Perception May Not Be Everything-But It’s close

Have you ever called a business and made a decision about whether or not to hire that business based on what you hear on the other end of the line? Imagine if you are looking for marketing help. You call XYZ Marketing only to have your call answered by a person  who has a screaming baby in the background. As the child wails, you hear: “This is XYZ marketing— what da ya want?” Could that possibly influence your decision on whether to continue the relationship?

On the other hand, have you ever rang a business for the first time and had your call answered by a polite, confident, knowledgeable person whose demeanor immediately told you this was  someone you wanted to do business with? Let’s face it: perception is important. Like it or not, we are drastically influenced by how we perceive people—and businesses.

If perception plays such a critical role in business, how can you use that to your advantage?

A good friend of mine had his own consulting business but was getting ready to sell it. He began making changes that affected how a potential buyer might perceive the firm. My friend moved his offices to a high-end business complex downtown, changed the dress code, and he even hired a receptionist to greet clients. Did any of these adjustments change the actual way he ran his business? Not really, but when a prospective buyer walked into the office, he saw a business that—in his mind— was on its way to the top. My friend used this strategy twice, and it worked both times.

Andre Agassi

Andre Agassi

Andre Agassi was an iconic athlete in the nineties. He was unstoppable both on and off the tennis courts. He earned a total of more than $30 million in prize money from his tennis competitions, but he earned nearly that much every year from his endorsements— about $25 million annually! Canon was one of his highest paying sponsors. Canon’s advertising campaign with Agassi, “Image Is Everything” was a multi-million dollar success.

So, what’s the bottom line? Image can send you to the top—or keep you on the bottom. Your image—or the perception of what you project to your client— should be considered when making almost every business decision. American Underdog

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Published in: on April 6, 2010 at 11:38 pm  Comments (2)  
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Busting The Myths

Have you ever thought about starting a business? Did you ever have an idea for a product that you thought could make millions? Have you ever seen a successful entrepreneur interviewed and think to yourself, “They don’t seem any smarter than me.” So, what’s holding you back? There are a handful of common myths that keep people from moving forward. Let’s talk about some of those myths and a few well known entrepreneurs who didn’t buy them.

Myth #1-“I don’t have enough money.”

This is probably one of the biggest myths out there. As an entrepreneur, if you aren’t familiar with the term “bootstrapping,” you should be. Many of the most successful entrepreneurs have been great bootstrapper’s. That is to say they “pulled themselves up by their bootstraps” and got creative when financing their start-up. There are many ways to do this. One of the more common ways is to continue working your current job. Most new businesses won’t generate revenue immediately. So, rather than put yourself in a financial crunch, rely on your current income as long as you can and work on your new venture in the off hours.  This will also allow you to re-invest once you do turn a profit. Another way you can get creative is to bring on a partner; someone who shares your passion and can help absorb the initial costs. And of course, don’t forget wealthy ‘Aunt Betty.’  Many times relatives or friends are good potential investors, especially once they see how passionate you are about your new venture.

Ray Kroc

Ray Kroc

Did you know that McDonald’s was not Ray Kroc’s idea? Ray Kroc had a job as a milkshake salesman when he met the McDonald brothers and saw their operation. How much money do you think Ray Kroc made as a milkshake salesman?($14k/yr) Here was a 52-year-old man who had no seed money,  but saw an opportunity.

 

Myth #2-“I’m too old.”

Do you know at what age men become most productive? Studies have shown that men become most productive at age 40. Many women are discovering home-based businesses after the kids leave home. Today, we are living longer lives and enjoying better health than ever before. In 1960, the average life expectancy was 70 years old. Today it is almost 80 years old. So, it’s true “40 really is the new 30.”

Col. Sanders

Col. Harland Sanders founder of Kentucky fried chicken, was 60 years old when his restaurant was shut down due to a new highway being constructed. At that point he was forced to live on his $105 pension.  At the age of 62, he traveled across the country by car from restaurant to restaurant, cooking batches of chicken for restaurant owners and their employees. If the reaction was favorable, he entered into a handshake agreement that would pay him a nickel for each chicken the restaurant sold. Do you think Col. Sanders believed he was too old?

Myth #3-“What if someone steals my idea?”

While you do have to protect yourself and your idea, the notion that someone is just waiting for you to give them an idea so they can run with it is not very realistic. There are many ways you can legally protect yourself. The bigger question is, if you think your idea is so great why aren’t you capitalizing on it? The Internet gives you direct access to the USPTO(United States Patent and Trademark Office). Here, you can file paperwork to protect your idea. Now, could someone still take your idea? The answer is yes. Should that stop you? The answer is no!

Walt Disney

In 1928, Walt Disney suffered a devastating setback. At 26 years old this inexperienced businessman naively signed away his ownership rights to his first successful cartoon creation, “Oswald the Lucky rabbit.” Can you imagine the disappointment Disney must have felt? What if he had let that stop him?

The question is, “do you feel you are called to something greater than that which you are currently doing?” If the answer is “yes,” no matter what the excuse is, you can’t deny the person you are meant to be. American Underdog

Published in: on March 24, 2010 at 7:44 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Is Your Glass Half Empty?

What does your glass look like these days? Has the economy put a hole in it? Or, are you one of the few who understands some of the most successful businesses in the world began in a recession? Companies such as Burger King, Microsoft and FedEx, to name a few, started in a down economy.

Winston Churchill once said,

Winston Churchill

 

“The pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity, the optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”

These days most people want to talk about banks not lending, an unstable market and an uncertain future. Let me ask you a question, do you think we are in a recession? If so, do you think it will last forever? History has shown us whenever this country has gone through a recessionary period a booming economy has followed. So, will you sit on the sidelines and wait? Or, will you jump in now and be one of the few who is prepared when that time comes? Do you realize real estate prices are the lowest they’ve been in years? You can negotiate lease agreements that would have been unheard of just a few years ago. The Internet and social media alone present an incredible opportunity to begin a new business with minimal start-up costs. You have more resources, as a business owner, at your fingertips than ever before.

Don’t let anyone tell you this is a bad time to pursue your dream! Furthermore, if you find yourself surrounded by others whose glass is half empty, you need to find some new friends. Most often, it is those closest to you who will discourage you most. You have to understand it isn’t because they don’t want you to succeed. But, if you follow your dream and you’re successful then they will be forced to follow theirs. Remember, “whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.”(Henry Ford) Why not surround yourself with people who think you can!

Published in: on March 22, 2010 at 5:11 am  Leave a Comment  
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