Does Your Vision Suck?

March 20th, 2015

It’s not sexy, but…

Today’s article is about a critical move that most entrepreneurs completely whiff on. It’s something bold, imperative, but completely unappealing to many.

In fact, it’s so unappealing that too many of us disregard it as something we know we should be doing but for one reason or another it rarely becomes a priority.

So, what is it?

Your Vision Statement

Yeah, I know it’s probably not what you wanted to hear today. The Vision (Mission) Statement gets lost somewhere between pie in the sky goals and your lunch plans.

Sadly, this is epidemic. It’s no wonder why so many businesses fail during their first 3-years in operation. Entrepreneurs get so caught up in the latest piece of technology or the latest marketing fad that they forget the fundamentals of business.

If you don’t know why you’re doing something you will always fall behind those who do. It’s inevitable. The Vision Statement does just that. It spells out the reason for what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. It’s the foundation. And without it you will lack the guiding principles to lead you.

Obviously, the Vision Statement isn’t everything. MANY things have to go right for your business to prosper – and the Vision Statement is just one of those things.

Before you focus on tactics, infrastructure, operating models, etc, focus on the vision. When you get this nailed down the other pieces are easier to fit into place.

Need help on how to create one? There are a ton of resources online and at your local bookstore. Start there and if you’d like help call me.

Your friend,

Dennis Paresa

Got other ideas on how about putting horsepower behind your business? Drop a comment below and share it with other readers.

Oh, and if you haven’t already be sure to sign-up for my free weekly newsletter. It’s slammed with tips on marketing, sales, and other useful business building topics. Click here to sign up! 

 

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Pushing Your Limits and Why You Should Get Uncomfortable

January 15th, 2015

If you’re reading this then you probably live in a first world country. You probably have heat, running water, and most of the comforts that accompany living in a developed nation.

I recently finished reading a book called Unbroken. For those of you who haven’t heard of it, it tells the unbelievable true story of a World War II solider whose plane was shot down deep over the Pacific. I won’t spoil the story, but let’s just say this solider – who also happens to be a former Olympian – went through the unimaginable during his plight for survival.

Reading through this story I keep thinking about how comfortable my life is. I have a roof over my head and don’t yearn for much. Life’s been good.

I’m reminded of just how important it is to push our comfort zone. It’s so easy to get sucked into our comfortable lives without every really pushing the boundaries of our potential. Because it’s when we push our boundaries and get uncomfortable that transformational growth can occur.

So, what this got to do with your business, career, personal life, etc? The short answer: everything.

If we don’t make a conscious effort to push our limits and expand our comfort zone we loose our sharpness. We get dull. And when we get dull it impacts our lives in numerous ways.

Frankly, we can’t afford you to get dull. We need you. We need you to contribute, lead, push, invent, and create.

So what can you do?

Here’s an idea, a first step. The next time you get the feeling that you could be doing more – go with it, don’t run from it. Take the one next step to examine how you can push the envelope. You don’t need an outline or game plan. You just need to take the small next step.

Go get uncomfortable. The rewards are always worth the short-term loss of comfort. Remember: everything is uncomfortable the first time you do it.

Your friend,

Dennis P.

Got other ideas on how to push past your mental limits? Drop a comment below and share it with other readers.

Oh, and if you haven’t already be sure to sign-up for my free weekly newsletter. It’s slammed with tips on marketing, sales, and other useful business building topics. Click here to sign up! 

 

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How to Create Successful Teams: Lessons from the World’s Most Elite Military Unit

November 25th, 2014

Navy SEAL LogoTeamwork. It’s a concept that all of us know about. And for many of us we’re immersed in it on a daily basis.

Why then are so many teams dysfunctional?

To answer this question, why don’t we explore several teamwork characteristics from a group that many regard as the most potent military force on the planet: the US Navy SEALs.

Lone Survivor

If you’ve read the popular book or watched the recent Hollywood blockbuster called Lone Survivor, then you’re probably already familiar with the SEALs. The SEALs are widely regarded as the most elite military group in the world. When something goes bad (often times very bad) the SEALs are called in to do what they do best: get whatever needs to be done, done.

And what’s at the foundation of their success? A commitment to teamwork.

Teamwork starts early – the swim buddy

From day 1 in SEAL training teamwork is hammered home. Each SEAL candidate is paired with a “swim buddy”. A swim buddy is essentially an extension of oneself – wherever your swim buddy goes, you go. Every time. No exceptions.

Failure to stay with your swim buddy is an absolute no-no in the SEAL community and is something that will disqualify a SEAL from succeeding through the qualification process. Many SEALs will tell you the primary driver of their success is teamwork. SEAL’s must be able to rely on one another in every situation – even if that situation puts their lives at risk.

Now, most of us don’t have to risk our lives to be there for our teammates. More often that not we just need to show up, contribute, and do our part. The problem with the typical team model is that it’s broken. Since so much of what we do depends on the performance of a team, the repercussions of poor teamwork are massive.

Adopting the way of the SEAL

But what if we adopted SEAL teamwork characteristics?

Let’s examine three SEAL teamwork traits to see how they apply to us:

1)    Service. SEALs serve their country and their SEAL community. The individual is subordinate to the needs of the team in all cases. One of the primary reasons SEALs are so effective is because they can rely on each other in every situation, even if life threatening. Now, most of us don’t need to risk our lives for our teammates, but adopting a service mentality (rather than a serve-me mentality) will drive better results every time.

2)    Purpose. SEALs have a shared purpose. There is purpose to everything they do as a team – albeit at the operational level or at the community level. Although purpose can be challenging to understand for many teams, it’s actually quite simple. And it starts with “why”. If we can understand the why behind the what, and ensure that all team members are bought into it, we’ll have a much greater shot at aligning to a common and compelling purpose.

3)    Accountability. SEALs hold fellow SEALs accountable – every time, no excuses. In fact, SEALs are probably at the extreme end of it. Since lives can hinge on team performance SEALs can’t afford not to hold each other accountable. For many, it’s easy to let the performance of our team member’s slip. Often times confronting a team member’s lack of contribution is uncomfortable. The fact is we owe it to our team to ensure that all team members are held accountable for their actions. For team leaders, typically this starts with a regular cadence of feedback. For team members, it starts with forging trusted relationships with teammates and encouraging two-way communication. Regardless of how it’s accomplished, accountability is a necessary ingredient for high performing teams.

Wrapping it up

Seek to serve, align to a shared purpose, and hold your teammates accountable. These three simple tenants will serve your teams immensely.

Your friend,

Dennis P.

Got other leadership and teamwork ideas? Drop a comment below and share it with other readers.

Oh, and if you haven’t already be sure to sign-up for my free weekly newsletter. It’s slammed with tips on marketing, sales, and other useful business building topics. Click here to sign up! 

 

 

 

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Are You Making This Mistake?

July 25th, 2014

It’s mind blowing how many business owners don’t pay attention to the power of mobile technology. Smartphones, tablets, and other anytime-anywhere gadgets have created an entirely new super highway businesses.

Why mobile is critical

Mobile usage in the US and globally is staggering. Ever year the number of people who convert to using smartphones rises exponentially.

Just look at the figures:

  • By the end of 2014 mobile usage is predicted to overtake desktop usage
  • 4 of 5 consumers use mobile devices to shop
  • 1.4 billion people use a smartphone (that’s 1 in every 7 people!)
  • 1 in 4 internet searches are done using a mobile device
  • The average American spends 2 hours a day on a mobile device

Need more evidence of its importance? Ha – probably not!

The rise of mobile technology, although a game changer for those who take advantage of it, can also be a business owner’s worst enemy if they choose to ignore it.

Here’s an example

Let’s say you own a restaurant. If you aren’t managing your presence on Google, or on social sites like Yelp, you are at a massive disadvantage to those restaurateurs who do. Savvy restaurant owners who “get it” know it’s imperative to make sure Google has current business information – after all, if most people search for local restaurants using Google – you’d better be there somewhere! Otherswise, you’re not even in the ballgame as an option for potential customers.

Likewise with the social site Yelp. If your information is incomplete or inaccurate – things by the way that take 2 minutes to correct – you absolutely will lose business. There’s no questions about it.

A call to action

Every business owner must get up to speed with the very basics – if nothing else. Here’s a quick list of questions that all business owners should consider when it comes to mobile:

  1. Have you updated your business information on the common search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo)?
  2. Are you active on the social sites that are relevant in your industry?
  3. Do you have a responsive website? (note: a responsive website is one that adjusts for smartphones and tablets)
  4. Do you have a strategy for promoting your business through mobile devices?
  5. Do you know what a QR code is?

Go ahead and answer these questions. If you could use a helping hand there are a ton of inexpensive resources out there: blog posts, free online seminar hosted by service providers, other business owners in your network, etc. And of course, me.

There’s no time to waste here. Every minute spent not taking action will cost dearly.

Your friend,

Dennis P.

Got other ideas to mobile ideas for business? Drop a comment below and share it with other readers.

Oh, and if you haven’t already be sure to sign-up for my free weekly newsletter. It’s slammed with tips on marketing, sales, and other useful business building topics. Click here to sign up! 

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Just Go!

June 25th, 2014

Today I’m going to share with you a potent secret for getting stuff done. And though it won’t be rocket science to you, I hope it will serve as a healthy reminder of how simple it can be to make big things happen – both in life and business.

The simple power of just doing it

How often do you put off doing things you know have to get done? If you’re like most people it happens daily.

It’s so easy to hit the snooze button, push that phone call out, or defer that difficult conversation until the next day. It’s so easy for us to justify in our mind’s eye that pushing something off is OK.

But what if it wasn’t OK?

What if you made it unacceptable to push anything important off? Sound too tough? Though it might, there’s a simple formula for pushing past any resistance.

And the magic formula is…..

Just put one foot in front of the other. That’s it. Take one step toward any task you’re thinking about pushing off. It can be the tiniest step EVER. What you do really doesn’t matter. The fact that you’re taking action is what does.

A step begets more steps

Although taking just one step, one action, is perfectly acceptable – taking one step almost always results in another. And another. There’s power in momentum and taking just one step sets you on the path toward momentum. Once you hit the momentum train anything’s possible.

Wrapping it up

Look, what you’re reading now is a perfect (well, maybe not perfect!) example of putting one step in front of the other. Right now it’s the evening and I’ve had a long day helping clients. The last thing I wanted to do was write. And – I was really close to pushing this post off another day.

But what did I do? You guessed it. I put one foot in front of the other and just started. The result – this post is DONE!

Just Go.

Your friend,

Dennis Paresa

Got other ideas to boost productivity? Drop a comment below and share it with other readers.

Oh, and if you haven’t already be sure to sign-up for my free weekly newsletter. It’s slammed with tips on marketing, sales, and other useful business building topics. Click here to sign up! 

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