Hot Off The Press: Google Trends

I have something REALLY cool to show you.

Google JUST released a new tool called “Google Trends”.

Let’s just say you can use this tool to discover and analyze markets in the blink of an eye. It’s fast, easy and free.

But here’s what’s soo cool about this tool… (besides the pretty charts) it gives you a view OVER TIME, of how a particular market is behaving. Think about all the other keyword tools you commonly use. I bet they give you just a snapshot of how a market is doing for just that month. Is that enough to tell you if a market is growing or shrinking?

This is critical information to know when you’re investigating a niche!

You can check it out at: http://www.google.com/trends

Rich

Deciding What To Do Each Day

Gee, what do I want to do today?

If you ever started your day by asking yourself that same question then pay very close attention because the question above is the beginning of an ineffective day.

Strategic entrepreneurs don’t start out their day asking “what do I want to do?” They ask themselves “What are the most important, highest leverage activities that need to get done?” and create a list of the most important activities that answer the question.

After that, they estimate the amount of time each activity should take.

Next, they analyze the list of important activities that must get done and determine which activities they should do themselves and who they are going to get to do the remaining activities.

Then when they start work they tackle the most important, highest leverage task or activity first. They do not ask the question of themselves “which one of these task do I want to do now?”

Remember no entrepreneur is born effective you have to cultivate it and you do that by practicing the habits of effectiveness. You wouldn’t want an employee who worked on what they chose and you should respect your business at the very least as much as you want your team to.

Here’s a quote from the Harvard Business Review, June 2004 p59

“Jack Welch realized that what needed to be done at General Electric when he took over as chief executive was not the overseas expansion HE WANTED to launch. It was getting rid of businesses that, no matter how profitable, could not be number one or number two in their industries.”

Today be conscious of the choices you make when deciding what to work on.

Are you picking tasks based on what you want or are you picking your activities based on what your company needs from you?

If you pick the most important task to work on first you’ll be more effective, your company will be more profitable, and you’ll be able to work less so you can actually pick fun things to do outside of work instead of the poor substitutes you’ve been using to fill your work days.

So remember – it’s not what you want to do – it’s what your business needs done.

To Increased Effectiveness,

Rich Schefren

Your Business’s Scarcest Resource

If you’ve kept at it and tracked your time you should now have crystal clarity about how you are currently using your time.

Any surprises?

Are you doing things that you shouldn’t be doing?

If so, it’s costing you a lot more than you think, here’s why…

When you study systems you learn that the maximum output of any process is set by its scarcest resource. Your business is a system.

And what are the key resources needed by your business?

1. Money

2. People

3. Time

Money

If you have the right business model and you are effectively progressing toward your business goals you should either have, or have access to enough money. And the ability to get more isn’t constrained, there are plenty of investors for the right businesses.

People – There is no limit usually to the people you can hire or outsource to, especially when you have enough money.

Time – Of the 3 major resources time is scarcest. It’s also totally perishable and cannot be stored. Yesterday’s time is gone forever and will never come back.

Everything you and your business does requires time.

All work (whether useful or not) eats away your time. But, most entrepreneurs (at least the unsuccessful ones) take for granted the unique, irreplaceable, totally perishable, and necessary resource.

Effective entrepreneurs realize that time is the limiting factor.

So, with your time logs in front of you answer the question:

What are some of the activities that I am currently doing that does not contribute to my effectiveness?

And once you come up with some answers the next question to think about is:

How can I either eliminate these time drains, automate them, or pass them off to someone else?

If you are not sure what are the activities that you should be doing, have no fear, I’ll quickly explain how you can arrive at the right answer.

Let’s pretend for a moment you were leaving your company for a while and you were going to hire a company president to grow your business while you were away. Before you left, the new company president asked you – what are the activities I must focus on, on a daily basis if I really want to grow your company as quickly as possible?

Your answer is where you should be spending your time. Because if you are running your company then you are the company’s president. And if you want to be effective you better be able to answer these two questions.

What am I getting paid to do?

What should I be paid to do if I am being paid for the right things to be done in my position?

Once you are clear about that – begin to ruthlessly cut away at activities that don’t make the list. In my upcoming notes to you I’ll show you how to do exactly that – get rid on the wasteful activities that clog up your cashflow.

To Your Effectiveness,

Rich Schefren

Dealing With Setbacks

Since we’ve been talking about conditioning the habit of effectiveness it’s a good idea to address what to do when you slip and revert back to your non-productive ways.

Central to dealing with setbacks are three terms:

Lapse ——- Relapse ——- Collapse

When establishing a new habit that requires a behavior change, quite often there are a number of setbacks along the way.

How you react to these setbacks will ultimately determine your success or failure.

Listen, everyone makes mistakes. Some bounce back and use the slip as a signal to increase their commitment. Sadly, it is common though for a slip to cause a negative reaction which feeds upon itself until the desired behavior is totally given up.

There are two paths to success.

The first is to realize the importance of consistency when establishing any habit and commit to avoid and prevent slips all together.

The second is to respond to a slip by immediately returning to the desired behavior.

A lapse is a slight error or slip, it’s the first instance of backsliding to your former habit. It’s a discreet event like not recording your time in your time log all morning.

A Relapse occurs when lapses string together for a continued period of time.

A Collapse is when the relapse becomes permanent, and all hope of getting back into the grove are given up.

The important point to always remember is this:

A LAPSE DOES NOT EQUAL A RELAPSE.

You see, for some people, when they experience a lapse they feel as if they have nothing to shoot for – all they can do is start over. But the truth is far from that. And I want you to understand this point because it will make conditioning the habit of effectiveness easier over the long haul.

When you lapse, instead of thinking all hope is lost, consider it a challenge, can you keep it as just a lapse and immediately recommit yourself so your lapse doesn’t turn into a relapse or a collapse?

Of course you can. And obviously you should.

The point is this – even when you’ve slipped, you are still in control. Only you will decide the impact of that lapse – you
can get right back on track, or, postpone your re-commitment and have your entire effort collapse. The choice is yours.

Commit to yourself – that if your lapse or slip, you’ll remind yourself that you are still in control and immediately get back on track. This way you don’t risk ruining the hard work you’ve already extended.

To bring this point home – keep your time logs up to date – and if you slip and go some time without using your time log – just recommit as soon as possible (immediately as opposed to tomorrow). If you do you’ll be that much closer to becoming an effective entrepreneur.

To Your Effectiveness,

Rich Schefren

Analyze Your Time and Notice Patterns

Being strategic and effective is all about getting the
right things done.

In order to become a strategic entrepreneur
you will need to build the habit of effectiveness. No one is
born effective – I repeat – it’s not an inborn trait, so…
if you never worked on developing the skill of effectiveness
you are not as effective as you could be or should be.

Therefore to build the habit of effectiveness you’ll need to
practice (consistent practice leads to powerful habits) the
five skill sets I laid out for you in the last post.

While the 5 skill sets above are all easy to understand,
they aren’t so easy to do well. In other words, you will
have to build and develop them (they don’t appear like
magic), just like you’ve learned how to do anything else
important in your life. You need to continually practice
over and over again until these five skill sets become
“The Way” you automatically go about doing your work.

Next week I’ll breaking down in detail how learning and
developing habits go hand in hand and the key distinctions
you must understand to be successful.

If you’ve been keeping up, today should be day 3 of your
time log. Is it getting easier? It should be by now, and
you should also start seeing how much time you’ve been
spending on tasks and activities other than your top
priorities.

Scary, isn’t it?

Just keep up the good work, make sure that you spend as
little time (none would be best) multitasking as possible.

Stay focused on one task at a time. It’ll be easier to
record, and its the work process of highly effective
entrepreneurs.

So just keep recording, keep focused and notice your
patterns, make today a super-productive day.

What Skills Are Important For Business Building?

There are lots of entrepreneurs who are quite knowledgeable;
however, effective entrepreneurs are much, much rarer.

Yet
it is the effective entrepreneur who succeeds in building
successful businesses.

As an entrepreneur, you and your company make no money for
simply knowing. You make money and build your business by
getting the right things done.

How to decide what are the right things and how to get
them done will be the primary focus of your upcoming
ProfitNotes.

By highlighting both “what to do” and “how to do it” you’ll
learn (if you follow my lead and spend the few minutes each
day these emails require) what you do well, what you need to
improve on, what you are currently doing poorly and shouldn’t
be doing at all.

You’ll learn where you belong in your business, your niche and
your market.

Your first assignment:

(1) Take out a sheet of paper or open up a blank mindmap.

(2) Spend 3 minutes brainstorming what you believe are the
skill-sets an entrepreneur must have to be effective.

(3) Take 1 minute and rate your current level of performance
in these areas.

(4) Spend 30 seconds highlighting the areas you believe are
your biggest roadblocks to success.

(5) Take 2 minutes to answer this questions “What could you
do today (realistically) to be more effective?”

(6) Do the one thing you just decided would make you more
effective today.

That’s it for now, in the next post I’ll tell you what I believe are
the 5 skills every entrepreneur must develop to maximize their
effectiveness and truly be a Strategic Entrepreneur.

But for today, make sure to do one thing new or different that
you believe will make you more effective.

How A Right Hand Can Double Your Business

As your business begins experiencing growth, it’s vital that you bring on a right-hand man (or woman) to help you in your quest for success.

The sooner the better, because when your business is expanding, it’s difficult to take time out to train another person for tasks you need to delegate.

Still, you can’t just bring anyone into the equation. You need to make sure they have the same passion for your business and ideas that you do. How do you achieve that? By compensating them based on their performance or by giving them a percentage of the sales.

1 Use Performance Incentives

Incentives go a long way in motivating any staff, but with an assistant who works closely with you to realize the ultimate goals of the company, it’s even more effective as a benefit and reward.

You have to be willing to put all of your trust into this person. You don’t want to worry about what they’ll do or how they’ll go about something. They should always strive to make your company look good in the eyes of your customers and business associates.

The type of person you want to hire on as a right hand man or woman will be highly motivated and able to handle their tasks with minimal input from you once they’ve been instructed on how to do something.

The person should be willing to learn new ideas – and eager to take on more responsibilities in the company. Don’t hire anyone who sits back waiting for an opportunity, or who scoffs at the idea of having to do more work.

2 Motivate Them With Vision

Your goal is to get them excited about the business – help them recognize the possibilities so that they actively work with you on accomplishing everything the business needs to grow and succeed.

Someone once said that hiring the perfect right hand man is like finding the right suit – they have to fit in just right with the company or else you’ll feel uncomfortable allowing them to handle certain responsibilities.

In a best-case scenario, the right hand man should be able to fill your shoes in any situation – without missing a beat. But this doesn’t mean you have to look for someone exactly like you – in fact, it’s better if his talents and skills complement your own – skills he possesses, you lack, and vice versa.

You have to be careful not to hire someone whose only goal is to replace you within the company… or steal your idea to launch his own business. His loyalty to you should be paramount.

If there are other employees within the company, make sure you hire someone who earns the respect of the others. You can’t have a right hand man who treats your staff with disrespect.

3 Be Very Selective

You may have to go through several assistants before finding the right fit. You’ll realize that not everyone has what it takes to stand in such an important position. When you do find the person, you’ll know it – because you’ll instantly feel a sense of relief that your business is on the right track to success.

After finding the right person, the two of you will work in sync to help the business experience growth. Having a right hand man will free up your time so that you can focus on more important tasks.

If he’s good enough at what he does, then you can double up on tactics that show promise in your company’s financial future. If you’re both good copywriters, then you can double the amount of high-converting content you write.

If sales are your forte, but he’s better at customer service, then divvy up the responsibility for the betterment of the business. You can constantly assess both you and your assistant’s capabilities and leverage each of your skills to their maximum potential.

10 Tips To Be More Efficient in the Office

During a typical day in the office, you may waste a few minutes every hour.

It may not seem like a big deal, until you consider that those minutes can add up to hours. Those are hours you could be spending accomplishing more work or spending at home or in leisure.

Here are ten tips to help you make the most of every moment.

  1. Get rid of the clutter in your office. If you’re constantly looking for things amid the junk that’s in your way, you’re wasting time. Get rid of anything that is making your office seem disorderly.
  2. Set up an efficient workstation. For example, if you use your file cabinet often, put it close to the desk so that you don’t have to walk across the room every time you need something. Keep the things you use often near the area where you’re seated so that it’s always at your fingertips.
  3. Focus on the task at hand. Multi-tasking is sometimes a necessary part of the workday. However, you may find that you’re flitting from one task to the next unnecessarily. Finish your current project before you go on to the next.
  4. Keep your email organized. Delete the messages you don’t need and create folders for the ones you do need. That way, when you need to find something, you have a good place to start looking instead of having to filter through hundreds of messages.
  5. Keep paper organized. Instead of having to sift through piles of paper on every surface of your office, spend 10 minutes at the end of each day filing away the things you aren’t actively using. If you do need to keep some things out, put them in a stand up file rack that will keep them organized.
  6. Delegate tasks. Many business owners and managers have a hard time handing off work. You need to allow your staff to do what they can to free you up for other opportunities. Let your secretary handle phone messages or emails that don’t need your direct attention.
  7. Return phone calls right away. Don’t wait for messages to pile up on your desk. Instead of having to spend 10 minutes returning calls, you may spend hours. It’s a lot harder to carve out an hour in your schedule than it is a few minutes each day.
  8. Be clear about employee roles. Make sure that everyone understands what his or her tasks really are. Employees should not be duplicating each other’s services. Create standard operating procedures for each position in your company.
  9. Create agendas for meetings and use them. Agendas should have time limits and you should assign someone to make sure everyone stays on topic. Keep them as short as possible.
  10. Keep one calendar. Agendas should have time limits and you should assign someone to make sure everyone stays on topic. Keep them as short as possible.

You’ll find as you get more organized and delegate tasks that it feels like there are suddenly more hours in the day. There’s not – it’s simply the positive result of running your business in the most efficient way possible.

The Power Of Passion

Q: Are you passionate about what you do… or just passionate about the money you rake in?

I’m going to let you in on a little secret… it’s a lot easier to make money when you’re passionate about what you do.

How many people in the world are locked into a job they can’t stand, only for the sheer fact that they get a steady paycheck and benefits to take care of their family? I’m willing to bet there are quite a few in that position.

You don’t have to be one of them.

Your business obviously sparked an interest in you somewhere … even if it was only because you deemed it a profitable venture. But how you arrive at those profits is up to you.

Think about the way a non-profit is set up.

The people who created it either have to start with a for-profit company, or work hard to garner the funds necessary to achieve their goals.

They usually work for less money, so you know they have to love what they’re doing. They might have a trait you don’t yet possess… the ability to let their success be defined by how much they get to follow their passion and realize their dreams.

Your success is not fully dependent on number crunching.

It’s not all about how much you can cut from your overhead expenses or how fat your bank account grows over time.

How fulfilled are you?

Do you dread going to work every day and look forward to the vacation time you’ve accrued?

Do you call in sick just because you can’t stand thinking about work for even another minute?

Regardless of what business you’re in, you have to take command of your future and make passion a part of your routine.

Not every task can be something you’ll meet with enthusiasm.

You may not like packaging and shipping or printing out invoices. It may be a pain to source service providers to whom you can outsource jobs. But you can come into work every day and be passionate about what you’re about to accomplish.

Start by designating menial tasks that weigh you down to others and focus your attention and time on things that will give you a greater sense of satisfaction.

It’s also important to create a positive work environment. People generally advise,

Leave the stress at work.

But the workplace doesn’t have to be stressful in the first place… and in fact, it’s counter-productive.

Some companies have realized this and sought ways to increase employee satisfaction. They do this with relaxed dress codes, increased vacation time, and monetary rewards.

Even if you are your only employee, you should address what would be the ideal working environment for you. Would it be alternate work hours – say, from 5 PM to 1 in the morning? For some people, the answer is yes.

Is there something you want to do that you just don’t have time to accomplish because you spend too much time working?

Maybe you’d like to give back to the community.

Find ways to do that through your business.

For instance, create a corporate-sponsored event for charity or give back to the community using your company profits. That way, every time you’re working on something you don’t feel passionate about, you’ll know that in the end, you’re fulfilling your goals by earning personal profits and giving to others at the same time.

When you find ways to love what you’re doing, your success will come naturally.

You’ll have a positive attitude, which helps you accomplish more in life. People who get bogged down being negative find it hard to move forward because they’re concentrating on the present moment… or even the past.

Don’t be afraid to show off your passions to other people.

Showcasing what you believe in – what you work hard for – what you know will somehow create a better life for you and your family (or even the world) is a great indicator of future success.

Let others experience your passion for work. Your energy and enthusiasm for what you do will attract others to your sense of success. These people may be wonderful additions to your company.

If you went in to interview with someone like you, would you feel excited about working in the company – or apprehensive about the chaos and stress that seems to go on?

Work on creating a positive environment where you and your employees can be the driving force behind your company’s success… because you all feel passionate about what you do.

The Success System That Never Fails


Do you have a system in place for every aspect of your business?

A long time ago, I didn’t utilize systems in my business – I just operated on instinct.

When success sprouted, I eventually had to bring someone else on board and that’s when I realized how I had failed.

I had no way of communicating how things got done around the office. My new employees couldn’t get inside my brain and I couldn’t expect them to instinctively know what to do – yet I had nothing on paper that explained my processes.

Having systems in place is vital to the performance of your business. Even if it’s just you – you need to have a system mapped out on how things are accomplished. If you’re the only one in your company, then maybe you don’t need it written down – but at the very least, you should be able to verbalize it in a step-by-step procedure.

If you can’t explain it in concise terms of what happens at each interval, then you don’t really have a system – you have a way of doing thing.

The word ‘system’ implies that you can classify tasks, organize and rank them in order of importance, and assign them to the people you’ve designated to be in control of each aspect of the business.

Imagine what would happen if you were in a car accident one day… and hospitalized for a week or more. Who would run your company for you? Could you explain to someone how to operate the daily functions of your business?

Instead of a system, would there be chaos in the workplace?

Probably – if you’re not prepared.

It’s good to have your systems written out and filed so that whenever someone else is brought on board… or has to take over… they’ll instantly be able to refer to your model of doing business and follow it precisely.

Mapping out systems for your business can also give you insight into how things can be accomplished in a better way. Your goal is to simplify your process so that it’s as effective as it can be.


Don’t be afraid to utilize shortcuts if it won’t harm the end result.

There’s nothing wise about taking the long route to success. If there’s a tool you could invest in that would shave hours off of your task, then it’s worth it. If you’re doing all of your accounting by hand, and you could set up a software tool to quicken the procedure, then do it.

When you set up your systems – and you’ll need one for almost every aspect of running your business… do it with hindsight in mind.

Play Monday morning quarterback. What could you have done better, and how can that happen?

Categorize your systems to help you develop and update them as necessary. For instance, you might have a system for tracking sales performance, one for marketing, and another for sourcing new products or ideas.

If you have a ‘guinea pig’, start testing your systems out on that person to see if it’s easy for another individual to interpret and use. If any portion of your system needs further clarification, then go into more detail. You might know what you mean by “launch AdWords campaign,” but someone else may need you to answer the question, “how?” Systems give your business a framework. You can always add onto the system, or tear it down and replace it… but it gives your operation a structure and a foundation to work from.

You’ll always want to update your systems as time passes.

Maybe new technology has been developed that can replace an outdated approach to doing business. Perhaps you’ve discovered someone to outsource a task to so that you can concentrate your efforts on more profitable ventures.

Whatever the reason, always look for – and be open to – new ways of structuring your business so that it’s a living system – not one that’s too rigid and opposed to change. You want to maintain a vision for your company and use creative means to get you there.

Think of yourself as an architect of your company. It’s your job to create a blueprint for your business operations. You can always pencil in new additions to the company or erase structures that need to be phased out.

With a system in place, you’ll find you can manage your business more easily and find success in a shorter span of time.