How Americans Get Rich
AMERICAN SUCCESS INSTITUTE
A NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION
Table of Contents
1. Set Goals......................................................................6 2. Divide and Conquer ...................................................7 3. Write A Personal Mission Statement ..........................8 4. Follow Through ..........................................................9 5. Embrace the Hard Work...........................................10 6. Don’t Complicate Matters .........................................11 7. Commit to Never Ending Improvement..................12 8. Be Frugal ...................................................................13 9. Make Today Special..................................................14 10. Record Your Thoughts..............................................15 11. Persist to Win ............................................................16 12. In Business, All Are Not Equal ................................17 13. Risk Failure ................................................................18 14. Get Tough..................................................................19 15. Be the Valued Employee ..........................................20 16. Find Another Job.......................................................21 17. The Wide World of Business ...................................22 18. Stop Wasting Time ....................................................23 19. Spread Your Enthusiasm...........................................24 20. Applaud the Beginner ..............................................25 21. Give Yourself the Gift of Self-Reliance....................26 22. Lead by Example ......................................................27 23. Control Conflict .........................................................28 24. Listen to Your Instincts .............................................29 25. Keep Pushing ............................................................30 26. Style and Attitude and Work Matter ........................31 27. Donald J. Trump: Get Tough ...................................32 28. Buying and Selling Businesses.................................33 29. Be Proud....................................................................34 30. Be Decisive................................................................35 31. Three Rules for Business Success............................36
32. Embody Integrity.......................................................37 33. Stay Centered.............................................................38 34. Love Many Things.....................................................39 35. Forget Everybody ......................................................40 36. Maintain Your Presence............................................41 37. The Business Doesn’t Matter....................................42 38. Appreciate Your Appeal ...........................................43 39. Develop Your Sense of Humor................................44 40. Create a Winning Team............................................45 41. Show Loyalty .............................................................46 42. Advance Your Career................................................47 43. How to Delegate.......................................................48 44. How to Manage Projects ..........................................49 45. Develop Your Special Talent....................................50 46. Copy Success.............................................................51 47. Develop Winning Habits ..........................................52 48. Salespeople Rule .......................................................53 49. Accept Hard Work ....................................................54 50. The Boss is The Rainmaker .....................................55 51. Communicate with Ease ...........................................56 52. Helping Troubled Employees ..................................57 53. Imitation before Innovation .....................................58 54. How to Choose a Partner.........................................59 55. Invest In Your Future................................................60 56. Retire Early ................................................................61 57. Have Faith .................................................................62 58. Your Core Values ......................................................63 59. How to Build a Team...............................................64 60. Look in the Mirror.....................................................65 61. Imagine ......................................................................66 62. Hold Sacred ...............................................................67 63. Focus on Your Strengths ..........................................68 64. Understand Courage .................................................69 65. Sandra Day O’Connor: Aim High ............................70 66. Run the Short and Long Roads................................71
67. Advertising Basics .....................................................72 68. Close the Door on Regrets.......................................73 69. Raise Your Prices.......................................................74 70. The Typical American Millionaire............................75 71. Act With Boldness.....................................................76 72. Aim for the One Percent ..........................................77 73. Do What You Love Doing........................................78 74. Appreciate Your Customer .......................................79 75. Build Networks ........................................................80 76. Hire Slowly...............................................................81 77. Fire Quickly .............................................................82 78. The Example of Wal-Mart .......................................83 79. Jack Welch: Self-Confidence ...................................84 80. Learn.........................................................................85 81. Ask a Lot of Questions............................................86 82. Read Biographies.....................................................87 83. Be Open to New Ideas ...........................................88 84. Heed the Warnings ..................................................89 85. American Business Slogans.....................................90 86. Read, Read, Read.....................................................91 87. Write Your Elevator Pitch ........................................92 88. A Few Important Words ..........................................93 89. Go Green .................................................................94 90. Start a Business Now...............................................95 91. Thank Your Ancestors .............................................96 92. Supervise ..................................................................97 93. Go for the BIG Fish.................................................98 94. Magnify Your Effectiveness .....................................99 95. Deal With It............................................................100 96. Embrace Technology .............................................101 97. Invest in Commercial Property .............................102 98. Start Your Revolution.............................................103 99. Become an Action Principles® Champion.............104 100. Your One Life ......................................................105
How Americans Get Rich
As you read How Americans Get Rich, you realize that what successful people have done and are doing in America, you can do wherever you live, in Hanoi or Havana or Halifax. There have been self-made successful people from every era of history and from every country. They offer a product that people want to buy. They charge a fair price. They build repeat business from a satisfied customer base. They copy the leaders in their industries. They keep their businesses moving forward, always improving. They make money and they invest, usually in real estate. You can do this. I will not wish you good luck. If you are an Action Principles® Champion, a tough, thoughtful, spiritual person of action, you don’t need luck. Write down your goals, work hard, learn from your mistakes and persist. You can have a prosperous life and make a difference in your community. Appreciation and respect will be yours. Follow the Action Principles and these How Americans Get Rich principles. Watch my free instructional videos. You can do this. I will be honored to be your teacher.
Bill FitzPatrick • Bill FitzPatrick.com
You have one life. Set a goal right now to rise above the average and live an extraordinary life. These are your goals, so don’t be shy. Dream big. What you plan, or don’t plan, is where you’ll go. You need the time and the resources to develop your individual potential and special talent. Plan for it. Write it down. Commit your mind and actions to do what it will take to succeed. Average people work forty hours a week. Set a goal of working 20% more, working fifty hours and using the extra income to invest. Average people buy one house, hoping that this single investment will ensure a comfortable retirement. Plan to do what the average person has done once and do it again and again until you become a millionaire. Average people watch twenty hours of television each week. Set a goal to watch ten hours and use the other ten hours more constructively.
Divide and Conquer
Initially, many of the goals you set will seem ambitious. This is good. Reach for the stars. Now, with your feet firmly planted on the ground, make your plans. Take your goal and divide it into meaningful, realistic, achievable objectives. You want to own several McDonald’s franchises. You start by owning one. You get a job at McDonald’s. You volunteer to do the jobs that average employees avoid. You mop floors, clean rest rooms and empty grease traps. You pick up litter in the parking lot. You react with an understanding smile when a child spills a milkshake. You willingly work extra hours. You become the irreplaceable employee. You become a shift supervisor and then assistant manager and then manager. You network with other store managers and store owners. You learn the fast food business from the ground floor up and inside and out. You are known and liked by the national corporation. You confidently borrow the money to buy your first store. Then, you invest in a second and third and fourth store. On the road to your future, divide your journey into short trips. 7
Write a Personal Mission Statement
There is an ideal you. You are a tough, thoughtful, spiritual person of action. You are prosperous. Everything about you spells success from your home and your car, to your office. Some lucky few are able to call you parent or boss. Others are proud to call you friend. You have much and are able to share often. You are admired and respected. Be the confident, ideal you. Every day, stop to think about who you were, who you are now and the ideal you. What mistakes did you make? What slights did you commit? Are you enjoying your days? Did you stop long enjoy to savor your tea? Did you stop to smell the rose? Did you see the children laughing? You can describe the ideal you. You can keep a diary or scrapbook. Or, you can simply write a page or a paragraph. Keep writing and refining and living. While average people are idle, you pursue your ideal.
Follow through is the secret weapon of the highly successful businessperson. It is bettering the standard. It is doing the optional. It is always performing above and beyond expectations. It is the wow factor. It is openly and honestly talking with a customer who has a problem and doing your best to correct it. It is the contractor who cleans up, not just at the end of a job, but every night. It is the restaurant manager who visits every table after every meal. It is the florist who calls the week after the wedding. It is the car salesperson or the real estate agent who doesn’t treat you like a one time opportunity but as a lifetime customer. It is appreciating and respecting your customer. It is making the customer feel special and important.
Embrace the Hard Work
You excel by not being an average worker. You excel by working hard at the harder aspects of your job. What the average worker avoids, you embrace. Think followup, clean-up, dealing with problem employees, solving customer complaints and soliciting new business. Many average workers are clock watchers. They are focused on avoiding criticism while waiting for their next paycheck. Often, the workplace is not a proving ground, encouraging an individual to personal excellence. Rather, some see it as a comfortable meeting place where friends co-mingle in a commercial environment. The business becomes incidental to the social. If you actually concentrate on working while you are at work, you give yourself a competitive advantage over average workers. If you are working for the right company, your bosses will acknowledge, appreciate and reward your hard work.
Don’t Complicate Matters
Average people often complicate business matters because within those complications, they can find excuses for inaction. Following The Action Principles®, you are a tough, thoughtful, spiritual person of action. What others have done, you can do. You don’t sit around sharing ignorance with your friends. You find knowledgeable teachers and mentors. You listen. You find a way. You research, you think, you plan and you act. Running a business is not complicated. You offer a quality product at a fair price. You appreciate your customers. You identity the leaders in your industry and you do what they are doing. Becoming financially independent is not complicated. Average people buy one house in the hope of a comfortable retirement. You buy six properties, pay off your debts, and create a family financial empire. There are those who talk accomplishment. There are those who listen, learn and accomplish.
Commit to Never Ending Improvement
It’s fun and exciting to plan and open a business but after a few months, reality starts to kick in. Ownership and management responsibilities are demanding. Perhaps several vendors should not have been so highly recommended. Maybe the work ethics of some recruited staff do not match expectations. After the novelty wears off, some customer interest will wane. With the slow creep of discouragement, average people quit and settle for mediocrity. It’s seems a small fact that the flowers in the beds outside the office are dead. It gets easy to overlook the smudges on outgoing correspondence. You allow discontent among staff to fester. Suddenly updating the website is no longer a priority. For the extraordinary, second rate and quitting are not options. You can’t yawn and shrug your shoulders. You are the boss. Through your example, you are responsible for the energetic or toxic atmosphere in your workplace. You attend to the details. You maintain the standards. You don’t turn a blind eye to anything. If you need to find new suppliers and new employees and new ways to promote your products or services, you do that. To keep to a steady course and strive toward excellence, you may have to make improvements again and again. 12
Employees understand that your company is in business to make money. You make money by generating revenue and by looking for ways to reduce the unnecessary; especially frivolity and waste. An effective manager sets the example for employees. You can fly coach. You can eat in the company cafeteria. You don’t need a private bathroom or reserved parking space. You see litter and you pick it up. Get everyone involved. Corporate frugality is a team effort. Everyone should be engaged in looking for ways to cut costs and rewarded for sharing their suggestions. Think before you make major corporate purchases. Don’t be impulsive. Give yourself a day or two to consider the purchase and if you can still justify the item, then buy it knowing that you will use it. No one likes a cheap person. Everyone will accept a leader who sacrifices along with the troops for the good of all concerned.
Make T oday Special
You list and tackle your responsibilities head on. You embrace hard work. Every day, you choose a new challenge for yourself. You make yourself tough by doing something that is personally difficult for you to do. If you want to generate additional business, you follow up with your old clients and make the effort to reconnect. If you have been neglecting your health, today you will watch your diet and take a short walk. If you have been putting off making personnel changes, just do it. If an employee has done an exceptional job, make the small effort to publicly praise him or her. Order pizza for the office, bring a rose home for the wife and a movie for the kids. You must never allow yourself to fall into a depressing rut of sameness. Life doesn’t just happen to you. You have planned to make today and every day special. At the end of every day, you sleep well with a feeling of accomplishment.
Record Your Thoughts
You will have lots of ideas. Make a habit of writing them down. Review your notes. Have your paper and pen and pencil and marker available. Circle, underline, highlight, cross out and expand your thinking. You can’t help it. You are exceptional. When you aren’t at your desk working, you are probably still thinking about business. Take some notes. It is who you are. You are focused on success. You are always alert and aware and your subconscious mind is always churning out new ideas and new possibilities for increasing income or decreasing expenses. Your mind is focused on improving your business. What catches your eye? Is it the layout of an ad or a retail floor plan or a combination of words or colors? Is it a new piece of equipment or a website? What do you see that is efficient or smart or high tech? Record your thoughts You aren’t just a person of action. You are a thinking person of action.
Persist to Win
You will be successful. Of this, there is no doubt. You will never give up. It will never be over until you say that it is over. Keep trying. Be good. Get good. Or, give up. Any particular day may be tough and demand your best effort and concentration. To walk ten miles, you take a step and then a step. After six miles you are tired, but you take another step. After eight miles, you are in pain; you take another step. It would be easy to find an excuse to stop and few average people would blame you. Winners persevere and take another step. You face a pile of papers on your desk. You pick up the first paper and deal with it. You pick up the next paper. You want to make ten cold calls today. You make the first call. You have twenty emails to answer. You respond to the first email. Take a deep breath; suck it up and do it. Do it knowing that what you are about to do may advance your cause only slightly or have no effect at all. However, with patience and honest hard work, the rewards of persistence will burst forth or slowly emerge. Either way, you win. 16
In Business, All Are Not Equal
In business, in all countries and throughout all of history, you will find that workers are divided into three categories: 10, 70, 20. Through their own fault or no fault of their own, ten percent of workers are self-absorbed by their own nonwork related problems. It is difficult for them to concentrate on doing their jobs. Their performance is marginal at best. Seventy percent of people are average. They work hard enough to not get fired. They are risk averse, reactive and let circumstance and events shape their futures. They are content to be promoted when someone in front of them is fired, quits or dies. They spend what they make and have little if anything saved for investment. Then, there is the top twenty percent of pro-active achievers. These are self-reliant people capable of decisive action. They are ambitious. They research, study, plan and act. They dare and attempt and sometimes fail and learn and try again. They are moving forward. They are in control. They are the corporate leaders and successful entrepreneurs. 17
Average people are risk averse. They will cling to the perceived safety of the status quo. They delude themselves into believing that big companies will always be there to protect them. Sadly, many have learned otherwise. The extraordinary person accepts the fact that the real economic protection for themselves, their families and their futures lies in their self-reliance and, often, their willingness to change, to face the unknown. You are alert and aware to problems. You are working for a poorly performing company. You don’t ignore the warning signs. Sales are dropping. Your suggestions for corrective action are ignored. Get out now. Take the risk. Find another job or start your own business You are alert and aware to opportunities. Your boss at the flower shop announces that she will be retiring and selling the business. You love your job. Take the risk. Make an offer to buy the company. If it were easy, everybody, the average majority would do it. It isn’t always easy to try new things without proven guarantees. Pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone may be difficult but it can also be exhilarating and profitable. Research, plan and then take the risk. 18
On your way to extraordinary, you might be passed over for promotion. Partners and employees may disappoint you. You will lose a big deal. For no good reason, customers, clients or patients will switch to your competitors. You will introduce products or services that will fall flat and cost you time and money. You have hit the wall. Push over because all self-made successful people have been there. You are being tested. The world of business is not waiting anxiously for your amazing personal contribution. The time to prove yourself is at hand. Get tough. This is the wall. You need to climb over it. You may bang your knees and skin your knuckles. This is the price that you are being asked to pay. Pay the price. Climb over the wall. Others have gotten over that wall and you can learn from them. Without whining, second guessing or complaining, suck it up and do what you know you have to do to succeed in business. And, yes, there will be other walls blocking your path. So, get ready and get tough.
Be the Valued Employee
The status quo may be comforting, but for there to be growth, there must be change. Since you seek growth, you must seek change. You must see yourself and your environment not only as it is, but also as it could and should be. You seek the changes necessary to reach the better you so that you can play your part in being a better sportsperson and role model. First, you change yourself. Can you change your day and spend more time with your family? Can you change your standard lunch routine and take a walk? Can you volunteer to coach and mentor those behind you who are just learning the game? What are the possible consequences of not changing? Realize that many people don’t make plans because they don’t want to risk any change. Doing little with your life is much easier and safer than taking risks, but then you will be a small person. Instead, seek the changes which will allow you to be all that you can be as an athlete and a person.
Find Another Job
It may be time to look for a new job if:
Your current job lacks challenges and is boring Your co-workers aren’t achievement oriented The company isn’t ethical The quality of your products or services is declining Your extra effort is not recognized, appreciated and rewarded You and the boss’s son are vying for the same promotion The atmosphere is chaotic, tense and always in crisis mode The economic outlook for your industry is poor Upper management is jumping ship The company is not continually upgrading and investing back Of course, being an extraordinary worker, a superstar, you may be highly recruited and can’t resist the pay, benefits and perks offered by another company. Go for it.
The Wide World of Business
From anywhere in the world, as you read The Action Principles® and the How Americans Get Rich tips, you will have a positive response. You will be able to think, “yes, this is what I believe.” Yes, in Nairobi, the shopkeeper who offers quality goods and appreciates his customers is successful. Yes, in Hanoi, the salesperson who follows up with customers to be sure that the product has met their expectations is successful. Yes, in Lima, the apartment building owner who insists on a high standard of maintenance will have her units filled with happy tenants. Yes, in Sydney, the real estate agent who patiently shows a young couple twenty houses and then another twenty houses is likely to sell them a home. We may be different in very small ways but, as humans, we are remarkably the same with the same fears and dreams and aspirations. To think otherwise is a mistake. 22
Stop Wasting Time
As a business executive, you appreciate the value of time. Time wasted is gone forever. To improve your own efficiency and that of your valued staff, as well as to root out the do-nothings and the perfectionists, you should be aware of the following time wasters: Not planning or prioritizing tasks Misaligned priorities Mistakes Perfectionism Equipment failure Not listening or ignoring instructions Pointless meetings Lack of self-discipline, motivation or interest Socializing during work time Personal business on the Internet Inability to make decisions, delegate or to say “No” Procrastination Inattention or dozing off In the short run the time wasters may seem like they are beating the system. However, time waster have few friends except each other and no respect. Focused hard work is the honorable path and the sure path to success. 23
Spread Your Enthusiasm
After a few months of reading your Action Principle® and How Americans Get Rich tip every day, something wonderful is going to happen. You are going to start believing in your own wonderful financial future. After your twenty minutes of quiet time each day, you will feel recharged and ready to take on the challenges on your road to success. Enthusiasm, motivation, passion, optimism, a zest for life and a positive mental attitude fill you with energy. You will know that the only thing that stands between you and the accomplishment of your goals is a bit of time. This is really going to happen. You really are going to be financially independent. You really are going to be surrounded by wonderful family and friends. You really are going to be appreciated and respected. This is all good. Now, when you see and believe all that you can do, it is much easier to reach out and help others. Show them the potential that they have to live full lives of prosperity and peace. Smile, give, encourage, support and spread your enthusiasm. 24
Applaud the Beginner
Beginners make lots of mistakes. They can look ridiculous and they can be annoyingly frustrating. And, at one time, that beginner was us. Every self-made, successful person has had his or her own beginning. A beginner makes a rookie mistake. How does the beginner react to your correction? Does he act defensively? Is he angry, frustrated and more interested in making excuses than making amends? Remember, it would be difficult or impossible to change this type of person. Your job as a business leader is to recognize potential. Who is a good listener? Who appears to learn quickly? Who shows talent? Who volunteers? Who could you stand to work with all day? Who is a younger version of you? This is the beginner to nurture and applaud.
Give Yourself the Gift of Self-Reliance
Change happens. Be prepared. Economies are globalizing. The Internet is changing everything. If you are standing still, you may get passed by or even run over. You may be saved by the action of others. You may not. Give yourself the gift of self-reliance and you won’t be taken for granted. Take responsibility for your own career. Open your eyes and your ears. Alert and aware, prepare yourself. In the real world of business, it is naïve to believe anything except that you work for youself. You must know your industry, where it is headed and how you can profitably find your place. What are the best in your business thinking and doing? These leaders are writing and speaking and you should be reading and listening. Get involved and you may put yourself ahead of the curve rather than find yourself dragged along behind it.
Lead by Example
If all you do is talk, employees are apt to dismiss your wisdom or completely ignore you. All your motivational slogans and rallying cries will go for nothing. Lead by example. Show how it’s done. As a teacher, counselor, coach or manager, when you’ve been in the trenches, walked the talk, gotten a little banged and bruised yourself, you’ve earned the right to be taken seriously. You are a veteran and carry the status necessary to command. You don’t hide in your office. Sometimes, it is important to walk the factory floor and get out into the field. Get to know your employees, ask for their ideas and understand their concerns. This is how a leader acts.
Welcome to modern living. At any time you may encounter the rude, the crude and the obnoxious. In the workplace, you may be subject to those who gossip, cut corners and take unfair advantage. Since you are ambitious, some may be jealous of your progress and ultimate success, seeing in you what they were unable or unwilling to do. At home, your contribution may be unappreciated and you may suffer disrespect. Your first instinct is to retaliate but never retaliate in anger. Relax, release the pressure and consider your options. Is the conflict personal or permanent? You don’t want to get bogged down by pettiness. What would be your best course of action to defuse the situation so that you can move forward? You must be the example, the rock in the middle of stream allowing everyday frustrations and stress to wash by you. You do this for yourself, your employees and your family. Release the stress from your feet, legs, trunk, arms, hands, neck and your head. Breathe deeply and let it go. You may not always like what is happening but this too will pass. 28
Listen to Your Instincts
As your knowledge base grows, you instinctively know what will work and what won’t. There may be family pressure to hire your troubled bother-in-law. You know this is a bad idea. You are a business person and not a social worker. Find some other way to help him. Do not hire him. You drive by an old building and you immediately see this building transformed into your next successful business location. While others are skeptical and hesitant, you know it will work. You observe an enthusiastic young woman working at your local coffee shop. When a customer has a problem, she smiles and solves the problem. When business is slow, she finds chores to do. She is a good worker. You make her an offer to work for your company. Many times you don’t have to do lot of soul searching. You don’t have to call a committee meeting before you take action. You get the facts. You know what to do. You feel it in your gut. If you do feel it, know it, then go ahead and do it. Odds are, you’ll be right.
To push yourself beyond your comfort level is a must as you travel up the ladder of success. If it were easy, everyone would do it. If it were easy, the rewards for success wouldn’t be as pleasant. Average people don’t want to push or be pushed. They are content with the sameness of today being like yesterday. If you want to take the easy road, you will find many to support your reasoning. Because you validate their own inaction, average people will agree with your choice to delay or avoid. You put your name forward for that raise or promotion. You are that somebody willing to take the risk of starting a business. If ten customers tell you no, and you still believe, you ask another ten. Understand that no one wants to face rejection again and again. Yet, it is persistent effort that separates winners from losers. You may not succeed immediately. You may take a few lumps as you move along the learning curve. However, with each challenge faced, you gain strength.
Style and Attitude and Work Matter
Following The Action Principles , you can be a waiter
or a taxi driver or a shop keeper or a contractor or a commissioned salesperson and achieve financial independence by working hard and investing. An exceptional man or woman will succeed at any business any where. They always have. They always will. It is a style and an attitude. It is having a goal and working passionately toward that goal. The ambitious young office cleaner with a plan to building a building maintenance company is a much better prospect for financial and personal success than the depressed middle age lawyer whose office he is cleaning. The man of confidence wearing a two hundred dollar suit will look much better than the slouching weakling in the two thousand dollar suit. Stand tall, smile and get busy.
Donald J. Trump Businessman
Get T ough
Toughness is pride, drive, commitment, and the courage to follow through on things you believe in, even when they are under attack. It is solving problems instead of letting them fester. It is being who you really are, even when society wants you to be somebody else. Toughness is knowing how to be a gracious winner … and rebounding quickly when you lose.
Donald J. Trump
For a nation, toughness means avoiding complacency, meeting and solving problems head-on, while keeping the big picture in mind at all times. In business, toughness means playing by the rules but also putting those rules to work for you. It is looking at an adversary across the desk and saying, simply, “No.”
Buying and Selling Businesses
You don’t have to crush your competitors. Since there is usually enough new and underserved business to go around, the odds are that you can peacefully co-exist with others in your industry. Not always, but at times, there may be opportunities to share ideas and ways to combine your strengths for mutual benefit. Perhaps on your path to wealth, it may be advantageous for you to acquire your competitor’s business or, at some point, to sell your business to your competitor. Since there are economies to be gained from greater size, successful businesspeople are always thinking about investing and divesting. When you are known as a capable, honest and respectful businessperson, these opportunities do materialize. In business and in life, if you are following The Action Principles® philosophy of self-improvement and service to others, you probably aren’t going to be working forever. This is the plan. You may wish to retire early and have the time and the resources necessary to fully develop your special talents to better the world. 33
You exercise and watch what you eat and how you dress and how you treat others. You study and work hard. You are a listener. You are a volunteer who is generous with your time and resources. You delay gratification and invest. There is no secret to your success; you have more because you do more when more is needed. Be proud of who you are for good reasons. You are a demanding employer. You set the bar high for yourself and you expect the same from your workers. You are ambitious and goal oriented. You are a leader in your industry. You employ a staff that wants more than being ordinary and they expect and receive above average compensation. Many employees can’t stand the pressure of working in a competitive, dynamic work environment. These average employees, often working just hard enough to not get fired, perpetually waiting for the next paycheck, can find employment elsewhere. Take joy in doing an exceptional job. Be proud of yourself and your company or keep changing until you are. 34
The United States Marines are a rapid deployment force. They train every day to face all types of scenarios. When a dangerous job has to be done quickly, the generals frequently call them. The Marines have to be ready to fight anywhere under any conditions. They have to be adaptable and decisive. Marine battle planners look for a seventy percent advantage and then they go, go, go. In combat, you can’t plan for every possible eventuality; you’ve got to take action and adapt to the environment and the circumstances as you find them. In business, you have to train every day to be prepared to meet the challenges of the marketplace. No one is going to come up to you and hand you a bag of money. You have to plan and take decisive action. Don’t over analyze. Don’t procrastinate. You can become a perfectionist. Take action. Do what needs to be done and get it done.
Three Rules for Business Success
You can spend years in business school studying complicated economic theories. You can search the world for hidden secrets. Or, you can start a business and get to work. There are three simple rules required of all successful businesses: 1. Offer a quality product or service that the market demands at a fair price. 2. Appreciate your customer. Say thank you. Ask for more business. 3. Copy success. Find the leaders in your industry and do what they are doing. If possible, make them your mentors. You can do more. You do not need to do more. Very simply, as an alert and aware consumer, you already know what characteristics make a business successful. Don’t fool yourself. Simply start and continue to do what you know you should be doing.
You can take advantage of customers who aren’t knowledgeable or particularly sophisticated. You can cut corners on your products. You can recommend unnecessary services. You can be deceptive in your advertising. In the short run, you may think that taking advantage is an advantage. In the long run, others will have noticed your duplicity and may plot against you. You will be rich but reviled. Eventually, many will relish your demise. It is much better to be a serious person who takes his business seriously. It is much better to live by a code of honor and core values. You can decide to set the standard for your industry and maintain your core values. You can feel good about who you are and how you earn a living. Your word and your handshake should mean everything. You know the right thing to do.
As a successful person, there will always be demands on your time from competing interests. As a successful person, your natural inclination will be to try to do more. However, there comes a point when enough is enough and when you must save yourself and say, “no.” If you are overworked, need sleep and are stressed and angry, your efficiency and productivity will diminish. Your health will be affected. All those forced to be around you will suffer. At times, you’ll need to leave work alone, forget the email, put away the cell phone and just retreat to where you can find your own way to relax. You need days off and you need vacation time. Whether that’s playing golf or sailing or lying on the beach or gardening or doing nothing, do it. Naps aren’t only for children and meditation isn’t only for monks. Find your calm center where you can recharge your batteries. The work and the problems and the opportunities will all be there tomorrow.
Love Many Things
Being a successful businessperson, you can find a lot to love. You can love the high standard of living resulting from your hard work. You can love the feeling of power that self-reliance gives you. You are in control. You can make the choice to take early retirement, develop your special talents and build a solid financial estate, laying a smoother road for your heirs to follow. But, success in business can mean more than money. You can love the opportunity to be a leader to your employees and a positive example for those in your industry. You can love the challenge of creating and building your business. You can love the feeling of pride that comes from offering a quality product or service to your valued customers. You can love that you are providing good jobs, benefiting the local economy and community while allowing your workers their chance to live happy and productive lives.
Rather than trying to reach everybody, many with little or no interest in your product or service through traditional mass media advertising; newspapers, magazines and television, you might be much more effective by finding online niche markets. Introduce yourself and company to the individual websites and blogs and reporters with a specific interest in your field. Find ways for those with influence to sample your product and talk about it. Start the buzz. You can never be all things to all customers. All customers are not always right. Some have unreasonable expectations. You are in business to make money. Sometimes your better course is severing ties with a perpetually disgruntled customer and finding a new one. Not all employees are created equal. Some bring to the workplace personal issues far beyond your control to correct. You are in business to make money. Sometimes you have to make personnel changes.
Maintain Your Presence
You are a successful business person with a nice house, car, clothes and jewelry. You have diplomas and awards. However, it is not the trappings of accomplishment and wealth that will bring you respect. It is your confident presence that says that you belong where you are. You have strong quiet, hands and steady eyes matched with a gentle smile. You act naturally and relaxed. You are curious, open minded and a good listener. You willingly share your enthusiasm and good fortune. You work hard and you appreciate those around you: employees, vendors and your customers. You have studied your business inside and out. You have nothing to prove or defend. Praise or criticism does not affect you because you know who you are. You are like a steel bar wrapped in cotton. You are a proud example of a leader.
The Business Doesn’t Matter
The business that you choose doesn’t matter. There are five thousand different types of businesses and people have gotten rich from all of them. You can sell wine in Buenos Aires or tires in Nairobi or arrange lunch dates in Yokohama. There are wealthy lawyers in Cleveland and prosperous sports therapists in Moscow. The moral is that if the business doesn’t matter you should choose something that you love doing. When you love your work, work doesn’t seem like work. The business doesn’t matter but your style and attitude do matter. The motivated cab driver in Caracas will make more money than the lazy lawyer in Caracas. With The Action Principles® and the three simple rules of business as your guides, you will soar far above the average.
Appreciate Your Appeal
Likeability is an important business asset. Consumers have a choice to whom to give their money. Let them give you their money because they like you. As much as possible, learn your customers’ names and use their names when you see them. Greet them with a smile and a warm handshake. All of your customers should be continually reminded that you appreciate their business whether that’s selling pizza, fixing their car, selling their homes or teaching them yoga. Always, follow up. Your appeal pays dividends. Satisfied customers know you, trust you and are the easiest to sell additional products and services. Satisfied customers are also your best source for testimonials and referrals. Be charismatic. Appreciate your appeal. Enjoy the profits.
Develop Your Sense of Humor
Business is serious. You need to make money to pay your bills and for investment. If you have employees, you are obligated to stay financially solvent for them as well as yourself. What’s funny about this? Probably a lot. You will experience weird customer requests, orders that are completely bungled and misinterpreted directions. There are times when all you can do is throw your hands up in the air and have a good laugh. And, sometimes good humor is the best method for getting everyone back on track. It’s great when the boss knows how to take a joke on himself. Together as a team, you work very hard to get an important job done. When you are finished, you exhale in relief, let the tension go, feel good and you want to laugh. This is the basis of camaraderie. Everybody should go for a meal together to celebrate. There are times to be serious and there are times when you can lighten up. Let’s not fool around here. Well, maybe just a little. 44
Ross Perot American Business Leader
Create a Winning T eam
You can do a lot by yourself but much more by assembling a winning team. Start by being the example. Be ready to work harder than anyone else. Accept that all people have strengths and weaknesses. Understand that talent comes in all shapes, sizes, races, religions, and both sexes. Be aware. You are always looking for talented, enthusiRoss Perot astic people to hire. Surround yourself with people who accept challenges and aren't afraid to carry more than their own weight. Seek people who are smart, tough, self-reliant and who hate to lose. Look for people who were achievers since childhood.
As you must keep training and improving, give your employees the same opportunities to develop and hone their skills.
Build employee loyalty through fair dealing. Let employees know that you appreciate their efforts. Reward them. With good news or bad, keep them informed and in the loop. Make everyone feel that they are a part of an important team doing honest work. It is much more cost and time effective to retain loyal employees than constantly hiring and training new employees. You need your core of loyal veteran workers to set the example and lead the way for new hires. Most consumers are not natural risk takers and will remain loyal to brands that consistently deliver a quality product or service. Thank them. It is much more cost and time effective to keep existing customers satisfied than to search constantly for new business. It is easier to sell to a loyal repeat customer than to try to sell to someone new. Loyalty is a two way street. To get it, you have to give it first.
Advance Your Career
You are a self-reliant, take-charge person on a mission to build your career. You have your goals and objectives and to-do lists. You know who you are and where you are going. Good things will happen because you make them happen. You don’t sit still and hope that some lucky opportunity will befall you. You are hard working and opportunistic. You are alert and aware. To get ahead, you can read business books, blogs and journals. You can take courses and join and participate in trade associations. You have identified the leaders in your industry and you know what they are doing. From your research, you know what it will take to reach the next leadership level of responsibility and income. Self-promotion is a good thing. Let your bosses know that you aspire to greater things. Always be on the lookout for people who can advance your career, such as: executives, teachers, partners, consultants, vendors, politicians, clerics, financiers, investors and other businesspeople. Seek their counsel and ask for their help. Listen, and thank them. This is how you’ll get ahead. 47
How to Delegate
You can get more done with others’ help, which means learning how to delegate assignments. This will help you to concentrate on what you do best and allows you to think, plan and improve organizational efficiency. You assign tasks that are cost and time effective for others to do for you. You also delegate tasks that employees can do better than you. Match the right person to the right task. Precisely explain your expectations for the task. Establish a realistic completion time. Be sure the employee understands the requirements and due date. Ask the employee to assume responsibility for the task. Encourage feedback if problems arise. Periodically, follow up. Say thank you.
How to Manage Projects
Unaccomplished people are aimlessly content to watch their lives drift by. This is not you. You have specific projects to manage and complete as you steadily progress along the path to your ultimate career success. For each specific project, ask yourself these questions: Exactly what has to be done? How important is completion to me and/or the company? Who is responsible for completion of the project? Is there a start date or a deadline? What is the estimated time allocated to complete the project? What is the cost and is sufficient capitol available? Besides money, what other resources are needed? Which team members are needed to complete the project? Do all team members understand their specific tasks? Is there any flexibility in the completion of the project? How will progress be monitored? How will final completion be measured? When you have these answers, you will be on the road to project success, which is your success.
Develop Your Special T alent
There is something special about you that makes you one in ten thousand. You have a special talent which, if used, will better mankind. The vast majority of people never find the time or have the resources to identify and develop their special talent. This is sad. This does not have to be you. In the corporate world, you are going to rise quickly to the top twenty percent of your profession. You will know what your leaders do and how much they earn. It will be your goal to join this elite group. With your work ethic and core values, your entry is almost guaranteed. If you own your own business, you are even better positioned to define your own financial future. You will have the time and the resources necessary to find and develop your special talent.
You learn all you can about your product and your customers’ needs. You learn all you can about sales and you find the leaders in your industry. To find the superstars in your industry, read your trade publications and identify all trade websites and blogs. Join all applicable trade associations and participate in meetings, seminars and conventions. When you find suitable role models, take them to breakfast or lunch. Find out what they are doing and do what they are doing. Ask and listen. What are their thoughts on where your industry is headed? What do they see as future challenges in the industry? Who were your role models’ role models? And, maybe most importantly, what would they do if they were you? This is called copying success. Don’t be shy about asking for advice and networking assistance. Most successful people will be flattered and not annoyed by your attention. Of course, you must follow-up with a thank you and this is also copying success.
Develop Winning Habits
Every day, you stop to think about where you have been, where you are now and where you are going. What can you do to make more money and advance your career? You work from a prioritized to-do list. This list helps you to separate the urgent from the important from the routine. Every day, you look for small ways to challenge yourself and spoil yourself. No one knows you better than you. Be honest with yourself. No one is perfect. There are personal areas that need improvement. Should you be dieting or exercising or reading more? Should you be spending more quality time at home with those who truly love you? Today is day one of your thirty-day quest to develop a new winning habit. At work, what tasks are you avoiding? Should you be cold calling or following-up or soliciting new business or making personnel changes? Today is day one. In this defining moment, you can choose to invest one month in the formation of new, positive habits and become a better, happier and more successful person.
Every company relies on its sales force. All the jobs in the company depend on the sales force’s ability to sell. A person who can bring in business is a very valuable asset. This is why sales people are highly paid professionals. Most people can’t do this job. They can’t work alone. They can’t knock on doors. They take rejection personally. If you have the courage to talk to customers about buying a quality product or service at a fair price, your fortune is make. You don’t need advanced college degrees, partners or venture capital. You are among the elite. You are your own business. You have all you need – you. If you can understand and accept the following little reality of marketing, you can be a successful commissioned salesperson. “Some will. Some won’t. So what? Next.”
Accept Hard Work
You know and accept the value of hard work. Because you are goal-oriented, you don’t need a lot of motivating. You want to work at work. Many people don’t work very hard at work. Some people are productive only half of the time. The rest of the time they are engaged in nonbusiness activities. Almost all jobs have tedious or arduous aspects to them and it’s human nature to avoid these more difficult jobs, even though these are the tasks which may be the most productive for the company. The salesperson doesn’t want to take the extra time to explain the extended warranty. The auto mechanic is too busy to follow-up and check if his customers from last week are satisfied. The real estate agent doesn’t want to show a house on a Sunday night. What others avoid can become your opportunity to profit. Over time, this willing to work harder and attend to details can make a big difference in your career advancement and ultimate success. Appreciate that some may praise your hard work while some, especially less ambitious co-workers, may resent your willingness to do more than is required or expected. You have accepted hard work. 54
The Boss is The Rainmaker
In a small company, someone has to bring in the customers. Guess who? It is the boss who has the responsibility of making it rain with a steady stream of business. The owner of the landscaping company may enjoy mowing lawns but someone has to find the lawns to mow. The law office needs clients. The chiropractor needs patients. The caterers need functions. If you own a house painting company, you may want to work on the crew but your real job is knocking on doors and always, always trying to get the next job. If you own a restaurant, you may fancy yourself a chef but your real job is to make samplers into regular diners who will also recommend your great food to all of their friends. As the boss, until your business is well established, your primary function, perhaps your only function, will be as the rainmaker. Without customers, you have no business.
Communicate with Ease
Body language is important. Before you ever open your mouth, your body is communicating your interest and your power. Stand up straight. Keep your chin up. Take a deep breath and relax your body from the top of your scalp, forehead, eyes, cheeks, mouth, chin, neck, shoulders, torso, arms, fingers, legs and toes. Breathe and relax. Smile. Have a comfortable yet firm handshake. Introduce yourself. Listen and don’t interrupt. Nodding your head shows that you are listening and are interested. Keep your hands open and exposed. Respect others’ personal space. People who are in agreement with each other will usually be mirroring each other’s moves. Before a big interview, speech or presentation, you can mentally rehearse and practice, using the theater of your mind. Plan what will you wear, how will you sound, how will you stand and sit and how will you be warmly received. When you are giving a presentation, create a better rapport with your audience by coming out from behind the podium. Make your speech short and conversational. Don’t preach. Tell stories. 56
Helping T roubled Employees
One troubled employee can poison a work environment for everyone. If an employee becomes self-absorbed by his or her own personal, outside problems, you can have compassion and you can offer some therapeutic suggestions but individuals must solve their own problems. You are running a business. As an owner or manager you must remain aware of all of your leadership obligations. Be fair but be firm and, for the sake of all, don’t allow the situation to fester or linger. Act sooner rather than later. Have a personnel policy in place to deal with troubled employees. At the first sign of concern, bring the employee into the office and have him read the policy. Answer his questions regarding his rights and responsibilities. He should understand that he will be treated with respect in turn for respecting your role in the counseling process and his possible termination. You must be alert, aware, compassionate and decisive.
Imitation before Innovation
See what others have done. See what you can do. In general, when starting your own business, you are an entrepreneur and not an inventor. You want to research and stick closely to the tested. If it works, don’t fix it. Copy it. When you invent something, you double your challenges. You first have to convince customers that they want your new or better something. Then, even if you succeed at the convincing, you have to make them buy from you. After your business is established, there will be plenty of opportunities for you to innovate and try new ideas. Again, this is best done after your business is established. As you think about entrepreneurial opportunities, don’t forget any networks or connections that may give you an advantage in starting your own business. Did you acquire skills working as a child in a family business? Can you take over an established family business? Does your uncle or your neighbor or your brother-in-law or a former classmate have connections to assist your business? There is a proven path to follow. Follow it. 58
How to Choose a Partner
A partner is someone joining you on your journey to financial independence. You should expect that your partner would be a professional who would support The Action Principles®. Allow these core values to provide a framework for working together. The idea is that you both stand to achieve more with the help of each other. You have complimentary skills. You will meet regularly and exchange information in a supportive environment of mutual respect and trust, always offering each other objectivity and positive reinforcement. You should feel secure when bouncing ideas off your partners and you should never feel hesitant to push one another. Select a partner whose style and attitude is compatible with your own. If you are an ambitious hard worker, your partner should be likewise. There must be a shared vision and a comfortable balance of power. Partnerships are a two way street. Good partnerships are a blessing. Partnerships that go bad can be a nightmare. Choose wisely and benefit.
Invest In Your Future
Regardless of their annual income, average people spend every dime with nothing reserved for retirement. They hope that their companies or the government will take care of them in their old age. Average people think in terms of immediate gratification, wanting what they want now. A self-reliant person thinks differently. They are forward thinkers. They realize the time value of money and how sound investments made today can have a compounding return tomorrow. Average people typically work forty hours a week and feel satisfied and exhausted. Self-reliant workers typically work fifty hours a week and use the extra twenty percent in income to invest in a mutual fund or real estate or in their own businesses. The rewards of hard work and investing can be powerful. Average workers without investments may have to work until the day they die. In marked contrast, selfreliant workers may be in a comfortable financial position to retire in only a few decades. Average people will wonder, but too late, how the selfreliant accomplished what they did. They will assume it was through inheritance or luck and they would be wrong. 60
Kirk Kirkorian kept building Las Vegas hotels into his nineties. Summer Redstone was one of the most influential men in Hollywood into his eighties. The average age of Untied States Senators and Supreme Court Justices is nearly seventy. These men and woman love their jobs. You may love your job enough to never retire. Or, maybe not. It’s tough to launch a singing, writing, acting or artistic career, but not if you are young, rich and retired. Volunteers can assist with many problems in the world. It’s easier to give your time if you already wealthy. Maybe you’d like just to relax and play golf or be more involved with your grandchildren. These are nice options for those with sufficient investment income. Retiring early doesn’t just happen. If you work for someone else, early retirement might never happen. However, if you work for yourself as an entrepreneur, early retirement can be your specific goal. You will work hard for fifty or more hours a week for twenty or thirty years. Invest, sell the business and retire. This is the plan. It is a young person’s plan to make.
Anyone can be hard working and motivated for a little while, but only those with faith can sustain their efforts for the long haul. Only those with faith will try and try again. Will your new business succeed? Will your investments prove wise? Will you retire early, and will your special talents be developed and recognized? Have faith. When you venture out beyond where average people are comfortable, when you dare and challenge and test the status quo, you will meet many doubters. Some doubters will be your family members, trying to protect you. Some will be skeptics who are jealous of your courage and your willingness to take risks. Some will be pessimists who always look at the bad side of everything. You may need a thick skin to listen and then, proceed anyway. Have faith in yourself. You research, observe and study. You have seen what others have done and you see no reason why you can’t do the same. Persist. Believe in yourself. Go for it. Have faith. 62
Your Core Values
As a successful businessperson, a self-confident individual and a decent human being, you will: Embody professionalism Perform confidently Face fear and danger Accept adversity Work hard Focus on results Remain alert and adaptive Take responsibility Lead by example Commit to self-improvement Seek knowledge Maintain a positive outlook Stay faithful and loyal Display honor and integrity Act respectfully Volunteer selflessly 63
How to Build a T eam
To build a strong business team, each individual must subscribe to the principle of putting the team first. Each must be willing to make occasional personal sacrifices, respect one another and share the credit for the greater good of all. The team’s mission must be outlined and understood through clearly defined goals. Individual strengths must be identified and appropriate roles assigned. Responsibility and accountability must be accepted. Ideas, suggestions, reasoned criticism and questions must be encouraged. Those with experience must be willing to teach and assist beginners. Everyone commits to doing his or her individual best to work to a high standard. Consumers have a choice. Everyone should take a personal and team pride in beating the competition and being the choice. When mistakes are made and business is lost, everyone should band together to figure out what went wrong, salvage what you can and make amends. Then pull together to leave the past behind and move on to new challenges.
Look in the Mirror
Look in the mirror. You are who you appear to be. Do you see an Action Principles® Champion? Do you see a tough, thoughtful spiritual person of action? Do you see a fit, confident person capable of taking immediate action to achieve a worthy goal? You should. Like what you see, or change until you do. First impressions are lasting and all impressions are important. You must know what characterizes the style and attitude of a winner in your profession. Whether you are a soldier, farmer or bank president, you can look well groomed, well dressed and confident. Your manners should be impeccable. Go through your trade publications, stay alert at industry meetings and find the people who have already done what it is that you want to do. Copy them in manner and dress. When you are successful, others will turn to you as the good example. Look the best that you can look. What is your best hair style and fashion style? Are you too flashy or too plain? Ask knowledgeable friends you trust. Set the example. Keep improving. Be yourself, your best self. 65
You are what you think about all day long. You have the free will to choose who you will become. So, think of yourself as an Action Principles® Champion, a tough, thoughtful, spiritual person of action. See yourself as a successful businessperson, a leader in your industry. See yourself earning in the top twenty percent of your profession. See yourself as a hard worker with enough money to pay your bills, live comfortably and still have 15% - 20% extra to invest. See yourself as appreciated by your family and friends because you are strong and confident enough to be selfless. See yourself as a respected member of your community. See yourself having enough to give back to those deserving who are less fortunate. Now, stop imagining and do it.
Your word is your bond. When you make a promise to a customer, you will do everything in your power to deliver what is expected and more. You will do your best to offer the highest quality goods and services, which means not just perceived value, but real value to your customers. When customers put their trust in you, you will never betray that trust. You will give honest recommendations; whether that means more business for you or not is not relevant. You will be truthful. You will lead and insist upon on a team effort to provide a clean, safe work environment where all employees can prosper. You will probably be so successful in business and investing that you will have the option of early retirement after twenty or thirty years. You will still build your business for the longer haul based on honesty and integrity. Your good name and your solid reputation will be held sacred.
Focus on Your Strengths
You are not some little grey man hiding at a desk in the corner trying to avoid notice and additional work. Your strength is that you know what you want to accomplish. You are the person who will stand for what is right. You are consistent. Others know what to expect of you. You have goals and objectives. You have a personal mission to complete. You are determined to make your one life meaningful. Your strength is that you are willing to learn. You will find the leaders and in your industry and you will listen to them. You will read books related to your industry, surf websites and will participate in trade-related blogs. Your strength is that you are an ambitious, hard worker who will concentrate on the difficult aspects of your job and who will, when necessary, volunteer Your strength is that you are not greedy. You don’t grab more than you need. You are able to step back. You will share. Focus on these strengths. They put you among the elite. 68
Rarely will you find a perfectly smooth straight road to financial success. More likely, the road will be curved, with plenty of pot holes and boulders to avoid. You will be delayed. Your faith may be tested. With the best of intentions, you will risk and fail. Many around you will be quick to say, “I told you so.” It will be perfectly natural for you to second guess your own decisions? Did you do the right thing by choosing the more difficult path? It would have been so much easier just to have just stayed at home. No one expects you to be more than you expect for yourself. When you hit a wall, it will be easy to quit, as most do. It will take courage to be a contrarian, to carry on and persist. You may try again and still meet defeat. Now, you may feel crazy to keep going. If you are making the same mistakes again, you are crazy. However, if you are learning from your mistakes, then, with courage, you will become a seasoned veteran and your persistence will pay off. Have, courage, face your fears and do it.
Sandra Day O’Connor Former Assoc. Justice of the U. S. Supreme Court
The habit of always doing your best regardless of how unimportant the task is a habit of the successful. As Abraham Lincoln once said: “I always prepared myself for the opportunity I knew would come my way.” As his career attests, devotion to excellence in all things, even when it seems that the world will little note nor long remember the small tasks in which you find yourself engaged, can have its rewards. Sandra Day The individual can and does make a O’Connor difference, even in this populous, complex world of ours. The individual can make things happen. It’s the individual who can bring a tear to our eyes and cause us to take pen in hand. It is the individual who has acted or tried to act who will not only force a decision, but have a hand in shaping it. Whether the individual acts in the legal, governmental, or private realm, one concerned and dedicated person can meaningfully affect what some say is an uncaring world. So be a full participant in life’s opportunities. Aim high. If you strive for excellence you can and should have a substantial impact on the world in which you live. 70
Run the Short and Long Roads
Today is the short road. Your life is a succession of days. You must do your best to make the best of each day. You don’t have to wait for a promotion, to get married or to graduate. You can decide to be positive, optimistic and happy today. Success is not a distant goal. Success is lived today and every day. Starting today, you can make the choice to tackle something personally challenging that you have been avoiding. You can decide to change poor habits into winning habits starting today. Do it and feel good about doing it, today. Your future is the long road. Your future will be based on the decisions you make today and live every day. You can decide to be fit, well groomed and well spoken. You can decide to be well read. You can decide to work hard and share. On the long road, the cumulative effect of good days will be a wonderful life of respect and accomplishment.
Know your business. What is your Unique Value Perspective [UVP]? Your UVP is the single compelling reason why a consumer would choose your product or service over your competitors. Know your target audience. No business can be everything to everybody. Focus. Find your niche and the media that targets your niche. Talk to your customers about their preferences. Talk with and not at your audience. Know your brand. Your logo, colors, slogans, stationary, website and advertising should be simple and direct. They should compliment each other. At a minimum, it will take 7-12 consistent impressions before you are noticed and more to be memorable. Know the media. Do your research. Find the leaders in your industry and design your advertising campaign around their online or offline strategies. Keep it clean and honest. If you have to worry if your message is in good taste, it isn’t. Set measurable objectives. When you produce an ad that delivers the desired result, keep running the same ad until it stops working. Satisfied customers are your best advertising, so ask for testimonials and start the buzz. 72
Close the Door on Regrets
Smart people still do a lot of dumb things. Successful people still make a lot of terrible business decisions. The building that you didn’t buy or the domain name that you didn’t register or the excellent worker that you didn’t hire could all be big regrets. With hindsight, you might want to shake your head in disbelief at how good those missed opportunities look now. Well, you can kick yourself forever, or you can simply get over it. You can learn from the obvious signs that you missed and do better at your decision making the next time. The important point to remember is that you aren’t a bystander who will never know victory or defeat. You a player in the game and you have had successes. You can’t do everything, but you can and have done something. Stop to look at all that you have accomplished. Close the door on regrets. The past is the past; time moves on. Stop looking back and keep looking forward.
Raise Your Prices
Being an entrepreneur, you can’t be shy. If you want more, you’ve got to ask for it. Raise your prices. Raise your prices and be seen as a premium brand in your industry. Bargain hunters will balk at the price increases but bargain hunters are probably not your target audience. If the bargain hunters are also cheapskates, they will grumble about everything and, in most cases, produce the lowest profit margins. Let them go. You want to deal with the consumers who insist on dealing with the best. Raise your prices, give yourself a raise and then prove that you’re worth it. Follow the advice of the luxury goods maker, Gucci, “Quality is remembered long after price is forgotten.”
The Typical American Millionaire
The typical American millionaire actually has a net worth of $3.7 million and an average annual household income of about $250,000. He is a fifty-seven year old married male with three children. Eighty percent are first generation affluent, have a college degree and are still working. Eighteen percent have master's degrees. Eight percent have earned law degrees. Six percent hold medical degrees. Six percent are Ph.D.s. The majority of millionaires never received even a single dollar in inheritance or any money for college. Ninety-seven percent own a home. Two-thirds of millionaires work for themselves. Most are entrepreneurs who own their own businesses. Two-thirds of millionaires work between 45 - 55 hours per week. Half of millionaires’ wives work and most are teachers. Most invest 15% - 20% of their income. There are over eight million millionaires in the United States. 75
Act With Boldness
If you want to be in the elite, you have to be self-reliant, make a plan and execute that plan. Every day will bring you one day closer to your goals. If you like your job, figure out how you can advance your career and act. If you dislike your job, figure out an exit strategy and act by getting another job or starting your own business. If you are a business owner or salesperson, remember these ten important words: “Know your customer; know your product; ask all to buy.” Rich people own real estate, so figure out how you are going to raise downpayment capital to acquire investment real estate. If you have to work fifty hours per week rather than forty, you are prepared to do that. You do what you have to do. Average people waste a lot of time. If you are well organized, you can work to pay your bills. You can work to raise money for investment and manage your investments. You will still have time to fulfill your family, social, health and spiritual needs. It takes a plan. It takes a will. It takes sacrifice. It takes boldness. 76
Aim for the One Percent
Success writers from Napoleon Hill to Anthony Robbins have freely admitted that most people will never read their books and, of the few who do, only one percent will ever take the action recommended. One Percent! What about the other 99%? Good, bad or indifferent, the 99% simply continue to do what they've always done: the easy, the convenient, the known and the predictable. The status quo, which means “things as they are,” has an extremely strong pull. Routines are hard to change. You may make a change and, then, have to change again and once again. You will feel the pull drawing you, tempting you back to your old ways of easier days. But, as the U.S. Navy Seal Commandos say, “The only easy day was yesterday.” What do you really need? If you are in the elite top 20% of achievers, you should attain all of the material wants and needs for yourself and your family. You will enjoy a comfortable life. By aiming at the top one percent, the top twenty percent will seem like a very easy target to hit. 77
Do What You Love Doing
There are a few people making a lot of money as professional soccer stars. There is an entire world wide industry of people making a good living from the sport of soccer. They are coaches and trainers. They are salespeople who sell equipment. They are: announcers, writers, photographers, promoters, advertising reps, groundskeepers and team executives. If you love soccer, you should be able to work in the field as many people do. You hate being a bus driver but you’d love being a portrait painter. You don’t like working in a hardware store and you’d love working in a bird sanctuary. You made a mistake going to law school because you’d love being a personal trainer. Would you love to be an actor or arrange adventure travel trips or design jewelry? There are people successfully doing all of these things. When you do what you love, work doesn’t seem as much like work. You have one life. Find the work you love and go for it.
Appreciate Your Customer
People have money and they choose how to spend it. As a businessperson, your success relies on your ability to convince them to choose to spend their money with your company. When they do choose you, smile and be appreciative. As a consumer, you know how successful businesses operate. You know that too many businesses treat you like they are doing you a favor. Every day, you may encounter the grumpy plumber, the disinterested clerk or the rude secretary. The larger the company, the more detached the employees may be from service to the individual customers. This is a mistake and a sign that the large company may be losing touch and business. To build your customer base, listen to your customers. Pay attention to complaints. Make good on mistakes and reward loyal customers whenever possible. Thank them for their honest input. Keep reminding yourself that without customers, you have no business. Appreciate the customers you have.
One hand washes the other. You are not a monk living alone in a mountain cave. You are a businessperson in the real world. You need to form satisfactory relationships and connect with lots of people: customers, suppliers, shippers, technicians and even competitors. It should be a long list. All networks begin with you as a strong link. You should make a solid impression on those linked to you. Think likeable, competent and helpful. Networking is a two way street. You get what you give. If someone gives you a prospective lead, he will expect you to reciprocate. Don’t make people have to guess what you do and what you’d like them to do for you. Speak up. Be able to explain clearly what you do. Hand out lot of impressive businesscards. Ask for the business. Ask for testimonials and referrals. Join trade associations. Become involved in local business groups. Volunteer for committees. Learn who the powerful people are in your community and court their support. Cultivate relationships. Practice remembering names. Keep in touch. If people smile when they see you enter a room, you are a good networker. 80
Hiring, which is giving people money, is a lot easier than firing, which is taking money away from them. Hire slowly. You want to hire people with the right qualifications for the right job. You want workers who will comfortably coexist with present staff. Ideally, you want new workers to be smart and hard working. They should not need a lot of hand holding and can either hit the ground running or learn quickly. You want front counter staff to be pleasant and accommodating. You want sales people who are knowledgeable and ambitious. You want customer service employees who are problem solvers and who follow up. You want executives with good communication skills who will get up from behind their desks and lead. Frequently, your best new hires will come from the recommendations of existing employees and from your own networking. If you want the best, you have to be the best yourself. When you have acquired a winning staff, you want to retain them by offering competitive salaries, benefits and perks. Between the first and second interviews, ask prospective employees to read The Action Principles®. What do you think about what they think? 81
There is a difference between laying off and firing an employee. A laid-off employee is released for business rather than personal reasons. The business may be in a slump or the employee’s position may have become redundant. This person may be given an excellent reference, severance package and grace period to find a new job. You fire employees for personal reasons. These workers may have been involved in unsafe, deceptive or dishonest practices. Their image or manner may be unprofessional. They may be missing during work hours or, have shown repeatedly that their job performance was unsatisfactory. The termination should not come as a complete surprise. The fired employees should have received prior written warnings regarding their behavior or performance. Normally, a final warning will carry a thirty-day grace period to correct the problem or be terminated. Do not disparage the problem employee. Call him to the office and be short and to the point. Explain benefits to which the employee may be entitled and how references will be handled. He should be escorted to his work area to collect personal items and immediately escorted out of the building. Document everything. If you expect trouble, have a witness present. This is a difficult part of a manager’s job. Don’t linger. Do it. 82
The Example of Wal-Mart
Here is the ethical behavior expected from those who work for the world’s largest retailer, Wal-Mart: 1. Follow the law at all times. 2. Be honest and fair. 3. Never manipulate, misrepresent, abuse or conceal information. 4. Avoid conflicts of interest between work and personal life. 5. Never discriminate. 6. Never act unethically, even if someone else tells you to. 7. Never ask someone to act unethically. 8. Seek assistance if you have questions about ethics. 9. Cooperate with any investigation of possible ethics violations. 10. Report ethics violations.
Jack Welch Former Chairman of General Electric
Arrogance is a killer, and wearing ambition on one’s sleeve can have the same effect. There is a fine line between arrogance and self-confidence. Legitimate self-confidence is a winner. The true test of self-confidence is the courage to be open – to welcome change and new ideas regardless of their source. Self-confident people aren’t afraid to have Jack Welch their views challenged. They relish the intellectual combat that enriches ideas. They determine the ultimate openness of an organization and its ability to learn.
How do you find them? By seeking out people who are comfortable in their own skin – people who like who they are and are never afraid to show it. Don’t ever compromise “being you” for any job in any institution.
All education is ultimately self-education. Keep repeating this fact to yourself and you may save yourself a lot of educational time and money. The job of the teacher is to guide and motivate. You must do the studying. You must make your diplomas and degrees worth more than the value of the paper. Going to a prestigious university used to mean that you had privileged access to the world’s best teaching. You had an advantage. Those days are gone forever. Today anywhere in the world, a motivated student equipped with broadband can get a better education than a lazy Ivy League student. Your life must be a never ending thirst for knowledge. You are curious to know how and why some people get rich. You question why civilizations rise and fall. You try to understand why happy people are the way they are. You want to know lots of things because you want to do lots of things. You read. You listen. You question. You hang out with smart people. You learn. You contribute. You are proud and confident in your self-education. 85
Ask a Lot of Questions
You are a clerk working in a bank. You want to be the head teller. There is no book to tell you how to do this. You must do your own research, observing operations and asking a lot of questions. This is your career. There is no time to be shy; ask. When you are the head teller, you want to be the manager and then the president of the bank. You have a lot of questions to ask and a lot of listening to do. Based on the information you receive, you will take action. You are a student taking a course. Average students sit like stone statutes in class trying to avoid making eye contact with the professor. You are the opposite. You are asking lots of questions and tailoring the course to suit your objectives. There is no such thing as mental telepathy. People are not mind readers. If you want something, ask. Most successful people are happy to assist enthusiastic students who approach them with respect and say thank you.
The lives of the greatest people ever to walk the earth have been documented. From Confucius to Caesar to Jesus to Leonardo Da Vinci to Abraham Lincoln to Mother Teresa, their lives, their style and their attitudes have been researched and recorded. Why and how did they do what they did? You can choose to read all about it and be inspired From all countries and in all times, there were heroes who shaped the world. Who are your heroes? Who are the people who have already done what it is that you now want to do? Learn about them. There were also dictators and despots but we can be grateful that the good of the human spirit usually does triumph. You can read the history, heed the warnings and stand on guard. As a business person, you are lucky. Besides biographies, most famous business leaders have written autobiographies to show you the way to achieve your own success. The work is there. In the libraries, in the bookstores, on the web, it is there. All education is self-education. Take advantage. 87
Be Open to New Ideas
The implementation of knowledge is what separates you from the average and is a straight line to your success. Average people are waiting in hope that good fortune will find them. You, an Action Principles® Champion, are not waiting. You are identifying the next step toward your goal and you are taking it. You aren’t afraid to hear the truth and learn. Talk to your customers and vendors. Go to local business meetings and industry conventions. Read your trade publications and blogs. Listen to your mentors. Learn from your competitors. We are at the dawn of a new Industrial Revolution. The business world is changing at lightening speed. If you snooze, you lose. Find out about the new products and services being offered by the innovators in your industry. Stick to your three basic business principles but also look for new ideas and ways to adapt those ideas to further your enterprise.
Heed the Warnings
As an Action Principles® Champion, you will be curious, always researching and learning. You will have lots of ideas. Many of these ideas will be good and will improve your business and advance your career. However, some of these ideas will be bad, some very bad. Heed the warnings. You spend a lot of time and a lot of money opening a new location. You have high hopes but hope doesn’t pay the bills. After a few months, you realize your error. You made a mistake. Yes, your wallet may be lighter and your ego may be bruised. Do not throw good money after bad by trying to save a failed strategy. Even the best and the brightest make mistakes, lose time, lose money and feel humbled. If you find your products are inferior or your staff is leaving on masse or your few customers are complaining, heed the warnings. Pull the plug. Bite the bullet. Take your medicine. Get out. Be real. Be smart. Be tough. Survive to succeed another day. Heed the warnings.
American Business Slogans
Ford. Built for the road ahead. Pontiac. We are driving excitement. Chevrolet. The heartbeat of America. Cadillac. Creating a higher standard. Apple. The power to be your best. IBM. Solutions for a small planet. U.S. Marines. The few. The proud. U.S. Army. Be all you can be. N.Y. Times. All the news that’s fit to print. Verizon. Make progress every day. Microsoft. Where do you want to go today? Visa. It’s everywhere that you want to be. Hallmark. When you care enough to send the very best. Gillette razor. The best a man can get. Walt Disney World. Make the dream come true. Holiday Inn. No surprises. Wal-Mart. Always low prices. Target. Expect more. Pay less. Home Depot. Where low prices are just the beginning. 90
Read, Read, Read
There is one significant characteristic that separates smart people from the crowd. They read. The average person reads one book a year. This is a very good reason why the average person is going nowhere fast. If you are going to set a new goal for yourself, make that goal to do a lot more reading. Read every day. Never waste time. Never be bored. Never be alone. A-B-A-B, Always Bring A Book. Educate yourself. Everything you need and want to know is in books, e-books, newspapers, magazines and on the web for you to read. Read forty books on a subject and you will be a world authority on that subject. Read forty books on small business. Read forty books on real estate investing. Read forty biographies. Read forty books for pure enjoyment. No excuses. Smart people read. Read.
Write Your Elevator Pitch
Imagine being caught in an elevator alone with a top executive from your firm or that one client that you’ve been trying to reach. What would you say? Many times you will have an opportunity to expand your network by pitching new prospects on exactly who you are and what you do. Your favorable first impression must be professional: simple, direct, impressive, interesting and brief. Hence, you need an elevator pitch. You have two minutes; 80 – 200 words is a good length. Write your elevator pitch before you need it and keep rehearsing it until it sounds warm, friendly, conversational and unrehearsed. What do you do? How do you do it? What is your Unique Value Perspective that separates you from the average? What benefit will the listener derive from further association with you? Move quickly from who you are to how you can help them. Your objective is to exchange businesscards and, perhaps to arrange a follow-up communication. It may take you a few tries to get the proper words and tone. You may want to write different variations for different prospects and situations. All the writing and editing and practicing is worth the investment. 92
A Few Important Words
Good manners open doors and are welcomed anywhere. Be sure that your manners and language are impeccable. It is easy to say, “Please,” and “Thank you.” Say them. It may be more difficult to say to say, “I’m sorry,” and “May I help you?” and “What do you think?” Say them anyway. You establish an immediate, positive rapport with people by remembering and using their names and the names of their spouses, children and company. Be that one person who will step forward, volunteer for a hard job and say, “Take me.” Remember the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Live by these important ten two-letter words, “If it is to be, it is up to me.” Any time you give your word, mean it. That’s important!
It’s good for you, your family, the world and your business’s bottom line. Being environmentally conscious can be referred to as eco-capitalism, sustainable business or simply called going green. Many small businesses have reported energy savings of 20%-30% simply by becoming more conscientious. This means adopting measures, such as using more energyefficient lighting, turning down the thermostat, turning off lights, and recycling. Being green is a team effort. Encourage everyone to participate. Buying new appliances is a smart strategy, since many new models are significantly more energy efficient. Easy first steps might be using water filters rather than plastic water bottles and reusable coffee cups rather than polystyrene foam cups. Making electronic copies rather than hard copies and using email more than snail mail are good options. Choosing to drive hybrid corporate vehicles is an increasing popular corporate choice. Supporting vendors who are supporting the environment is always a smart idea. Today, half of all consumers don’t care about green but this number is changing as people become more aware of man’s impact on Mother Earth. The good news for businesspeople is that half of their buyers do care and half of that number or 25%, a huge niche market, would specifically select a product or service because it was environmentally friendly. 94
Start a Business Now
You can’t just think about starting a small business. At some point, you need to take action. You need to find a way. Here are some suggestions: You can start a business at home. You can start a business on the Internet. You can start an eBay business. You can start a business with a mall cart. You can start a business on the street. You can start a business at swap meets. You can start a business at flea markets. You can start a business with garage sales. You can start a business by sub-letting part of a store. You can start a business part-time. Expand your thinking. You can put yourself in business as a taxi driver, waiter or commissioned salesperson. Find yourself a lawn mower, and start knocking on doors. With the mindset of an Action Principles® Champion, you can start many businesses right now! Select choices over excuses. 95
Thank Your Ancestors
Whatever country you are from, whatever race, whatever tribe, whatever religion, give thanks. You are a survivor. You come from strong stock. Your ancestors weren’t weak or lazy or stupid. Your ancestors were strong, hard-working and intelligent. They survived. Over the last decades and centuries and millenniums, living was difficult. Yet, your ancestors dodged all of the arrows and bullets, bowed when they had to bow, fought when they had to fight, met all of the challenges of getting food, clothing and shelter. They survived. If you are an Action Principles® Champion, you will feel obligated to honor your ancestors by working hard and adhering to your core values. You will be a strong link, furthering the course of mankind by continuing to improve as you survive. Do good work, live an honest life and pass it on.
You can’t become so preoccupied with your own work that you presume that others are doing their jobs. You’re the boss and supervision is an important managerial responsibility. Do the employees appear cheerful and helpful and ready to help or bored, rude and self-involved? Are customers greeted with a hello when entering the store? Are customers thanked following a purchase? Are the employees attractively and appropriately dressed? Is an apology offered if a customer has had to wait or for any other inconvenience? Do the employees appear knowledgeable about what they are selling? Do employees care enough about their jobs to offer feedback? Do employees make an effort to increase sales for the company by suggesting complimentary items or upgrades? Following your continual observation, you should immediately take corrective or supportive action. In private, give suggestions or warnings to employees needing remediation and in public, praise exemplary behavior. 97
Go for the BIG Fish
Tf you are fishing for minnows, chances are you’ll catch only those little fish. If you want to land the big fish, you’ve got to go where the big fish swim and have the correct bait. Some salespeople sell house trailers and some salespeople sell shopping malls. The sales volume of your entire house trailer selling career might not equal the sale of one shopping mall. Don’t sell yourself short. You may be destined to succeed in the big leagues but you have to put yourself in place to make the big deals. Copy success by finding the people who are making the big deals. Start hanging out with them and looking like they look, sounding like they sound and doing what they are doing. You may find your best prospects while playing golf at the country club, enjoying the museum, and having a power breakfast at the right restaurants. You may look like you belong if you drive the right car, wear the right clothes and carry the right accessories. This is not all superficial. It is how big business is done. You want to be at right place at the right time to make your elevator pitch for your next big deal. Somebody is going to make the next big deal, why not you? 98
Magnify Your Effectiveness
As a successful businessperson, you accomplish a lot and with a personal assistant you can do even more. An assistant frees you to do the more difficult parts of your job, that twenty percent which is often the most productive. An assistant can free your time, helping you reclaim more of your personal life. Hire an assistant carefully because you will be spending a lot of time with this person. This person represents you. An assistant’s style and attitude are at least as important as an impressive resume. You can teach an assistant your job. You can’t teach someone to be intelligent, pleasant, well mannered, ethical or hard working. The best time to hire an assistant is before he or she is needed and not in the middle of a crisis. During the interview process, you must clearly outline your expectations with a detailed job description. Are you hiring someone to answer your email or willing to pick up your dry cleaning or both? How many late nights or how much travel may be required? The right assistant is a valuable asset who will magnify your effectiveness. 99
Deal With It
As an Action Principle® Champion, you won’t be a business owner without problems. You will be a business owner who knows how to deal with the problems you have. How serious is the problem? Is it permanent or personal? Can you handle the problem yourself or should you enlist the support of others? Have you dealt with a similar problem in the past? How would your heroes and mentors resolve this problem? Use your quiet time to clarify the exact problem, eliminate extraneous aspects and develop possible strategies. Begin by precisely defining the problem. Analyze the problem from different perspectives. Consider solutions. Brainstorm, if necessary. Project the consequences of different strategies. Choose your best option and take decisive action. Review, follow-up, adjust and move on. Don’t let small problems linger and fester into unmanageable crises. Take the lead. Make a decision. Deal with it. 100
Don’t be left behind. Modern technology is evolving quickly making the entire world your marketplace. Get the right hardware and software and stay in tune with the changes. What are the best and the brightest innovators in your industry imagining and doing? It’s probably something that’s wireless and probably involves video. Sites like YouTube and Facebook and MySpace are creating social networks of thousands, sometimes millions, linked through a common interest or event. Be there. Start some international buzz. Yesterday, the Internet was the secret world of the nerd and the hipster. Today, your company website or blog or podcast can reach potential buyers anywhere from eight to ninety-eight. The world is listening. Say something.
Invest in Commercial Property
If you are an entrepreneur, you are in an excellent position to supercharge your financial plans. You can buy commercial property, a store, retail block, office building or warehouse for your business. You will have an investment with a great tenant, you. As an Action Principles® Champion, you aren’t content to work in a jewelry store or muffler shop or beauty salon when you can own the businesses and the real estate. The retiring employee may be left with little. However, with ambition, forethought and action, the retiring entrepreneur/real estate investor may be wealthy. It is not unusual for a retiring entrepreneur/real estate investor to find that the value of his commercial real estate investment far exceeds the value of his business investment. Be smart; it’s great to have both investments. In your local business networks, being alert and aware, you may find up and coming entrepreneurs. Perhaps, you can be their commercial real estate link and secure solid, long term tenants for your properties. If you are living in a foreign country, study American companies, such as Starbucks and McDonalds. Contact these companies, find their location requirements and offer your local expertise as a commercial property developer for their franchisees. 102
Start Your Revolution
Gandhi said of the revolutionary, “First they ignore you. Then, they laugh at you. Then, they fight you. Then, you win.” Starting your own business, you are a contrarian, a revolutionary. Every business starts with one person’s idea that sounds crazy to the risk adverse. But, you will dare to challenge your status quo. You will research, and find the supporters and the money to proceed. You will persevere as you are banged and bruised along the learning curve. Through trial and error, ever self-reliant, you eventually win. Of course, once you succeed, everyone will swear that they were on your winning side from the beginning. See what others can’t. Do what others won’t. Succeed like few others.
Become an Action Principles® Champion
Champions are working together in an international effort to change the world. Please join us. As a person of influence, online, offline, in print or on your blog, if you can interest others in reading and discussing The Action Principles®, thank you. If you can advertise this non-profit work on your website, thank you. And, don’t forget to write and post your own Action Principle®. The Action Principles® have been translated into over twenty languages. If you have the expertise to add to this list, please do so and thank you. Also, we need assistance to translate the “How Americans Get Rich” segments and to subtitle our video lessons. If you work for or own a business willing to advertise in or sponsor a printing of The Action Principles®, thank you. Not everyone has Internet access, so we distribute tens of thousands of Action Principles® books each year through schools, churches, correctional facilities and social agencies. Your donations are needed and appreciated. We welcome your promotional ideas and your hard work. Visit BillFitzPatrick.com for further information. Thank you.
Your One Life
You are an Action Principles® Champion. Because of who you have chosen to become, in business and in your personal life, you are an accomplished person. It is your blessing to share your resources and time with those deservedly in need. Having more, while wanting and needing less, is life enhancing. Success allows you to free yourself from the endless treadmill of consumerism. It is liberating. You are free to be happy. Money will be a smaller reward of your success. You will receive gifts that money can’t buy: love, appreciation and respect. This is to be your legacy. You worked hard with what you had. You shared. You made a difference. Your one life was exemplary. Your one life was important.