Minimum Effective Dose: Stop doing more than you have to.

minimumeffectivedose

Warning: Applying the lessons from this post will require some self-exploration and analysis, as well as some acceptance of who you really are. If you’re not ready to do that, this may not be for you.

I’ve been fielding a lot of questions lately about how to manage time. How can you get everything done in a day? How can I effectively build a business to the levels I want with only 24 hours in a day? How can I stop burning out?

To answer this question, I’m going to bring out one of my favourite tools – an analogy! (Insert shock and awe here…)

When you visit the doctor with a specific ailment, let’s say an infection, the doctor will probably give you a prescription for antibiotics.

Now in this case, would the doctor prescribe you 6 metric tonnes of antibiotics? 4 pounds? 800 pills 3 times a day, by mouth? Probably not, because that much would likely kill you (in the first case, by crushing you like an infected insect hitting an antibiotic windshield.)

It is highly likely that the doctor will give you the smallest dose he believes will work for your infection. You’ll have a follow up appointment within two weeks to see if it is working, where he may increase or decrease the dosage as needed or change the antibiotic entirely.

In other words, the doctor will prescribe the minimum effective dose because anything more than that is simply overkill.

By this point I’m sure you can see where this is going. While your business is hardly an infection that needs to be treated, the principle still applies.

You have a goal – curing an infection or reaching a specific revenue goal.

You have a tool to meet that goal – antibiotics or selling more stuff.

You want to use as little as possible of your tool to achieve your goal, so that you’re not wasting resources and throwing your system out of whack.

So, how can you apply this to your business? By doing as little as you can get away with.

I know, I know – it sounds like I’m advocating laziness here. And in a way, I totally am – because we aren’t lazy enough in these modern days. But what I’m really trying to do is get you to cut out all of the unnecessary, the judgement, and the busy-work to get to the core of what is needed – and do away with the rest.

What would you do if you were running your business on the bare minimum? If you never had to “look busy” for anyone, you just had your goals and that was your only measure of effectiveness?

What would it look like if 60 hour weeks were no longer a badge of honour?

What would it look like if you stopped caring what work was supposed to look like, and just did as little as you could get away with?

This is your golden opportunity.

Look at your working style…

Do you work better in big, long days? Or in small, scattered chunks?

Do you prefer a rigid schedule, or to work when you’re inspired?

Do you get lost without routine, or do you get bored doing the same thing all the time?

Pay attention to how you feel, and use that to guide your working style.

Once you know how to work and when to work, you need to determine what to work on.

This comes back to your outcome – what will produce the value of your business in the lives of your clients and customers the fastest, easiest, most effective way?

Twitter is probably not it. Client sessions definitely are. Candy Crush, not. Newsletter, yes. See the pattern?

We do so much in our day to day that is just killing time, keeping busy, doing things we “should”. We literally judge ourselves into doing things that don’t serve us to meet our own unrealistic expectations.

To get started with cutting out the excess and finding the minimum effective dose, write yourself a to-do list. (There are some fantastic ones in my annual planner.) Then scratch off everything that:

A) Doesn’t feel good AND wouldn’t feel good to accomplish (you can delay or delegate almost anything that doesn’t feel good.)

B) Will not move you toward your goal in a real, meaningful way.

C) Is only on your to-do list because you “should” do it.

Then every day, following your own unique working style, scratch items off of the to-do list - without judging the items that remain at the end of the day.

That is the key to all of this, letting go of the feelings of failure or judgement when you don’t do everything you could or should have done. So what if you didn’t fold the laundry, finish your ecourse, or do 10 posts on Facebook? If the world won’t end and you’re no further from your goal, there is no sense dwelling on it.

Acknowledge and express gratitude for everything you can and do accomplish, and give yourself permission to take the minimum effective dose.

 

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Manifesting clients, customers, and cash… NOW!

makeitrainToday I’m going to share a very cool, actionable technique that you can use to grow your business. Whether you want clients, customers, or even just cash, this quick technique will work – and work quickly – to manifest what you’re looking for.

How do I know this? Because I just did it! I wanted to find 2 new clients for 2 new spots in my roster… But not just any clients, clients that I would love. I did this process, and within a week I had two absolutely amazing clients who are already making progress!

So, how do you “make it rain”?

Many people state that “the universe abhors a vacuum.” Of course we know that this isn’t an absolute, otherwise outer space would be filled with junk BUT we do know that here on our terrestrial planet, as terrestrial beings, we fill spaces.

You have an empty closet, it ends up full.

You find an empty lot, someone builds a house.

You have an empty counter, it is a constant battle to keep it from filling up with junk.

So what do you do when you want new clients, customers, or cash to appear in your business?

You create an empty space.

There are two ways to do this, and I’ve found it is most effective when you use both.

The first is to put together new client files and folders, ready and waiting for your new clients. Completely blank, of course – full of potential. By creating a space for these new clients, you are more likely to fill that space.

You may find by doing this process that you actually don’t have all of the supplies you need to serve the clients you want (as I did.) Go out and get the supplies! That way you’re fully prepared to serve the clients you intend to bring into your business, and nothing will be subconsciously sabotaging you from doing this.

This process will make the end result seem more real, tangible, and achievable.

The second way to bring new clients, customers, and cash into your business is to create a visual representation of your business AND the space you want to fill.

First figure out how many total clients, customers, or dollars you want in your business. Then using a whiteboard, chalkboard, or even a piece of paper, draw circles (or stars, hearts, squares, trapezoids or even tangential quadrilaterals) to represent this number. In the case of dollars, you may want to do this in chunks (i.e. 5 circles each representing $1,000 rather than 5,000 circles to represent $5k.)

Fill however many spaces as you can with your current clients, customers, or cash-flow – this is acknowledging your current abundance and making your goal very clear. The remaining empty spaces are there, waiting to be filled.

Now set it somewhere that you can see it every day, and go about your business. Keep your goal in the back of your mind if you wish, but don’t dwell on it or stress – it will happen! Sometimes the results have come in less than a week for myself and my clients, so don’t be afraid to be ambitious.

Go ahead, give it a try – then come back and share your results!

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“Enjoy the ride”

journey

Success.

Part timing, part preparation, part opportunity, and part luck. As human beings and entrepreneurs, we have a tendency to focus on our goals. This is after all what we’ve been taught for most of our lives – to set goals, and push forward to achieve them.

Goals are funny things, though. They are not absolutes, like the number of hours in a day, set in definite terms and scientific rules. They are fluid, ever changing and evolving, just as we are.

Many entrepreneurs set goals, and this is an important process. To get something off the ground and gain momentum, you must have some idea of where you’re headed. But many of us get stuck on our journey when things aren’t progressing the way we anticipated. We fixate on our goals, striving and pushing toward them with an almost reckless pursuit at times.

This does not serve us.

I’ve been asked quite a bit recently about the organic, unfolding nature of business. How one can set long-term goals effectively, without endlessly focusing on them and dismissing any results that fall short as “failures.” I myself have been guilty of this habit at times, and it is destructive – both to your mindset, and to your ability to actually reach your goals.

So how can you cope? How can you set long term goals, and not allow the pursuit of those goals to play a destructive role in your business?

You begin by understanding the nature of a business.

Just like goals and human beings, businesses are not absolutes. They are constantly in evolution, shifting, changing shapes and forms. This is the true nature of business, and with each new stage come new goals, opportunities, challenges, and lessons.

It may be helpful for you, on your journey, to think of your business as an oak tree.

In the beginning, you plant an acorn. You envision the tall, mighty oak towering overhead one day – this is your goal, your entire reason for starting a business.

If you were able to peer under the ground, within a few weeks you would see changes in the acorn. From a seemingly solid little nut, cracks form and a sprout emerges reaching toward the sky. This is the very early stage of your company, but take note – the acorn had to split and change for the oak to sprout. Your vision and your goal likely will as well.

Soon the sprout emerges from the ground, and begins the journey into a real tree. This is when the oak (and your business) are at their most vulnerable. Being exposed to the world, to the elements, to reality presents new challenges and opportunities. You must overcome fear to emerge into this stage and begin to take root.

The seedling grows, and over the years shapes into a small tree. It has grown stronger, no longer living in a harsh and unforgiving world it has adapted to life outside of the nut. It provides shade, beauty, and bounty as much as it can. This is your business in adolescence – when you’re gaining ground, become self-sufficient, and growth becomes more routine.

Eventually the small tree becomes a mighty oak, hundreds or thousands of years old. It has finally achieved what you intended, but it will not stop growing. The mighty oak will continue to grow until it dies, much as your business will have to continue to grow once you’ve reached your goal.

It is easy to get impatient with an oak tree.

You planted the acorn, why can’t you just have the 600 year old oak right now?!?! But ask yourself – if the acorn were to turn into a mighty oak today, what would you be missing out on?

The joy of seeing it first sprout, the shade of a young oak, the journey it took from nut to tree that hardened it into something capable of sustaining itself at those heights. Indeed there is much beauty in the growth of an oak tree, just as there is beauty in the growth of your business.

You can’t water an acorn like an oak.

If you get too caught up on your ultimate goals, it can be destructive. We have already established this. But why? Why is it such a bad thing to get fixated on where you’re going, rather than where you are?

Because you are where you are, not where you are going.

If you poured gallons of water on an acorn, it is very likely the nut itself would rot. If you watered a mighty oak with a few tablespoons of water, it would likely die. You have to nurture your business for where it is, not where it is going or where it has been.

This is why an obsessive fixation on the ultimate goal is unhealthy. We push too hard, we grow too fast, and not only do we miss the beauty of our young business but we sabotage our own success.

The secret to setting goals is in releasing them.

You have to be okay with what your business is today, and nurture it for what it is today. If you’re brand new, stop focusing on the money you have to make by X date and start enjoying the birthing of your business. If you only have a few clients, enjoy the free time to work on creative pursuits in your company. If you’re maturing and ready to hire staff, enjoy the interview process without fixating on training or HR policies. If you’re thinking of selling your company, enjoy taking stock of what you’ve accomplished and finding the right person to take it over.

Stop and smell the roses, and remember – success is a journey, not a destination.

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On shortcuts and quick bucks.

This post is going to be short and sweet, but something you need to hear.

There are no shortcuts.

There is no “fast and easy” way to get a new client – you’ve got to go out, talk to people, and close a deal.

There are no “quick” ways to make a $buck. You have to offer something of value and put it out there in the biggest way possible.

We’re always looking for shortcuts. “How can I write this blog post faster?” or “How can I close a new client without having to pickup the phone?” or “How can I start my business today?”

Effort, passion, determination, and yes – time. They’re all required.

There are no shortcuts.

So go out, put in the effort, use the passion, be determined, and be patient. The results will come.

- C

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How to Get Anyone to do Anything for YOU

powerposition

This post is all about negotiation and persuasion. Of course, one blog post isn’t going to teach you everything you need to know about these very important business topics… It simply isn’t possible. But it will teach you the single most important thing you need to know in order to be persuasive and negotiate to your advantage.

The very first thing I want you to understand is that this technique is not slimy. I am staunchly against persuading people to do things that they don’t want to do, or that won’t benefit them. This is a way you can get your heart aligned with your goal, just as much as it is a way for you to persuade and negotiate with power.

I also want you to understand that this is not just for “sales” conversations. Persuasion and negotiation are present when you’re looking to create guest posts on blogs, get media coverage, negotiate promotions, get sponsorships, and even buying products and services like advertising. Essentially, any time you are looking to create an exchange of value – you get value, they get value – persuasion and negotiation are necessary.

Now that we have those “disclaimers” out of the way, let’s get to the heart of the matter. What is the single most important thing you need to know to negotiate or persuade in your favour?

How to gain the “Power Position.”

And what exactly is the “Power Position”? That is the position at the negotiating table that holds more (or most) of the power.

Let’s explain with an example.

Imagine you’re in the market to buy or lease a new house – a situation most of you can probably relate to. You scan the ads, and there are only a few properties available that fit your needs. Real estate experts are calling it a “sellers market” because of low inventory and high demand. (Okay, so we’re also pretending that it is 2007…)

You go to view one house in particular, and you fall absolutely in love with it. It is everything you need, everything you want, and then some! You cannot see yourself living without this house.

Now, it already has other offers… So you’re going to have to increase your offer and come in with no subjects/clauses in your contract if you are even going to have a chance. You offer $20k over asking price, make sure your financing is good to go, waive the inspection, and even write a personal letter to the sellers hoping to persuade them to let you buy the house.

Who holds more of the power in that situation?

Is it you, who is competing against other buyers for a chance to move in? Is it your realtor, the go-between-negotiator who is likely profiting like a crazy person in this market? Is it even the other realtor, who can persuade the owners to take one deal over another?

No, no, and no. The sellers are in the Power Position in this case. They have something that is in high demand, and can pretty much dictate the circumstances of their sale. They don’t have to do much negotiating or persuasion at all, they just have to let their house (their offer) do the work and then choose from the available options.

This is the position you need to achieve to be a powerful negotiator and persuade people.

You have to have something that your target customer or partner really, really wants. Something that they would be absolutely stupid to pass up on.

There are 6 primary ways of doing this:

1. Reciprocity

You’ve probably seen this at work in your own life. Have you ever received a favour from someone, something as simple as having the door held open for you, and felt obligated to do something in return – like saying “thank you?” That was reciprocity at work. You want to do something of value for the person or company you wish to persuade, out of the goodness of your heart and a genuine desire for connection. This is incredibly powerful, so it must be used consciously and with integrity.

2. Scarcity

You see this online all the time. Only X number of copies, only for the first X customers, etc. If you can apply scarcity to your offer in some way it will help you in your persuasion process. Exclusivity is tied to scarcity – if you are only willing to do X for a specific person and no one else, it will motivate them to take you up on the deal. Again, be sure to use this consciously and with integrity – do not state an offer as exclusive or scarce, then continue selling and offering it to everyone.

3. Authority

Do you hold certifications or degrees? Have you received awards? Done something to position you as an authority figure? Flaunt it! Not “in your face” like a braggart, but subtle reminders. Initials after your name, for example. Or dropping a relevant sound byte into your conversation, such as “You know, when I spoke last year at SXSW with so-and-so on this very topic, we got asked about X a lot. I teach my clients that … ” or “When I was in the process of getting my PhD, one of my biggest struggles was X – just like you. I overcame it by … ”

4. Consistency

This one is easy, but often overlooked. When you say you’re going to do something, do it. Like my newsletter – every single Wednesday, rain or shine, feeling like garbage or sitting on the beach with a Mai-Tai. It is consistent, reliable, and anticipated. You know it is coming, and you know you can count on it. Perhaps, without even realizing, you feel the same way about me. Consistency – doing what you say, following through, acting with integrity – is another way of establishing connection. It says, “You can count on me to do what I say. You can trust me.” I highly recommend incorporating consistency in your marketing ASAP.

5. Liking

Did you ever have a crush in gradeschool? Of course, you were 8 – you had no idea what “love” was, but you would have sworn that was it. You would have done anything to get that person’s attention. In fact, looking back, you can see that thing you did to make him/her notice you and how silly that was… That is the power of genuine liking. You’ll do nice things for someone you like, you’ll do almost anything to get their attention if you really like them, and you’ll do favours for them without a second thought.

This one should not be used on its own in most situations – it is best used with reciprocity and scarcity as well. But building relationships with people so that you genuinely like them and they genuinely like you can get you better deals on things you need to buy, it can be the final nudge to bring in a new client or customer, and it can even get you barter arrangements or freebies when you’re in need.

6. Consensus

“9 out of 10 experts agree, X is the solution.” Consensus is a more refined and powerful form of social proof – using the power of a person’s peers to help them understand the value of something. It can be used blatantly, as the example above used by everything from toothpastes to sub-sandwich companies, or in more subtle ways.

For example, when negotiating with a potential client, instead of just telling them about your guarantee (if you offer one) – tell them how many people have taken you up on it. Chances are, if you’re operating with integrity, very few if any people have ever asked for a refund on your services. This is a consensus. People who have purchased from you in the past agree that your services have value.

Those 6 persuasive keys will help you to gain power at the negotiating table.

Of course, it also helps to have a powerful offer. Something that people genuinely want and need. If you’re guest posting, look for topics that the target blog and their audience will find hugely valuable. If you’re looking to get sponsorship, figure out what they really want.

Craft an offer that is compelling enough that they would be absolutely stupid to pass on it, then weave those 6 keys into your message. Persuasion is a skill, and it can be learned – you’ll be amazed at your results once you apply this knowledge!

Have you used any of these 6 keys in the past? Share your results in the comments!

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Get focused now!

getfocus

See that image above? That’s a snippet from “Where’s Waldo?” – the kitchy cartoon that causes you to spend minutes, hours, days or weeks hovering over a single image looking for a dude in glasses with a red and white striped shirt.

I used to play “Where’s Waldo?” when I was a kid. Back then, it was kind of fun. I mean, Waldo was always hiding there somewhere – I just had to find him. And he was always doing something interesting, like going to the beach or hanging out at the amusement park. A good way to spend time on a rainy day.

Now that I’m all grown up (though some people would debate that point…) Waldo just isn’t as much fun. Sure, if I had the time I’d love to sit down and show it to my kids. I’m sure they would be able to find him pretty quickly! But now, Waldo has become a metaphor for life in the modern world.

There is so much going on, so much to see and do and be, that the one specific thing you’re looking for can be rather hard to find.

In the past few days, I’ve had the great privilege of speaking with a few entrepreneurs who are struggling, like I did as a little Waldo-loving kid, to find their focus.

They feel stuck, like they can’t move forward without finding that missing piece.

They feel frustrated, because they can’t find what they’re looking for.

They feel overwhelmed with the amount of information to take in along the way.

In short, they’re discouraged. They need guidance. They need help. They need focus and clarity so that they can take action and move forward.

They need to find Waldo.

If you’re feeling stuck, overwhelmed, frustrated and discouraged, there is hope. This little exercise will help you move past whatever it is that is keeping you stuck, and get you into action!

5-Minute Focus

Follow along on a sheet of paper. This might be a bit confronting, and the first few times it may take you a bit more than 5 minutes. This takes some self-awareness to achieve, so you may have to work toward it. Have faith though, you will get there!

Step 1: Write Down Your Ultimate Goal

When you don’t know what to do, and you’re finding it hard to focus (perhaps procrastinating?), you need to pinpoint what you’re trying to achieve.

What is your ultimate goal?

What will your current task help you to achieve?

Write down your goal.

It can be hard sometimes to distinguish between where you’re stuck and the true goal – for example, writing your copy vs. launching your website. What you really want to do is launch your website so you can get customers, your web copy has you stuck.

There will be a dependant relationship between your goal and where you’re stuck. You will feel you have to complete X to achieve Y. “Y” is your ultimate goal.

Example: My ultimate goal is to launch my website.

Step 2: Identify the Distractions

What are you doing instead of what you want to accomplish? This could be anything from taking phone calls from your mother in the middle of the day, to organizing your desk, or yes – even spending too much time on your copy.

Write down everything you’ve done today, this week, and even this month instead of accomplishing your goal. Include anything you can’t seem to finish, even if you believe it will help you move toward your goal. Write down everything you can think of.

Example: My distractions are writing and perfecting my copy, redoing my graphics, researching my family tree, folding laundry, fixing the blinds and going to the grocery store.

Step 3: Acknowledge Them

The first time you go through this process, you might start to feel bad on step 2. You might even judge yourself. I myself used to think, “Why can I accomplish all of this other stuff but I can’t seem to finish X?”

I know from experience, that isn’t going to help. Everyone has a life, and we all have things that must get done. We all have other things we want to do. That is not only okay, but it is necessary! Your business would die if you couldn’t have a life outside of it.

Step 3 is all about acknowledging what had to get done, what you wanted to do, and what were the true distractions. The key to doing so without judgement is simple – gratitude.

Example: I acknowledge that I had to write my copy, fold the laundry, and go to the grocery store. I am grateful that I had the time and space to complete these important tasks. I acknowledge that I distracted myself by perfecting my copy, redoing my graphics, researching my family tree, and fixing the blinds. I am grateful for these activities, as they will help me to move forward.

Step 4: Look for the Resistance

Now that you know what you’ve been doing to distract yourself, you get to look for “why”. Why are you distracting yourself in the first place? What haven’t you addressed? Where are you experiencing resistance?

Go back to your initial goal, and imagine it is happening right now – is there something you are afraid of? Is there something in your imaginary scenario that is going wrong? Is there something missing?

Probably 99% of the time, lack of confidence is the core of the resistance. You’re not confident enough in your abilities, your methods, your choices, or some other aspect of yourself or what you’re doing to be able to move forward without fear.

Where are you lacking confidence? What are you afraid of?

Example: I distracted myself with those activities because I am afraid that my website will suck.

Step 5: Acknowledge, Release, and Move On

Now that you understand the true reason behind your lack of focus, which is a lack of confidence in one particular area, you need to practice gratitude. Be grateful that you have fear. If you didn’t care whether or not your website sucked, it probably would.

Then release the resistance. Make a commitment to use that fear in constructive ways (to drive you to achieve your goal), and understand that confidence will only come from putting it out there and watching it work.

Finally, commit to moving forward.

Example: I am grateful for my fear about the website. By using that fear in a constructive way, I will make this website better. I understand that confidence will only come from achieving my goal. I commit to moving forward and completing the website by 06/06/2014.

That’s it.

The key to this exercise is repetition. Yes, the first time you do it you will be able to release some resistance and make progress – but if this is a big, recurring issue for you, chances are you will get stuck again.

Every time you feel stuck, unable to move forward and make progress, complete this simple 5-minute exercise. It is almost magical the way this process can make things happen.

Have you tried it? Share your results in the comments!

- Cheryl

P.S. If energetic alignment is important to you, I highly recommend this exercise. Alignment with your goals through the acknowledgement and releasing of resistance is where the real magic of manifestation happens!

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Minimum Viable Products: The Truth

mvp

You’ve probably heard me talk about this before.

Minimum viable products are the lifeblood of a startup or critical growth stage business. Getting something out the door to serve your customers as quickly as possible is how you grow.

It is how you test something, how you research, how you determine if your product really will sell.

But we need to make a distinction, and it is an important one.

Minimum + viable is a balance, not an excuse.

Though it is far more important to launch, test, track, tweak, and sell than it is to run focus groups, conduct expensive year-long surveys and write 40 page product development plans, there is still thought and effort required to reach MVP.

Minimum means the least amount of product development and back-end work you can do before releasing your creation into the hands of your customers. It means avoiding unnecessary features that will take longer to implement and add little real value. It means cutting out the non-essentials.

Viable is the qualifier for minimum.

Just as a car could sell without cupholders but not without an engine, your product must strip away the unnecessary luxuries without compromising the core value.

An example of this would be projectRADIANT, our latest product release. It was supposed to launch yesterday, and we were unable to make that happen. Why?

Because we didn’t have a minimum viable product – yet.

The entire value proposition of projectRADIANT is to provide useful, actionable case studies, worksheets, and other tools to learn marketing strategies from companies who have used them successfully.

The core value comes from an assessment of what these successful companies have done, and the breakdown of that assessment into actionable steps.

Our first case study will be courtesy of an amazing company in the SaaS space. They grew to over $500k in annual revenue in just two years, almost exclusively through a blog. The actionable breakdown of what they did will have incredible value to entrepreneurs who want to implement that strategy.

And the founders have graciously agreed to answer our questions and provide us with everything we need to make this case study happen – but they can’t have their interview responses back to us until the end of this week.

Sure, we had the forum. We had the members area. We had coupon codes and payment processing in place. We could have put together a quick case study of some other company, some other technique, and worked around the clock to get it ready. We could have launched yesterday and probably even made a few sales.

But it wouldn’t have been our Minimum Viable Product.

The core value of this project is the results entrepreneurs and executives can achieve by following the steps in each lesson. Without the right company, the right case study to follow, those results will be limited. The value of projectRADIANT would be limited.

We could have added cupholders. We could have put on a spoiler. We could have painted it in cool colours and added all kinds of bells and whistles.

But without the engine – the actionable lessons from successful companies – it wouldn’t have had much value or substance.

People often mistake Minimum Viable Products for Minimum Value Products.

It is common for people to assume that “just ship something” and “trim the excess” means to cut corners on the core value, and offer as little as you can get away with. And that couldn’t be further from the truth.

MVP means offer as much as you can get away with – without adding more than your customers need.

MVP means make it valuable, make it simple, make it clean and easy to implement.

MVP means 500 words to make your point instead of 5000, 5 core features instead of 50, it means the engine and the wheels and the seats and the steering wheel.

It means understanding what your customer really wants, and delivering nothing but that.

It required brutal honesty and self assessment.

“Is this something that my customers really want, or is it just something I want to create?”

“Is my tweaking of this product based on customer feedback, or my own insecurity?”

“Is the product not ready, or am I just afraid to launch?”

Your answers to those questions will tell you if it is time to launch, or time to get back to work.

For us, today we’re back to work building out the next few case studies and lining up more companies to analyze. We’re gaining more support for pR so that it can launch with a big bang. We’re keeping our eyes focused on what we know our MVP is, and despite the delay, not adding unnecessary features.

We’re also doing it very efficiently, using a concept popularized by Tim Ferris called “Minimum Effective Dose.” I’ll be sharing that next week.

Do you have a project you have been holding back on?

A book that isn’t quite ready, a program or service that you have yet to launch, something you’re perfecting to the point of procrastination? Commit publicly to finding your MVP – and launching it. I would love to hear what you’re going to ship – tell me in the comments!

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5 Blogs to Inspire You To Step Up

biggergame

I’ve been writing a lot lately about inspiration, playing a bigger game, stepping up and changing the world even when you’re afraid. I’m doing this, right now – stepping up and doing a soft-launch of projectRADIANT next week, breaking down what successful companies are doing and laying out their game plans for others to implement.

There are some big, big companies coming down the pipeline with their interviews – big, scary, OMG I have to actually talk to that awesome CEO companies – and it is absolutely magical.

I know what happens when you step up and play a bigger game, and many of you are starting to learn. But in celebration of the upcoming release of pR, I thought it would be appropriate to hear the opinions of other highly successful people on the whole “step up and do something big” philosophy.

5 Blogs to Inspire You To Step Up

1. Kevin Colleran’s “Go Big or Go Home” on The Wall Street Journal

Kevin’s key points: true entrepreneurs do something that is a little bit crazy, that changes the world, they know why they’re the right person for the job, they time things right, fail fast, and pivot even faster. It is well worth a read.

2. Seth Godin’s “Thinking Bigger

Of course Seth Godin doesn’t really need an introduction, but if you haven’t read this piece on his blog yet, you should. There is only one central thought here: “Ask bigger questions.” That is what takes a business from “idea” to “remarkable.” Check it out.

3. Mike Michalowicz’s “Don’t Overthink It”

It is no secret that I’m a huge fan of Mike and his ideas, and this is one of my favourites. Simple, to the point, and with a fantastic and relatable example, Mike tells you to stop living in your head and swing for the fences (or the woods.) This 3 minute read could change your whole year.

4. Dave Navarro’s “7 Steps to Playing a Bigger Game”

This is less “blog”, more “opt-in page” (and no, I’m not an affiliate.) But if there were ever a sales letter or opt-in page worth reading, this is it. Dave actually lays out what he believes the 7 steps to stepping up, including his thoughts on reducing the number of steps it takes to achieve your goals which is one of the best ways you can hack your own psychology to help you achieve greatness. It’s a long read, but well worth it.

5. KissMetrics “Lessons from Richard Branson”

I love Sir Branson. He is an amazing example of what you can do if you’re willing to take a stand for a product or service you believe that people deserve – and yes, that is really how he thinks. His Five Tips for Success about half way through will help you see why he has been so successful (especially if you implement #5.) Just go and read it, you know you want to!

So that’s it.

Those are the 5 posts you should read today if you want to step up and play bigger. What blogs or articles have you found inspiring on your path? Share in the comments!

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On Courage and The Pain of Playing Small

You must make a choice to take a chance or nothing will ever change.

“You miss 100% of the shots you never take.”

– Wayne Gretzky

What is it you really want?

Not just what you think you can have, but if there were no more obstacles, no more barriers, nothing stopping you – what would you shoot for? What do you really, really want?

How much money would you have?

How big would your company be?

How much (or how little) would you work?

What kind of impact would you make in the world?

What would you do for your family?

What would you do for yourself?

Push beyond your current reality.

Don’t think of your limitations, ignore your limiting beliefs (you can’t have X without sacrificing Y, for example), and create a picture of exactly what your ideal life would be like. Stretch it – make it even bigger. Then bigger. Make your vision for yourself and your business so big that you hardly believe you could ever have it.

Think to yourself what that would give you. If this ideal life were magically dropped in your lap right now, how would you feel? What would you do? Who would you be?

Pretty amazing, right? The way it would feel to live your ideal life is pretty incredible.

Now ask yourself…

What is stopping you?

Your logical brain (coming from your limiting beliefs) will likely have a few answers for you. You may think…

“I don’t have enough money.”

“I’m not good enough.”

“My parents never taught me how.”

“I don’t have the right connections.”

“I’m just a mom/dad/coach/startup/kid/senior/whatever.”

Go ahead and listen to those thoughts for a minute. Take them in. How does it feel to think that way? How does it feel to focus your income goals on “what you need to survive”? How does it feel to think of yourself as “just an” anything?

That is the pain of playing small. And I’ll give you a hint – you aren’t meant to play that small. If you were, it wouldn’t be painful to think that way. It would be natural to think of yourself as insignificant and unimportant, and you would be happy and embrace it.

Feel the weight of all of those limitations, and then ask yourself…

What would it be like if all of those limitations disappeared?

Really and truly – if you had enough money (or didn’t need it), if you were good enough (or didn’t need to be), if everything that was stopping you just went away… How would you feel? What would you do?

Here’s the big secret: did you know that you have the power to make those limitations disappear?

You do – in a split second, if you wanted to.

If you want to move past all of your limitations and embrace your ideal life, you only have to have one thing:

Courage.

The courage to push through every “no” and keep going until you get a “yes”. The courage to stand up and ask for support from big people, big names, and claim your big impact. The courage to earn a lot of money without having to work yourself to death (yes, most of us have limiting beliefs around “working hard=making money”).

The courage to get up every morning and keep working toward your ideal life no matter what.

So – do you want it? Do you want the courage to stand up and claim what you really want in your life and your business? Do you want to play that big game, and achieve everything you have ever dreamed of and more?

Then fake it.

Not in a dishonest, pretend you’re the king of the world kind of way. Act as if you have the courage to do it now. Act as if nothing is stopping you, as if you’re willing to push past any obstacle and not let anything get you down.

Act as if you have the courage to reach for your dreams today.

Because if you’re playing small, if you’re struggling to make ends meet or to get that next sale or to have any kind of impact at all, it isn’t going to get better. Doing the same thing over and over again will not get you different results.

If you stay on your current course, the worst thing that can happen is X. If you make a choice to take a chance, the worst thing that can happen – it is still X. Your failure will not be any more catastrophic than if you hadn’t stuck your neck out at all, but your success has the potential to be that much bigger.

Fake the courage until you have it, because “you miss 100% of the shots you  never take.”

So share in the comments below – what shots are you going to take today?

 

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The Biggest Mistake You’re Making in Your Business… (and how to stop making it today.)

jumpingoffbridge

“I don’t want to be too… ‘corporate’.”

I probably hear that 4-5 times a week. There is this negative association with corporations, as though doing anything that they do makes you somehow less noble, less helpful, almost evil. Like to be fully corporate, you would have to run your business with a board of advisers that meet in a shadowy back alley – outside the fringes of the law.

I’ve heard that a bit more than usual this week, and it was my call to say this to you:

Stop saying that.

Do you know why corporate marketing looks different from small business marketing? Is it because they’re evil, or manipulative, or distant and uncaring?

No, no, and no.

It looks different because it is. Corporations are marketing on a massive scale. They’re building brand associations, they’re creating a platform, they’re reaching hundreds of thousands, millions, and even billions of potential customers with their marketing.

They’re partnering with big name brands, getting major media attention every time they use the washroom or hire a new janitor, and just generally dominating their market.

Corporate marketing can feel impersonal because it can’t be one-on-one to hundreds of millions of people. How many personal emails or phone calls have you received from someone at Coca-Cola or Pepsi to get you to buy their products? That isn’t because they don’t care about their mission or their customers, it is simply that they’ve found more effective ways to reach you.

Many of you are probably saying “but I don’t want to be as big as Coke or Pepsi, so this doesn’t apply to me.” But, my friend, it absolutely does – and I know it does because I cause breakthroughs around this very challenge every week. For people just like you. (This is where you lean in and read intently…)

Being “corporate” isn’t what you’re afraid of.

In fact, being “corporate” just represents what you’re really afraid of. Something that scares the sh!t out of many of you, really.

Yes, there are some corporations that hurt people – no denying it. There are also people that hurt people, and with the negative focus of modern media, it is getting harder and harder to avoid hearing about them.

Microsoft has done some semi-evil things over the years (anti-trust lawsuit, anyone?) But did you know that they provide good paying jobs to over 100,000 people worldwide? That the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is working to solve world hunger with grants that also create dozens of jobs in developing countries?

But I forgot – you don’t want to be “corporate.” Why is that? Well, I think…

You’re avoiding playing a bigger game.

Because calling Sally over at Sally’s Health Spa to partner on a presentation to 10 of her best customers is easier than calling up Centrum and partnering with them to present your offerings to 10M people worldwide, right?

Because calling the local newspaper editor to share your story is easier than calling a journalist at People Magazine or TIME or The Wall Street Journal, right?

Because sitting there selling your own time and knowledge is easier than creating a product that can be replicated with or without you, right?

When you *are* the business, either you’re there and making money… Or you’re not there, and not making money. It is easier to do that than to scale, because your business getting bigger means you need to work a lot more – right?

Because staying small is easier than getting big, right?!?

But is it really?

A phone call to Sally and Centrum will take the same amount of time, and Sally is less familiar with promotional partnerships than Centrum is… She’ll probably take more convincing.

A call to the local newspaper editor won’t likely get you far, unless you’re in the local “clique” of important people… And because he is the only editor, it will probably take you weeks to chase him down. A quick email pitch to the editor at WSJ could be done in 5 minutes.

Selling your time and knowledge is easier at the beginning, when you don’t have a product to sell… But it is impossible to scale, and you end up owning your own job if you don’t evolve beyond that. “Well, if I want to make another $5k this year, I could work another 15 hours a week…” *shudder*

When you own a business and you grow enough to put someone else in charge, you sit around and help steer the vision of the company when you have time… All while getting a nice income from your creation.

Staying small isn’t easier than getting big.

Really, it isn’t. There are hundreds of thousands of companies out there trying to stay small. There are hundreds of companies calling Sally and John the Editor, hundreds of thousands selling their own time and knowledge.

The playing field opens up for the few who step up and play a bigger game. There’s just less competition the closer you get to the top.

So what are you really afraid of? Is it being corporate? Is it playing a bigger game? Is it working too many hours? Is it solving world hunger and creating 100k jobs?

No.

You’re afraid that you’re not good enough.

Who are you to call up Centrum, or WSJ? Who are you to create a product that sells millions of units per month, or to hire someone else to run your company? Who are you to build a company that helps millions, employs hundreds of thousands, generates billions in revenue, and doing it all while you’re enjoying your life?

Here is what I want you to understand: You don’t have to be good enough.

I mean, you already are, but you don’t have to be the best to have a huge impact and enjoy your life. You don’t have to create something amazing from scratch, or be the biggest innovator. Facebook is a publicly traded corporation worth billions, and they were a MySpace copycat. Apple is the same way, and they pay royalties on upwards of 100 patents for every single iPhone they sell.

You don’t need to be the best to have a huge impact, to change the world, to become a millionaire or a billionaire. In fact, to play a bigger game, you only need these:

brass-balls

They’re big, they’re brass, and they are the only difference between Bill Gates and that dude down the street who builds PCs in his basement. Mr. Gates had the “equipment” to walk into IBM’s office and strike a deal to put his operating system (one that he didn’t even create, he basically swiped it from Xerox) on every single PC they built, and pay him for it. That is what made Microsoft what it is today.

Now ask yourself, and be honest:

Do you want to help lots of people?

Do you want to be financially free?

Do you want to enjoy your life?

Do you want people to admire you for your accomplishments and your contribution to this world?

Then stop playing small.

You don’t have to sacrifice yourself and your priorities, you don’t have to be something you’re not, you don’t have to work like a dog or lie, cheat, and steal. You  just have to have the courage to step up, to put yourself out there, to align with people who are bigger than you are today, and to keep pushing until you make it.

Here is your challenge:

Do one thing, every day, that takes courage.

It could be that call to a big name magazine, or a partnership proposal to a Fortune 500 Company, or pitching a guest blog post to The Huffington Post, or sending one of your products to an A-List celebrity asking for their support.

Do one thing every day that pushes you into a bigger  game.

Even if you decide to stay small anyway, being small is a lot more fun when you’ve got big support.

- Cheryl

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