Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Top Ten Ways People Get in Their Own Way

Failing Forward: Turning Mistakes into Stepping Stones for Success

In Chapter 13 of John Maxwell's Failing Forward: Turning Mistakes into Stepping Stones for Success he discusses "Avoiding the Top Ten Reasons People Fail".  Here are some fabulous quotes and excerpts from this chapter.

"I think that usually things go well or not so well for people based on their actions.  I believe that for the most part you create your own luck by working hard, practicing self-discipline, remaining persistent, and making personal growth a daily priority.  Add to that the blessings of a loving God, and you don't need to think about luck."
"Most of the time the trouble we face is the result of our negative actions.  It's our own fault."

The Top Ten Ways People Get in Their Own Way

1.  Poor People Skills
"A while back the Wall Street Journal printed an article on the reasons that executives fail.  At the top of the list was a person's inability to effectively relate to others."
"Most careers involve other people.  You can have great academic intelligence and still lack social intelligence-the ability to be a good listener, to be sensitive towards others, to give and take criticism well. -Carole Hyatt and Linda Gottlieb"
"Making people skills a strength will take you farther than any other skill you develop."

2. A Negative Attitude
"If your circumstances constantly get you down, then maybe it's time for a change--not in your situation, but in your attitude.  If you can learn to make the best of any situation, you can remove a formidable obstacle that stands between you and your dreams."

3.  A Bad Fit
"Sometimes a case of mismatched abilities, interests, personality, or values can be a major contributor to chronic failure."

4.  Lack of Focus
"Anybody can make an honest mistake when things are hectic.  But people lacking focus have trouble not because they're too busy, but because their priorities are out of whack.  And that wastes their time and resources.  If you go from task to task to task without making progress, or you can't seem to reach a goal no matter how much effort you give it, examine your focus.  No one can move forward without it."

5.  A Weak Commitment
"Johann Wolfgang von Goethe addressed the importance of commitment: 'Until one is committed, there is hesitance, the chance to draw back, and always ineffectiveness... The moment one definitely commits oneself... a whole stream of events issue from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would come his way."
"Commitment makes you capable of failing forward until you reach your goals."

6.  An Unwillingness to Change
"You don't have to love change to be successful, but you need to be willing to accept it.  Change is a catalyst for personal growth.  It gets you out of a rut, it gives you a fresh start, and it affords you an opportunity to reevaluate your direction.  If you resist change, you're really resisting success.  Learn flexibility, or learn to like living with your failures."

7.  A Shortcut Mind-Set
"Cutting corners is really a sign of impatience and poor self-discipline."
"If you continually give in to your moods or impulses, then you need to change your approach to doing things.  The best method is to set standards for yourself that require accountability.  Suffering a consequence for not following through helps you to stay on track.  Once you have your new standards in place, work according to them, not your moods."
"Truly successful people have learned to do what does not come naturally.  Real success lies in experiencing fear or aversion and acting in spite of it. -Joseph Mancusi"

8.  Relying on Talent Alone
"Adding a strong work ethic to talent is like pouring gasoline on a fire.  It's explosive!"
"The greater your talent, the more likely you are to lean heavily on it and skip the hard day-to-day work of improving it."

9.  A Response to Poor Information
"Successful executives have in common the ability to make weighty decisions based on limited amounts of information.  But they also have in common the ability to gather reliable information to use as they evaluate issues."

10.  No Goals
"A goal is nothing more than a dream with a time limit. - Joe L. Griffith"
"Many people don't have goals because they haven't allowed themselves to dream.  As a result, they don't possess a desire."

"Work on the weakness that weakens you, and there's no telling how far you will go."

Wow!  Powerful stuff!  They should use this book for freshmen college students.  I've shared several ideas and quotes from this book.  If you've missed them click on the post titles below:

The Fear Cycle
Quotes From Failing Forward
Ch 9: Get Over Yourself--Everyone Else Has

My discussions, the quotes, and excerpts are merely glimpses into this amazing book.  You must read it yourself.  It isn't just about business, it will improve all aspects of your life!


Friday, April 22, 2011

More Sweet Deals at Toys R Us

Many people have shared how much they loved the information I posted on Monday in Sweet Deals.  In addition to the weekly ad, Toys R Us is running a two day sale today and tomorrow.  Here are two more super sweet deals.

Play-Doh toys are Buy One, Get One Free.
 Play-Doh 24 Pack of Colors

I purchased 2- 24 tub packs
Reg. Price:  $16.99 x 2= $33.98
The Deal:  $33.98 -$16.99 (BOGO) -$3 coupon - a 2nd $3 coupon= $10.99 for both!
Coupons can be printed from the playsaver.com website.

Playskool Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head Toys are 50% off.
Playskool Mr. Potato Head

Reg. Price:  $7.99 - $4 for sale -$2 coupon = $1.99 !!!!
Coupons can be printed from the playsaver.com website.

View the entire 2 Day Toys R Us ad by clicking here.
There are many great offers.

View the sweet deals I posted on Monday from the week long ad:  Sweet Deals

Do you love good deals?  Here is another money saving post you may like: Amazon Mom.

Happy Shopping!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Sweet Deals

Do you get a rush when you score an incredible deal?  I must admit I do.  Whether you totally understand or just think I'm plain weird, you are going to love these deals. 

Toys R Us is running some fantastic sales on toys!  Now is the time to stock up for your children, grandchildren, your friends' kids, birthday parties, etc... 

This week at Toys R Us, you'll find these great deals:

VTech Toys Buy One, Get One Free.  PLUS, there was a coupon in the Sunday paper for $5 off a VTech toy priced $19.99 or higher.  I found additional coupons online at coupons.com, VTech's Site, and smartsource.com.  You are permitted one coupon per item.  Some websites have a print limit on the coupons so you can use more than one site if you reach your limit.  Check out my savings:

Toy #1   $24.99 -$5 off coupon= $19.99
Toy #2   $24.99 -$24.99 for BOGO -$5 off coupon = -$5
Toy #3   $20.99 -$5 off coupon= $15.99
Toy #4   $20.99 -$20.99 for BOGO -$5 off coupon = -$5

Total spent on 4 toys: $25.98.  Basically, I bought one and got 3 FREE! 

Fisher Price toys are also Buy One, Get One free but pay attention to the details.  You must Buy One priced $24.99 or higher and then get one free under $24.99.  There are occasionally coupons online for select Fisher Price toys but I haven't seen any recently.

I also bought some fun games utilizing both the store sales and coupons I found online at the same two sites.

Gator Golf Elefun 

Reg. price each $19.99,  Sale Price $11.99 -$3 coupon= $8.99 (More than 50% OFF)
The same deal applies for CuponK, Bop It and Bop It Bounce.

 Hasbro Operation  Connect 4

Reg. price each $16.99-18.99,  Sale Price $8.99 -$3 coupon= $5.99 (More than 60% OFF)

Candyland  Chutes and Ladders

Reg. price each $9.99,  Sale Price $4.99 -$2 coupon= $2.99 (Almost 75% OFF)
The coupon for these games came from playsaver.com

Last week Little Tykes toys were Buy One, Get One free and I also used a $5 off coupon I found online.  Watch the Sunday paper for next weeks ad.  I'm hoping Toys R Us will have more great deals and I'll have my birthday and Christmas shopping done before Summer even starts!  You can also register to receive emails from Toys R Us.  They frequently run one or two day deals where you can score additional savings. 

For example, Melissa and Doug toys are currently Buy 2, Get 1 Free.  A few months ago during this same sale, they also ran the toys at 25% off on a Thursday 1 Day Deal.  So, you can receive both specials at the same time!

There are plenty of other great deals.  Click the link below to view this week's ad.

This topic veers a little bit from my normal business posts but money savvy topics apply to most families.  Families are why we do what we do!  Couldn't resist sharing this!


Monday, April 11, 2011

Mobile Credit Card Processing

Two weeks ago, my post Simple & Inexpensive Credit Card Processing peaked a lot of people's interest.  It is currently the most popular post on my blog.  I came across the site below which has a fabulous chart of the top ten mobile credit card processing services.  You can see all 10 on the page with a comparison of all the important elements.  Some of you may like to research your products well and will find this useful.  I did mention in my previous post that people I know personally are using the Square and are very satisfied. 



Thursday, April 7, 2011

Keeping It Personal

Online shopping, emails, Facebook....  we've got the world at our finger tips.  Would you consider quality time with your best friend a quick instant message online or sharing a cup of coffee at Starbucks?  Face-time is so much more meaningful and is far more memorable.  This is critical for establishing business relationships too.  Here are some ways to make your business interactions more personal.

  • Mail physical, preferably handwritten, communications- thank yous, reminders
  • Use paper invitations for events instead of just Evites
  • Send birthday and holiday cards
  • Make phone calls instead of sending emails
  • Deliver items in person
  • Follow up phone calls with customers or clients after purchases or services
  • Get to know your customers personally
  • Communicate with your downline regularly (direct sales)
  • Schedule one-on-one appointments with new contacts

While the ease of the internet can be a great business aid, it can never fully replace the value of face time.  Relationships will not flourish without a personal connection.

What else do you do to keep it personal?  Leave a comment to share your idea.


Monday, April 4, 2011

Collecting Leads at Vendor Events

For most businesses the single most important aspect of vendor events is to obtain leads or new business contacts.  Selling product, if it applies to your business, is money for the moment- a one-time sale.  New leads can open up many new business relationships creating multiple potential opportunities.

In my last post about vendor events (Preparing for Vendor Events), I created a list of materials you should bring.  Among the list, was a variety of literature to offer people who stop by your booth.  Providing a catalog, flier, or business card helps to familiarize people with your product and your name but most people will not follow up with you.  It is critical for you to collect contact information for each individual so you can follow up with them. 

Hosting a drawing for services or products helps draw people to your table.  Have individuals fill out a lead form or drawing ticket of some sort.   This form should include all forms of contact for the individual: name, address, phone number, and email address.  Create a check list of items they may want to request information on or ask questions they can answer yes or no.  You want the form to provide a window of the type of services or products you provide through the questions you ask.  Make it short, sweet and target your questions to the specific goal for this event.  For example, I ask two questions on my form.  One is geared towards booking home shows and the second is geared towards sharing my business opportunity.

You may want to go the extra mile to attract people to your table.  If it is a family friendly event, offer a piece of candy or a sticker to children who pass by to draw the family towards your table.  Some events encourage vendors to have some sort of interactive game.  As people are walking by you can offer them a free (inexpensive) gift or perhaps a sample of your product. 

You will need to be outgoing and talk to people before they talk to you.  For many, this is outside your comfort zone.  Plan in advance what you want to tell people about your business.  You can ask people if they are familiar with your company to begin the conversation.  Your next step could be to share your 30 second commercial, introducing your company and product.  You will find yourself repeating much of the same information over and over again during the day.

Here is a great example.  At the last event I attended, a dentist office was set up beside me.  Colorful balloon trees on either side of their booth helped attract people.  They had a large poster with information about the dentist and office services sitting on their table, as well as a number of brochures people could take with them.  Visitors could play a game- guess the number of flosses in a large glass canister and the number of toothpaste tubes in another.  Each entrant filled out the drawing ticket and put their guesses on the back.  The person with the best estimate could win a free tooth whitening.  Everyone who stopped by received a cookie tied with colorful curly ribbon and a business card.  The girls working the booth were dressed in their office uniform, looking professional, with shining smiles.

It is important to be over the top friendly and attempt to make a connection with your visitors.  The type of event could give you some good lead questions to open up communication with your visitors.  At a family focused event, you could ask the ages of the children, or  where they go to school.  Inquiring about clubs and activities they are involved with will give you the opportunity to offer additional services like fundraisers.

Collecting leads is only the beginning step.  A piece of paper with contact information is useless when sitting in a pile on your desk.  Following up with each contact based on the answers to their questions is critical to the success of the event.  I find it very helpful to write notes on the back of each drawing ticket about the individual I meet and what we discussed so that I can recall the person when I call them to follow up.

Networking with other vendors at events is a critical step you do not want to miss!  Talk with them before the event starts, share your business card, tell them about your drawing, and encourage them to stop by your booth if they get a chance.  You could even offer them a show discount if they make a purchase from you that day.  Obtaining their business is a good goal but also asking them about other resources in your community is beneficial too.  You can ask about other events they do and networking opportunities available.

These events can be a lot of work depending on the size.  The results are rarely predictable.  Immediate sales can recoup event fees, leads can grow your business but regardless it will be a valuable learning experience!

Related posts you may like:
Finding Vendor Opportunities
Preparing For Vendor Events
Simple & Inexpensive Credit Card Processing

Visit my vendor opportunities page for events in the Tampa Bay Area.  Not from here?  Send me events in your area and I'll create a database for you too.


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Friday, April 1, 2011

CH9: Get Over Yourself--Everyone Else Has

Wow! I am loving this John Maxwell book Failing Forward: Turning Mistakes into Stepping Stones for Success.  The overall concepts are great but all the little quotes and stories tucked inside the big ideas are so meaningful in themselves.  The main idea of chapter nine is that in order to continue to fail forward, we must get over ourselves by turning our focus from us to others.  There were some really powerful points captured here that I want to share.
"Many people who struggle with chronic failure do so because they think of no one but themselves.  They worry about what other people think of them.  They scramble to make sure no one gets the better of them.  They continually focus on protecting their turf."

John Maxwell's Tips:

Stop Focusing On Yourself
Negative thinking and a general poor mental health can be caused by self-absorption.  Dwelling on yourself and your own problems hurts others as well as yourself.  Feeling like your life is lacking something can be overcome by developing a giving spirit.  In helping others you are less likely to focus on yourself.

Stop Taking Yourself Too Seriously
Maxwell says that most people walk around with a "doom and gloom attitude."  "Recognize that laughter breeds resilience."

Start Putting the Team First
We all function as a part of many "teams" within our families, friendships, communities, churches, and businesses.  The dynamics won't work if individuals compete with each other.  We must take turns stepping back to lift up others in order to reach a goal.  Maxwell tells a story of a basketball team built of phenomenal players who were beat by a less talented team.  Instead of working together, several teammates tried to make big moves all on their own.

Start Adding Value to Others Continually
Maxwell asks you to think about whether the lives of the people you know are better or worse because of you.
  1. Put others first in your thinking.  Our heart controls our thinking and our thinking controls our actions.  Our actions paint a picture of our values for others.
  2. Find out what others need.  God gave us two ears and one mouth, listen more and talk less.  Ask others what matters to them and find out by observing how they spend their time and money.
  3. Meet those needs with excellence and generosity.  "Be more concerned with what you can give rather than what you can get because giving truly is the highest level of living."

"No enterprise can exist for itself alone.  It ministers to some great need, it performs some great service, not for itself, but for others; or failing therein it ceases to be profitable and ceases to exist." 
-Calvin Coolidge

There isn't much here that we haven't heard before probably.  But when it all comes together, it makes you evaluate where your own head is at.  One of my first posts that went up this year was called Climbing Out of a Rut.  It is the second most read post of all time.  Maxwell might suggest I include "get over yourself" as a bullet in that post.

Reading this chapter has me pumped for another of John Maxwell's books waiting on my shelf, Winning with People: Discover the People Principles that Work for You Every Time.

Continue your own education.  Pick up a book.


Related Articles:
Quotes From Failing Forward
The Fear Cycle