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Issue 3 January 20, 2009

January 20, 2009


This is a historic week for America.  Yesterday, we celebrated one of the greatest Americans that ever lived, Dr. Martin Luther King.  Today, we make history as we celebrate the inauguration of the first African-American U.S. President - Barack Obama.
I know many of you are counting on a new administration to bring much needed change to our economy.  But to quote my good friend Dan Miller, "It doesn't matter so much what is going on in the White House as it matters what is going on in Your House."
So, as Americans, lets pause to celebrate this historic changing of Administrations...but then let's get right back to work.  Because in the end, our business and personal success should not be based on who is sitting in the White House.  No, that responsibility belongs solely to me and you.
3 Strategies for Thriving in 2009
               (Part 3 of a 3 Part Series) 
In Part 1 of this series, we began with the assertion that many businesses and individuals will thrive in 2009.  The big question is whether you will be one of them.
We then reviewed the first two strategies as outline below:
Strategy 1:  Provide Value. 
We concluded that the best way to provide value is to 1) know who you are and what you have to offer and 2) know who your customer is and understand what they value.
Strategy 2:  Operate With INTEGRITY
Given today's turbulent economy, we discussed how it is more important than ever to operate with integrity.  We concluded that integrity involves "doing the right thing" even when no one is looking. 
Now we will take a look at our third and final strategy for thriving in 2009:
Strategy 3: Make A PROFIT!
While this seems to be a "given", it's amazing how many companies overlook the fact that they must make a profit in order to stay in business. 
Profit is quite simply the money left after all expenses have been paid.  Or in a another form it can be stated as: 
Revenues - Expenses = Profit. 
Yes, this is a very simplistic equation.  And it is not with the equation that people fail.  Rather, it is with the two key pieces of the equation that companies fail: Revenues and Expenses.  Let's take a look at each.
By nature, entrepreneurs are optimistic, and tend to overestimate the revenues their company will produce.  Quite often they tend to "shoot from the hip" and fail to produce a systematic and sustainable business plan of "how" and "where" their revenues will be derived.
Is it possible to accurately predict revenues?  With the right systems in place, then yes, it is very possible to accurately predict revenues.  They key is to have accurate systems and sales processes in place that behave consistently over time.  The second key is to measure those systems and processes and make adjustments as necessary.  The third key is to provide tremendous value to the marketplace (Strategy 1) while operating in integrity (Strategy 2).  Are you beginning to see how these 3 strategies are all inter-related? 
Unfortunately, there is much more to this subject than can be covered in the space allotted.  The important fact to understand is that you can accurately predict your revenues just as confidently as you can predict the sun will rise in the east.
Just as entrepreneurs tend to overestimate their revenues, they tend to underestimate their expenses.  If you have been in business for any length of time, you understand  that your capital expenditures and operating expenditures almost always exceed your budget or forecast.
I've heard many small business owners laughingly use the following rule of thumb on estimating costs..."Just double it - and then double it again for good measure!"  Well, I might not go that far, but sometimes it is close to the truth.
While there are many resources to help you control expenses, that really should not be your prime focus.  Instead, focus on having a positive ROI for every expense.  In other words, don't get so consumed with "cutting costs" that you kill key revenue generators (such as sales).
For every expenditure you make, you should have an answer to the following questions:
1) Is this expense absolutely necessary to produce revenue?  Why and How?
2) How quickly will I receive a return on my investment?
3) What is my return on my investment?
If you can't provide succinct answers to these questions, then you need to revisit the necessity of the expenditure.
Cash flow shortages are one of the top killers of small businesses.  Hmm, given the lay of the land with AIG, Lehman, and the Big 3 Automakers, it appears that cash flow shortages are a pretty big killer of mega-businesses as well. 
Therefore, it is critical to maintain revenues greater than expenses to ensure your company continues to make a profit...and continues to be around for the long haul. 
           Which One Are You?
  recipe box
As I have coached people over the last 20 years (either in corporate or within my own Coaching and Consulting firm), I have noticed a definite trend.
I try not to stereotype, but most business people (and people in general), tend to all into one of two camps:
1) The first camp are those that "Talk A Good Game". 
2) The second camp are those that "Take Action".
Without reading any further, I'm certain you have already identified which camp you are in.  If you are in the "Take Action" group, congratulations - you are in the minority.  If you are unsure which group you are in, ask your spouse or close friend.  Believe me, they will know!
If, like most, you are in the "Talk A Good Game" group, it's time to make some changes.  You might have the best laid plans and the truest of intentions.  However, without action none of that matters.  You might be a person of vision and have incredible ideas.  Again, without action, none of that matters.  It's not so much what you "can" do - but whether what you do "do" that matters most.
Proverbs 14:21 has always been one of my favorite scriptures.  In this verse, Solomon says, "In all labor there is profit, but idle chatter leads only to poverty".  Wow, those are pretty strong words coming from the wisest and wealthiest man that's ever lived.  So it really comes down to making a choice - do you choose profit or do you choose poverty? 
You see, the world is full of gurus that want to sell you the latest "push a button and get rich" programs.  But the wealthiest and wisest man to ever walk this planet says it just isn't so. 
Another very similar saying from Solomon is Proverbs 15:19 which states, "The way of the lazy man is like a hedge of thorns, but the way of the upright is a highway".  Again, there is a choice to be made.  Do you choose to be tangled and bound in a hedge of thorns or would you rather have smooth sailing down the wide open highway.
Now please don't misunderstand, it is okay to work "smarter" instead of "harder" sometimes, but that is not what I'm talking about.  I'm talking about the person who is "getting ready to get ready" and starts most of their sentences with "Someday I'll..".  
So, if being a person of action has not been one of your strong suits, take heart because that is a choice and a habit that you can and must change beginning today.  The key to taking action quite simply is to "take action".  Do something every day to advance you toward your goals.  My high school football coach used to scream, "Hit someone on every play - even if it's the wrong man.".  So take action every day, even if it is not perfect action.
My friend Kevin Nations says, "Winners take imperfect action while losers are still perfecting their plans."  How about you friend, are you still perfecting your plans?
I leave with a final thought from the great philosopher Mark Twain in hopes that it will spur you on to action starting today:
"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do."
     - Mark Twain
Issue: 3
In This Issue
3 Strategies For Thriving in 2009
Which One Are You?
Vision - What Do You See?
Case Studies Needed
What Do You See? 

Isn't it interesting that two people can look at the same picture and see something totally opposite.
 The same seems to hold true in business.  Why is it that one person can look at a situation and see great opportunity while the next sees nothing but problems?
Look no further than the current economic slowdown to see this illustrated.  Some focus so much on the gloom and doom of the economy that they miss great opportunities.
It reminds me of the story of the two shoe salesman.  They were both sent to a 3rd world country to sell and market their shoes.  Upon arriving, they were shocked to find out that no one in the country wore shoes.
The first salesman called the office and announced that he was headed home as no one wore shoes. 
The second salesman called the office ecstatically and said "Send more shoes!  Everybody in the country needs shoes!"
When we focus on the obstacles in our path, our vision becomes distorted.  If we do this long enough, problems and obstacles are soon all that we will see.
Essentially, we find or see that which we look for.  If you are constantly looking for opportunity, you will find it.
Why is it that the average immigrant to America has a higher standard of living in 5 years than those born in America?
There are a number of reasons, but chief among them is the immigrants vision.  Most come from countries and circumstances where little or no opportunities are present.
When they arrive in America, they can hardly contain themselves by all of the incredible opportunities before them.
It's like looking at a rainbow.  Some will see the dark gray skies while others will zero in on the beautiful radiance of the rainbow.  Both are present at the same time - it's just a matter of which you choose to "see".
So the next time you face a challenge or obstacle in your own business, look a little deeper for the opportunity!  
Case Studies Needed!!!

We are in need of 5 individuals or small businesses that would like to be a "Featured Case Study" within Born To Win.
Only those that are serious about success need to apply.  If that sounds like you, CLICK HERE  and enter the requested information.
Someone from our office will contact you immediately.
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Mike Estes
Born To Win
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