"Every action we take, everything we do, is either a victory or defeat in the struggle to become what we want to be." ~ Anne Byrhhe
It's not that times are changing. It's that times have changed.
No question, it is now a hyper-competitive, "survival of the smartest," results-driven global economy where business success or failure is a life or death matter. You are either going to be counted amongst the QUICK... or the DEAD.
There is no longer a middle ground where you can choose to just get by.
It's your choice. And a simple choice at that.
Choose to THINK strategically... ACT tactically... and EXECUTE brilliantly and, over time, you will WIN the golden game of business.
Consistently make SMARTER choices... and take SMARTER actions... you will turn your companyinto a full-fledged gold mine... with the potential to prosper for generations. You will die old and successful by every measure: wealth, power, happiness and influence. Your life MATTERS. You have made a huge difference in the lives of your family, stakeholders, customers and community.
Your Contribution is Legendary...
One beautiful sunny day, you will cut the ribbon to your newest digs. The warm gentle breeze is flowing through your hair. People around you are smiling ear to ear. The band is playing "Start Me Up" as you pass the golden key to the Mayor... and she opens the doors with great flourish and fan fair. The crowd goes nuts as the Mayor hands YOU the golden keys to the city.
You silently think to yourself, with pride coursing through your veins, "We DID IT! The road was rough, filled with potholes every mile of the way. But we not only persevered... we prevailed. We WON."
A young reporter comes up to you and asks a simple question, "Just HOW did you DO IT... growing so fast and all?" That knowing smile of yours turns into a full blown belly laugh. "Kid, you're asking the WRONG question."
"We still have lots of runway ahead. Lots of dreams that need to be realized. The future ain't dead and neither are we! We're still blowing and growing," you retort.
As you walk away, you look around and soak the moment in. "This is the big WHY," you think to yourself. "Too bad the kid didn't ask me the million dollar question."
You slip behind the wheel of your new, baby blue Bentley Continental GT, fire up the 560 horses and do a slow drive by — just to make sure everyone knows The Boss has left the building.
Clearly, you have won the golden game of business, and are asking yourself the golden question that got you to the top...
What's Important NOW...
What's Important NEXT?
Yes, you won the golden game of business by learning the rules... learning to think like a winner... to constantly THINK WIN WIN... by constantly asking the single smartest question any business person can ask, "What's Important Now... What's Important Next?"
You're SMART... Very SMART!
You learned to ask this question a hundred times a day. You taught it to every employee because you knew that to make it, you had to THINK strategically... ACT tactically and EXECUTE brilliantly.
Yes, you learned the rules of the game... and know them by heart.
You planned to WIN... and were always one step ahead of the competition.
You played to WIN... fully expecting to earn the prize... regardless of circumstances, happenstances and difficulties.
You get it. This is the "smarts" behind every man or woman who ever played the game of business expecting to win it. You took to heart the sage advice of every champion who ever played the game, "Either play to win or don't play at all."
But, what do you think happens to people who just dabble at their businesses, especially in this day and age? People who do not take either their opportunities, competition or their problems seriously?
How does the story roll out — where people stop growing, personally and professionally? What happens when they drift aimlessly on the winds of change... with no way to ground themselves and their decisions?
What do you think happens when these people wake up one day and realize that they are just going through the motions... making business as usual — good enough is good enough — status quo decisions?
How does THAT success story turn out? It doesn't have a happy ending, that's for sure. At the very least, you will be left wishing and wondering what went wrong... not living large as you had hoped and dreamed.
Put yourself in their shoes.
One day you walk up to the front door of your business... one last time... with the cold north wind biting into your shaking hands. You turn the key one last time. As you feel the tumblers click, you look through the window with longing regrets.
Your head is aching. Your heart is breaking.
With tears streaming down your cheeks, all you can think of is the haunting line from Whittier's most depressing poem, "Of all sad words of tongue and pen... the saddest are these; 'It might have been'."
It might have been. Words that will forever haunt you.
You turn around one last time and think to yourself, "What went so wrong with our beautiful dream? What could we have done differently?"
You want to scream. You want to tear your hair out. But you wipe that last tear from your face, and quietly ask the question every person who has ever lost at the game of business has silently muttered...
Unfortunately, the answer is not echoed back to you. Instead, you hear the gail-force winds rushing through the trees. The noise on the street drowns out the noise in your head.
The gloom is overwhelming. Dark, foreboding clouds thicken the air. But not as gloomy as you feel inside. "Not even a stray ray of sunshine... what a rotten day," you mumble under your breath.
Cold, it is bitter cold. Even your breath is a frozen mist as it falls like a white powder to the ground below your feet. You look around and it seems like time has stopped. You hear what sounds like a foreign voice screeching from beyond the din.
"You're still asking the wrong question" the voice seems to say... "You're still asking the wrong question" is reverberating, echoing softly — bouncing off your thoughts and feelings.
You look around to see if anybody else heard the ghostly voice. Nope, just people going about their business without a care in the world... not for the cold... the wind... or the pickle you are in.
Ok, you think to yourself, "If that's the wrong question, would you be kind enough to tell me what the right question is?"
You listen, but the answer does't come. You listen harder, waiting and wondering if you, in your moment of weakness, are "just hearing things."
You turn the corner, walk towards your car and you hear it. Loud and clear this time. The voice is unmistakable.
Mick Jagger? WOW!
Then you realize it's a couple of old fogies racing down the street in their new Jaguar XJ with the radio blaring...
You can't always get what you want... You can't always get what you want... You can't always get what you want... but if you try sometimes... you just might get what you need.
"Crazy... crazy... crazy. This is NUTS," you think. This is all so meaningless.
But then you stop and realize that the voices might be trying to tell you something... but WHAT, you haven't a clue.
You slump into the drivers seat of your 15 year old "beater," fire it up, and it creaks onto the highway. You push the button on the radio, but only one station lights up... golden oldies from the 80's.
A coincidence? I think not.
It's Bob Seger and The Silver Bullets singing Roll Me Away. You pump up the volume and start thumping on your well-worn steering wheel.
You get it. You're screaming the lyrics at the top of your lungs... surprisingly in tune and hitting the high notes... feeling the rush of singing high-harmony with the boys in the band...
Stood alone on a mountain top,
starin' out at the Great Divide
I could go east, I could go west,
it was all up to me to decide
Just then I saw a young hawk flyin'
and my soul began to rise
And pretty soon
My heart was singin'
Roll, roll me away,
I'm gonna roll me away tonight
Gotta keep rollin, gotta keep ridin',
keep searchin' till I find what's right
And as the sunset faded
I spoke to the faintest first starlight
And I said next time
We'll get it right
"Next time... We'll get it right!"
Bad day, but you feel better. Maybe there will be a next time. Maybe I can WIN, the NEXT time.
You're now filled with a little hope, where just half an hour earlier, it was utter devastation and despair. You start to wonder, if "What am I going to do now?" is the wrong question, what should I be asking myself?"
You slowly start to realize, "maybe if I had asked that question a couple of years ago, a little more frequently, things might have been different... things might have turned out very differently."
Now, you are starting to THINK, "The wind says that's the wrong question to ask... Mick says I will get what I need... so that next time... next time I'll get it right."
You pour yourself a strong one, sit down in your favorite chair and begin the process of healing. Still wishing and wondering.
Wondering what went wrong. Wishing for a happy ending.
You LOST the game of business, of that there can be no doubt.
But you tell yourself, "Next time, I'll get it right."
But what happens if there is no next time?
What will you tell yourself then?
The simple truth of the matter is that, until you learn to THINK strategically... ACT tactically... and EXECUTE brilliantly there may not EVER be a next time. This may well be your ONLY chance at winning the golden game of business.
So, let's get it RIGHT... this time!
In a nutshell, it means asking yourself SMARTER Questions... which lead to SMARTER choices... which lead to SMARTER actions... which leads to GREATER success for you and your organization.
Our over arching MISSION is to make you instantly SMARTER about your business... helping you develop the business savvy to turn your dreams and visions into substantial WEALTH... and have a lot of FUN doing it.
As you will soon see, SMARTER BUSINESS means maintaining maniacal strategic focus on the 3 Prime Directives that drive business success... and unwavering tactical focus on the 10 business-critical Functions that all successful businesses must perform to grow to the pinnacle of entrepreneurial greatness.
All that is left then, is for you to EXECUTE brilliantly!
As a subsidiary of ThinkTQ.com, the worlds leading publisher of virtual training products for personal and professional excellence, we have developed the tools, technology and systems to help you quickly master the issues you now face.
In fact, we use a process called "Teaching Through Testing" that gets us down to the nitty gritty real fast, helping you SEE exactly what you KNOW... what you don't KNOW... and precisely what you must DO differently to achieve all your dreams and goals. From there it is easy to get the specific, on-point HELP you need to maximize your STRENGTHS and eliminate your WEAKNESSES.
Over the years, we have found that small businesses needlessly fail for all the wrong reasons. Not for lack of trying. Not for lack of effort. Not even for a lack of important resources.
They fail for 3 principal reasons: First, they do not fully understand the RULES of the GAME; second, they do not PLAN to WIN, so it's really game over before it even gets started; and third, they fail to PLAY THE GAME TO WIN.
Until now, small to medium sized businesses have not had a way to TEST themselves against a Gold Standard of Business Excellence — so they have no clue what to CHANGE... what to MAINTAIN... and exactly what they must do DIFFERENTLY to gain traction and momentum.
What else could explain a 44% three year failure rate?
Sure, there are lots of little "qualifying" or "should I go into business-styled tests", but no one, until now, has created a comprehensive evaluation of the forces that CAUSE business success... or a true measurement of the dynamics surrounding real "Businesses Intelligence".
So, we have created the world's first and only serious, comprehensive and credible test of your Business Intelligence... with the objective of giving you a crystal-clear Strategic Plan for immediate improvement.
In totality, we rate your business smarts based on some 417 specific "action" points of reference. We probe and prod harder than a Mercedes Benz mechanic who, purportedly puts your car through thousands of tests per second after he hooks up the harness to the car's data port. They can tell, with incredible precision, exactly what's running right... what's wrong... and what you need to immediately fix if you want to keep racing down life's super highway.
Yes, we take TESTING very seriously.
Why? Because it is the FASTEST and EASIEST way for you to learn how to MASTER the game of business.
Do you have the pure drive to build a multinational
company serving over 10 billion customers... all with an idea
hatched on the workbench in your garage?
Put simply, if you do not know the RULES of the game, you cannot play the game to WIN.
If you do not play the game to WIN, you will never live up to your full potential.
If you don't live up to your full potential, you will never achieve your dreams and goals.
So, how can anybody be sure they know the rules — and are working as smart as they can — unless we put them to the test? (This means YOU!)
While successful businesses have been built using the tired old "TRIAL AND ERROR" method for centuries, times have changed and there is a smarter way.
Today, there is NO room for error. No room for a "spray and pray" shotgun approach to business. No room for the "throw spaghetti up on the wall and see what sticks" strategy... or WORSE... the Same-O-Same-O, this is the way we have always done it — and if it was good enough then, it's good enough now — mentality.
By creating a simple to follow, Functional approach to business development, we are making it vastly EASIER for you to succeed... by giving you the rules of the road up front, and providing you with the tools you need to out-smart... out-hustle and out-perform your competition every step of the way... leading you to the success you desire... faster than any other, "other way"!
Ultimately, our MISSION is to make management instantly SMARTER about their businesses... reducing the overall business failure rate... and increasing the survival rate by a full 25% over the next two years.
Our GOAL is to add back $3 Trillion Dollars to the global economy in the next two years by giving businesses (just like yours) the greatest stimulus ever conceived: An 80 point increase in their working intelligence!
By giving you the tools, process, technology, people, experts and systems to quickly identify, isolate and pinpoint the exact forces holding you back from building a highly successful business.
No question, once you can SEE what needs to be done differently you can take smarter actions to move your business along the continuum to true and lasting success. If you never SEE what's standing between you and the success you desire, you will never take the actions required to circumnavigate it. You will waste a lot of time and money running in circles... and ultimately suffer the fate of so many who start with great intentions but finish burned out, stressed out and flat out of business.
Yes, we have a huge VISION, driven by powerful VALUES which puts us in a powerful ROLE — with highly innovative products — to decrease the business failure rate... thereby immediately increasing the success rate.
Our stated Mission is nothing short of moving you up the food chain from Stage-1 Start Up... to Sustainability... to Stage-2 Profitability... to Stage-3 Grow-ability... to Stage-4 Greatness.
As you will learn in considerable detail later in Book 2, businesses go through four unique Stages on the continuum to long term success. Think about where you are right now...
Stage-1 — SUSTAINABILITY: Your business has moved beyond Start Up, cash flow negative, hand-to-mouth subsistence and has mastered the FUNdamentals. While not yet consistently profitable, it has moved from stable to sustainable, because your income over the long run is more than enough to cover your expenses. Management has proved that it is capable of getting and keeping customers.
Sales maybe somewhat erratic, but you have products/services that people naturally want to buy. Your management team is actively engaged in talent, as well as new product/service development. Business is ok, and you have high hopes that it will become a lot more fun sometime soon. Actually, you feel like your dreams of working for yourself, more freedom and financial independence are on the cusp of being realized.
While there are many reference points on the Sustainability continuum, the toughest for most businesses is movement from the Start Up phase... to basic Subsistence (where your minimum needs are being met)... to Stability where you are continuously improving your chances at success. By the end of this continuum, you hit the sweet zone where your business is truly Sustainable. There is enough to meet your needs and keep you in the game... probably forever!
Stage-2 — PROFITABILITY: Regardless of the size of your gross income, you have a business that actually generates a net taxable profit from day to day operations. Management has found the secret to getting and keeping customers... and doing it profitably... where your paycheck is fully covered, your bills are paid on time and all REAL costs are being met. Everyone on your staff is getting paid what they are worth... including you! You are providing WOW customer service, and loyal customers are telling their friends to do business with you. Financial, operations and administrative management is in place sufficient to service the current needs of the business.
Profitability is something of a sliding scale notion where there are not just shades of grey, but shades of all the colors in the rainbow! The concept is quite simple: take in more Total REVENUE than Total COSTS, and you will be profitable. The big issues are matching Revenue to Costs... accounting for the real Costs... Opportunity Costs... timing of expenses and of course, business continuation issues like long term capital investments, brand building, new product development, etc.
Put succinctly, at some point in time, there needs to be MORE top line Revenue coming through the front door... and LESS bottom line Costs running out the back door. Ultimately, all 10 Key Functions come into play in building a profitable enterprise. But, depending on your individual circumstances, we will suggest a few ideas to quickly move you through this Stage so you can actually GROW your business.
Stage-3 — GROW-ABILITY: Your business has mastered the day-to-day fundamentals. It has, through automation and strict cost and performance controls, turned every business process into a hardwired system that allows you to duplicate your success. You are now highly profitable and management is constantly looking for new avenues for growth, expansion and development of new products, services and/or locations. You have excellent financial management in place, a positive and high internal cash flow, and funds available through lines of credits or cash reserves to move the business up the ladder of success — either through organic growth, newly invested capital or through Mergers and Acquisitions.
Businesses at Stage-3, by definition, know how to GET customers in highly profitable numbers. They have created intriguing customer retention systems and reward their customers for their business. In short, they KEEP their customers returning to them regardless of the competition. Finally, they have mastered the knack of MAKING MONEY, and lots of it.
Two guys with an IMPOSSIBLE idea: Index all the information in the known universe and make it instantly available at the click of a button.
Do you have the startup smarts of a Google?
Stage-4 — GREATNESS/VITALITY/SALABILITY: Your business has an unstoppable Strategic Plan with tremendous management bench strength. You have learned to fully exploit both your comparative and competitive advantage. You have grown to a prominent position within your industry. You have several great choices. You can aspire to build a business that is VITAL, FUN, EXCITING and makes a real difference in people's lives. Think Google, Apple, The Body Shop and the like. Or you can take advantage of numerous options to sell up or sell out... from a merger with another business... to an IPO... or an employee buy-out, with highly skilled leadership teams who will continue to operate the business in pursuit of its true mission.
Over the years, we have found that there are 2 distinct — totally different — types of business people. To find true success, you need to know which you are:
The Personal Income Maximizer: Also known as the SOLO-PRENEUR... MOM-PRENEUR... POP-PRENEUR... a man or woman with a good idea, occupation, talent or profession who is self-employed and owns a business for the purpose of making as much MONEY as possible from his or her efforts.
Profit MAXIMIZATION is the objective... not entrepreneurial greatness. You might have lots of employees... or just you and a helper. You might have a private practice where you want to optimize billable hours. You might have a local shop of some sort, but want to extend your reach globally. You might be a small coaching, marketing or consulting company who wants to significantly expand your client pool... bringing in new business from every corner of the world.
The name of the game is M.O.N.E.Y., and how to make more of it. How to use every precious minute in your day to harvest greater RESULTS that quickly get turned into hard dollars.
While your strategies and tactics will be decidedly different from The Business Builder, the principles to WIN your game are exactly the same:
The Business Builder: A man or woman on a MISSION who intends to actually BUILD a business... to grow it... to nurture it... to expand it... with constant innovation, and a vision of entrepreneurial greatness... joining the ranks of the self-made billionaires on the Forbes 400 list.
This person is constantly looking for new locations, more people, bigger opportunities, better systems... a person CONTINUOUSLY looking for an EDGE to WIN against towering competition. Clearly, they PLAN to WIN... and PLAY to WIN. They play HARD... but mostly... they play SMART... constantly honing their Business Intelligence.
The name of the game is M.O.V.E.M.E.N.T., and how to move up to Stage-4 Greatness — as fast as you can — to become the next Apple, Microsoft, or Debby Fields Cookies!
No question, your strategies and tactics will be very different from the person who just wants to maximize income. Your challenges are greater... but so is the reward. In the end, the principles to WIN your game are exactly the same:
Solo-Preneur or Business Builder, our Mission is exactly the same: To give you the tools to radically improve your Business Intelligence... to give you a systematic methodology that leads directly to a smarter business doing business smarter... to turn your company into a real gold mine.
No question, given the sad state of the global economy, our Mission is, at best, "challenging" and at worst, "impossible." Probably every bit as "impossible" as Google's Mission of "indexing all the knowledge in the known universe and making it instantly available at the click of a button." However, we are emboldened with this quote from the most positive and proactive person we have ever met... Dr. Robert Schuller, Sr. who opined...
"It all starts with an impossible dream."
As you will learn in chapter 4, we believe that businesses needlessly fail for all the wrong reasons. In fact, in many cases, the businesses that failed could just as easily become tremendous successes... had management:
1. Understood the 3 Golden Rules of Business Success...
2. Planned to WIN, and...
3. Played to WIN.
Business is a game of inches, not yards. While the game never get's any easier, it does become fun. It is a game where, once you master the fundamentals, you start seeing a never-ending flow of new opportunities that are there to be seized.
We know that you may have heard ABOUT this stuff all your business life. Yes, everybody KNOWS ABOUT the game and what they should do to win it.
But, the question becomes, "Do you really KNOW it all... or just KNOW ALL ABOUT it?"
Do you truly KNOW the rules... KNOW how to maintain a winning Strategic Plan... and KNOW how to play to win? Do you KNOW how to show up each day with the full expectation that it is you and your company that will beat the competition to the prize?
You too may THINK you know all about the forces driving your successes and failures.
Here's where we start earning our "gold medal. We are going to make 100% certain that you TRULY KNOW THIS STUFF... and can apply it.
You are the key to us achieving OUR Mission!
Herein, you will learn a fresh new approach to the age old problem of what drives one business to succeed... and drives another into bankruptcy.
If we can, in fact, help you make SMARTER choices... and take SMARTER actions, , we BOTH win!
You make a lot of money... and have fun doing it.
We make it easier for you, and every business like yours, to win.
And we, of course, make a lot of money... and have fun doing it!
So, the big question you have to be asking yourself right now is, "How can you do that?!"
The answer is incredibly simple.
In a strange way, the QUESTION is the ANSWER. If we can get you and your team to ask SMARTER Questions... by default... you will get SMARTER Answers.
As you will learn in the following chapters, there are just a few "Golden Questions" — real Business IQ Boosters — that you will learn to weave into your daily thinking.
Do this, and you will always be able to answer the Strategic, WIN WIN Question: What's Important Now... What's Important Next?
You will take SMARTER actions NOW because you always know what you are going to do NOW... in the moment.
You will become incredibly business savvy by always having a NEXT immediately at hand... to always know how you are going to Win the Golden Game of Business by taking the NEXT most powerful action.
You will start to THINK like a winner... with the full expectation that, every day you will snatch victory out of the jaws of defeat. You will beat your fieriest competitor to the punch, snatching away their customers before they even know what happened.
Yes, we are going to raise your Biz IQ a good 80 points... giving you off the charts street smarts... off the charts decision making capabilities... and off the charts power to turn your company into a highly productive gold mine.
We are going to make good on Alan Kay's incredible observation that:
Ultimately, you will WIN the golden game of business simply because you have the power to THINK strategically... ACT tactically... and EXECUTE brilliantly.
You will think and perform differently because you know the RIGHT questions to ask... at every point in time.
You will be asking the RIGHT questions at every point in time, because we are going to RADICALLY change your point of view... not to mention your view point as well.
Follow along, because we are going to deliver exactly what we promised: A fresh new approach to winning the game of business.
After all, you didn't think we were going to leave this vitally important conversation up to reading tea leaves, listening for meaning within the rustling of the wind, or boom-box street smarts from tuning into your favorite rock, rap or country station?!
No, there is nothing particularly mystical about what we are doing.
But, with that said, we WILL do something that most people would find indistinguishable from pure MAGIC. We are going to greatly SIMPLIFY the process of business success.
We are going to go well beyond what we promised. We will give you a whole new way of THINKING — so you can gain a powerful edge in your daily battles to win the game of business.
Albert Einstein was absolutely right...
"You can do what you want to do, accomplish what you want to accomplish, attain any reasonable objective you may have in mind — not all of a sudden, perhaps not in one swift and sweeping act of achievement — but you can do it gradually, day by day and play by play, if you want to do it, if you work to do it, over a sufficiently long period of time." ~ William E. Holler