tip seem too good to be true?

If you find yourself asking these types of questions, you may be suffering from a business pessimist mindset. People that fall under this category have the distinct feeling that if something is too obvious or is too good to be true, then it must not work.

Is this your attitude?

This type of attitude can be a success destroyer, so you may want to consider a little attitude adjustment.

No one person has ever proven to be a “know it all”. The ones who usually claim to be are the ones that have closed their minds to other possibilities. They’ve closed their minds to the ideas and suggestions of others because they feel like their way of doing things is the best.

These are the same people that shy away from networking with others and learning from their peers. It’s a shame because we’re all in the industry together and it makes sense to learn from one another. There are many organizations that bring successful contractors together to share a wealth of knowledge.

The organizations that make up Success Group International are a great example. These groups are bringing cutting-edge systems and ideas to the contractors with minds that are open to receive them. These contractors are going on to make killer profits while their competition, often the close-minded pessimist type, are left to work around the clock with little to show for it.

So, in the long run, smart business owners like you who are willing to learn from others can thank these “know-it-alls” and their closed minds for your success because those closed-minded business owners are often your competitors…think about that.

If you consider yourself an open-minded business owner, I urge you to explore your opportunity with Success Group International.