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Where is your next big client? Picking a pond is important.

Posted by Doogie Levine

Let’s continue where we left off last week, where we talked about bringing the big-company mindset into your business and your team. Having a big fish mindset will help you overcome the mental obstacles that will keep you from being successful. 

Now that you’ve learned how to overcome that, we’re going to identify who is our ideal big fish. It’s essential to know about the fish you are looking for before you put a plan together. We’re also going to take a moment to talk about the potential “red tape” you may encounter along the way.

It is important to know a few things about your fish. All people and companies have habits, and it essential to be able to identify them. For the sake of this article, we will talk about the most important habits for you to identify. These habits are their purchasing habits, procedures, and company culture.

Purchasing Habits 

  1. Fiscal Budgets: 
    1. It’s essential you know the fish’s fiscal budget, so you know exactly when they are planning their expenses for the year. Knowing this information allows you to tailor your plan to approach them just at the right time.
  1. Current Fulfillment Partners
    1. Spend time identifying who they are buying from already. Your goal is to understand why them and not you. 

Procedures

  1. Responsibilities: 
    1. You need to know who has influence over purchasing, who does the actual buying, and who can kill a deal if they want. 
  1. Purchasing structure
    1. Besides knowing who the decision-makers are, it is important to identify the company’s desired sales process. For instance, do they want an RFQ or RFP, an estimate, etc.?
  1. Get on Their List: 
    1. You need to know how to get on their list of people to buy from. Your name needs to be on the list but at the top of it and in as many categories as possible for more interaction. Ask about a procurement program and what you need to do to go through the application process.

Company culture

  1. Lingo: 
    1. You need to learn the company’s unique language and communications methods. These could include report names, buzzwords, and even the nicknames they have for their employees.
  2. Values
    1. Take the time to identify the values at all levels of the company. Not just the ones on the website. Values are essential to understanding motivation is the path to problem-solving.

These three areas are just the starting point for identifying your “Big Fish.” I encourage you to spend additional time creating an Ideal Client Avatar.

Red Tap Warning

Now that we’ve talked a little about what you need to know about your fish, let’s a quick look at the “red tape.” 

Bureaucracy might as well be a four-letter word with the emotions it stirs in all of us. “Red tape” is a necessary evil, but one you can use to learn from. There are two ways to learn from their system:

  1. Analyze their activity.
  2. Review their correspondence.

Being an outsider looking in can have its advantages too. If you hate dealing with the “red tape,” imagine how their employees feel dealing with it. If they need to crunch some numbers, offer to do it. If they need more info, make sure you are giving it to them in a user-friendly way.

Congrats on creating your Big Fish profile you have taken the next step. As much as fishing is a solitary activity when it comes to business it is important to get help. Engage your team, support network, mentors, and coaches in this process. As always, I am here to help don’t hesitate to ask a question.

The best time to start was yesterday, but today will do just fine. 

About the Author

I am a business coach and consultant specializing in uncovering the root cause of a challenge and offering an unexpected solution. That solution typically results in a substantial increase in profits and the peace of mind to set you free from your business. 

I ask powerful questions to clarify who you are and what you want. I am empathetic, although surgical in approach. I make my clients feel they are the only person I am working with. I have an uncanny way of drawing people out and getting to the heart of the matter.

I am a Pittsburgh native who aspires to free business from the rat race. If I am not working to improve the lives of my clients. Then you will most likely find me on the ice playing hockey, reading, or making plans for the future. 

If I can ever be helpful to my readers, it would be my pleasure to connect and see where I can bring you value. I look forward to continuing to share more great lessons with my growing community. 


Let’s Go Fishing with Dynamite

Posted by Doogie Levine

There are several factors to consider when prepping yourself and your company to approach the largest clients you’ll ever work with.

Today we’re going to start with a brief look at the three paths every business faces and show you which one is the path to success. Then we’ll talk about the mindset it takes to attract the big fish.

There are three major paths a business can take:

  • Path of least resistance
  • False Success
  • Catch the Big Fish

Path of least resistance

This is the path most business owners chose. They chose it because it allows them to do what they like to do and avoid the discomfort of the things they don’t want to do.

Business owners who chose this path ended up working themselves into the ground without much reward or success. This is what happens when you fool yourself into thinking you will find quick success. This path is filled with highly skilled people but who fail to embrace the other parts of running their business.

You may also find yourself following this path when you are afraid of change. If you find yourself avoiding discomfort and not getting anywhere, t is time to choose a new direction.

False Success

This describes a business that shoots to the top so fast you are overwhelmed and don’t have the right resources in place to adapt. This can also happen from being overwhelmed by small clients and not finding large clients, which will sustain your business after the small client sales slow.

The business in this category tends to lack the systems and processes required to sustain the energy level to operate. They tend to have high revenue and low profits. They feel great because they have a ton of activity, but the reality is they are living month to month.

Catch the Big Fish

This is the path that allows you to build at a steady pace that you can manage by not allowing your customers to outpace you. You can do this by putting these tips to work:

  1. Attract, keep and lock in big clients.
  2. Integrate “big business” culture into your company and employees.
  3. Acquire the expertise you need to grow.
  4. Have the courage to make changes as you grow.

Now we are going to transition a bit and talk about the “big fish” mindset. It may sound easy to find and catch that big fish, but if you are stuck in the small business mindset, you may find it harder than you think. 

Think of all the benefits of aiming at more prominent clients:

  • Inexpensive
  • Highly Profitable
  • Longevity
  • Security

To catch the big fish, you need to believe your company can make a difference with theirs. It’s easy to get into the thought that a large company doesn’t need anything from a small business like yours, but this is entirely wrong!

Once you look at how big companies operate, it’s essential to know which ones are the best fit for your company. So how do you know if a company is right for you?

Ask yourself, is this a company that has problems you can solve? Does it scare you to solve their problems? If you answered yes to both of these questions, then I hope you know what to do.

It is essential to note the big companies are relative to your industry and your business. If your current average client is $500 per month, then jumping $2500 per month would be a big fish. The goal with the big fish mindset is to get the best return on the time for money exchange. 

Now once you have determined your big fish, then it is time to create your dynamite strategy for getting them. Here are a few tips that people tend to forget to include in your plan.

  • Whom can I network with to get an introduction to a leader at the company?
  • How are you going to turn perceived weaknesses into strengths?

If you need help catching a big fish, get a free copy of my book, the 8 Steps that Change Your Business Forever, to l help you fine-tune your strategy to create instant results.


Moms are the best Customer Service, Experts

Posted by Doogie Levine

My mother has taught me a lot over the years, but two key lessons that pertain to customer service are consistency and the Rule of 1%. In the last post, I shared my experience with STX and the lack of consistency and systems within their customer service experience. My mother’s lessons will ensure you do not make the same mistakes.

Your customer experience must be predictable and measured. You need to leave your clients, vendors, customers, and staff; feeling heard and cared for. The key to any customer experience is what do you want them to experience. Experience is a set of events and feelings. As you go about creating your customer service systems, keep this in mind. 

Be as my mother; she wanted to do what is best for me but rarely gave into everything I wanted. She listened to what I had to say even when I was wrong, acknowledged my feelings, and redirects me to the path of least resistance. She treated me the same every time, and I found comfort in knowing that. Everyone once in a while, she surprised me with something I never expected.

If you want to take your satisfied customers to Raving Fan status, you have to go above and beyond the average customer service experience. The key to any great customer service experience is consistency. 

There are three ways to develop consistency:

Limiting customer service options and. 

It is easy to give customers what they want. However, this can cause us to drift from our vision of how we want our customers to feel. Instead, stay true to your vision and offer one or two solid customer service techniques that will set you apart from the competition. 

Make sure the techniques you chose do not feel like a burden. To be honest, your goals are to address the customers feeling and before their problems. 

Start by fine-tuning your current systems before you can add anything to the mix. 

  • Think about how I want them to feel, and am I currently getting them to feel that way. 
  • What action am my staff or I taking to get them to feel that way?

There’s nothing worse than launching a new program when you haven’t even worked out the kinks of an old system. 

Put solid systems into place.

Once you know what you’re going to offer, you need to have a system in place to execute it flawlessly every time. This system needs to consist of the right people in the right roles and responsibilities and technology that guarantees a positive experience every time. Emphasis needs to be placed on the results, which ultimately is the satisfaction of the customer.

To get the best results to think about how you empower your staff to make decisions. If they have to go through a supervisor or you before they can approve a refund or replacement, what is the point? Your system needs to have the least number of steps possiable. Remember, your customer is already in a higher state of agitation, and your first job is to lower the feeling.

Good coaching is the key.

When creating excellent training, you need to remember it is not about the outcomes. It is about teaching your staff how to shift the emotional state of customers to create an optimal resolution for both them and the company. It is about the tools they have at their disposal and how information needs to be shifted through your organization. 

The final piece to consider is your process for continually enhancing your staff skills. Your goal is to train them to be confident that they are the empowered expert who can solve your client’s issues.

Small steps lead to great results.

You may be looking at what currently doing and saying, “shit, I have a lot of work to do.” That is okay let the Rule of 1% be your guide to implementing the change in your business.

The Rule of 1% is simply defined as adding to your customer service one percent at a time. Before you can do this, you must have your consistency perfected, or it will never work. This one percent may seem small, but if you approach the vision for your company with baby steps, you will find a massive increase over a solid chunk of time. It’s not a sprint; it’s a marathon.

Avoid doing too much at once, or you’ll set yourself up for failure. Think of the confidence you and your employees will have when you improve one percent each week. By the end of a year, you’ll have improved more than 50%!

While rules and standards are necessary for growth, always be flexible with your best customers. Most retailers only allow a set number of items into a dressing room to reduce the risk of shoplifting, but it generally restricts the large percentage of people who are not stealing from you. Flexibility is the key to what you deliver to your customers, and consistency is the key to how you provide it.

The bottom line is customers rely on you to deliver what you promise. If you spend too much on bulky advertising that promises more than you can deliver, even your best intentions will unravel quickly, and you will fail.

Focus on your vision and baby steps to turn your satisfied customers into Raving Fans.

I hope you’ve learned a lot about good customer service and how it’s essential to your overall success. If you need help with any of the steps we’ve gone through over the last four lessons if you need help feel free to contact me I would be happy to chat. https://ideasactionsuccess.com/contact/

In upcoming posts, we’re going to explore strategies of bagging the big clients and keeping them.


Customer Service Secrets

Posted by Doogie Levine
Shhh… I Have a Secret
You can create a great customer service system for your business in 3 easy steps.

Customer service is a pretty hot topic and can make or break your business. Consumers have little patience for lousy customer service and quickly get tired of waiting in long lines, trying to get a live person on the line, going through an interrogation to return something, or trying to communicate through a language barrier. 

If you provide them with a simple, efficient, pleasant experience, they will revisit your business over and over. More importantly, your clients will tell everyone they know! 

There are three secrets to good customer service; the first one we’re going to conquer is knowing exactly what YOU want.

You are the captain of the ship and the visionary for your business’s future, so you need to have a clearly defined plan for your business, including customer service. There are three main goals you need to consider:

  • Understand Your Road Blocks
    • It needs to be easy for your customers to do business with you. You can do this with advertised discounts, kiosks, your website, and other technology-based programs to help them shop. No matter what medium you chose, make sure you understand all of the steps your asking your client to do. Then make sure you can make them as easy as possible.
  • Your Experience Needs to be Like Talking with Mom
    • Doing business with you needs to be a warm and pleasant experience. Your staff has to be knowledgeable, approachable, warm, and patient. Your customers need to feel like they are getting good value for their time and money. Perceived value goes beyond the price of the products and extends to their shopping experience.
  • A Penny Wise a Dollar Foolish
    • Change your mindset and ask yourself, “How can I NOT afford to do these things?” This shouldn’t be a question of expenses, but making and keep happy customers. It is always essential to think about customer lifetime value when dealing with complaints, refunds, replacements, etc. Think a penny today is a dollar tomorrow.

With these thoughts in mind, you also need to consider a few things when deciding on the actual programs and standards you’ll put into place.

  • Share your customer service vision with the rest of your staff. 
  • Empower your staff to make decisions at the moment.
  • Connect your incentive programs and bonuses directly to customer service.
  • Monitor the level of customer service your staff is putting out.
  • Set a time to review and improve your customer experience regularly.
  • Know when you can ignore what your customers want.
  • Continuously focus on your goals.

Now that you know what you want, you can start thinking about meeting those wants and creating a positive customer service experience. If you’re having a hard time deciding on what you want, the tools, resources, and coaches in our GUIDED TOUR can help you define your company’s wants and needs in relation to customer service.


5 Quick Tips for a Kick A$$ Internship

Posted by Doogie Levine

Internships are no longer a tool for massive companies to get grunt work out of college kids. It is a significantly underutilized option for small businesses to develop high-quality talent. Entrepreneurs tend to be overworked and stretched thin. Many of them have dreams of growing their business by adding digital marketing, business outreach, sales teams, or taking a real vacation. However, most feel they lack the funds to invest in their business. 

Here comes the power of an internship. The internship provides you the opportunity to get high-quality inexperienced talent at a low to no cost. It also is a fantastic tool for building relationships with major educational institutions.

Take a minute and review the graph to understand the cost and benefits of adding this program. It is always essential to understand what your committing to before you get started.

Cost and benefits of creating a small business internship program. Header photo for article.

I have created several internship programs, from short 4-week middle school programs to multi-year professional programs. Here are my tips for creating an effective program for both you and the participant.

Set aside time

It is pivotal before you get started creating a program, you first organize your schedule. Most internships require a reasonable amount of time upfront to get up and running. Then minimal time to maintain the progress.

Here is a rough time breakdown to run an effective small business internship program.

  • 3-5 hours for initial planning
  • 4 hours for onboarding 
  • 1 hour a day for the first two weeks 
    • Specifically for skills training and internship planning
  • 15 min a day for daily check-in
  • 1 hr every two weeks for the remainder of the internship 
    • Continued skills development
    • Performance review

Start with the talent.

Now that you have a rough idea of the time commitment, my next tip is to start by finding great talent. Most people will tell you to start by having a problem in mind and then find the person to solve it. 

However, when it comes to internships, most of the people you talk to will not have extensive experience or knowledge. It is best to look for two things talent and attitude. The rest you can teach them or even better they will learn themselves. Hire fast and let them have some control of the scope of their work.

Define the scope

When starting a program, make sure you keep the project somewhat vague. Once you have great talent, engage them in identifying the work that will benefit the organization. How do you do this?

Tell them your desired outcome, for instance, if you would like them to take on your marketing. Then simply say that you would like to see a 10% increase in inbound leads. Then they can figure out how to achieve this goal, and you can coach them to this desired goal. 

Find the right partner.

Go to your local high school, junior college, college, technical school, or university and offer an internship for the semester by connecting with the student affairs office and at least one professor in a field similar to your business. Set up a meeting and discuss the possibilities.

For example, every business needs additional administrative help, so offer an internship to a student majoring in business administration. The schools LOVE it when a company provides internships since they act as a value-add to their educational offerings by providing their students with real-world experience. Make sure you negotiate that the school will give the student credit. On the flip side, if you find the right student, they can do all of this for you.

Prepare to mentor, be patient. 

Have a plan to mentor and develop the missing skills of your interns. Once you have created the space for them to successfully make sure you provide them access to the coaching/skill development to achieve your desired outcome. 

I strongly suggest taking a scientific approach to coaching. What I mean is be prepared for your interns to fail. Use their failure as a chance to improve your process. Remember, an internship is a low risk and high potential reward. The only way to get those results is to create a process around failure. 

Measure Your Results

The final tip is to make sure you measure your results. I strongly suggest committing to running your internship at least three times before you scrap it. Each time you run, make sure you measure it against the previous results and against what your business was like before having the program. Make adjustments and improvements with each iteration.

Here are few categories to consider when evaluating your program:

  • Revenue/profit
  • Where you spend your time
  • Problem solved vs. created
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Intern satisfaction 
  • Your happiness

Let me know your thoughts in the comments section and feel free to share your top internship tips. For more additional business improvement strategies, get your free copy of my book here

I am actively seeking business case studies for my next book; if you would like to be featured, please email me at doogie@ideasactionsuccess.com to set up a time chat. 


Business 2.0: Replace Yourself

Posted by Doogie Levine

Prototyping is not just for building robots. It should be an integral part of every entrepreneur’s plans. It should be every business owner’s goal to have their business run without them needing to make a decision. 

This is why it is imperative to think of your business as a franchise prototype. This business development method allows you to remove your emotional attachment from your business’s tasks and focus on your desired outcome.

The seven specific areas you need to consider in your business development prototype process:

  • Primary Aim
  • Strategic Objectives
  • Organizational Strategy
  • Management Strategy
  • People Strategy
  • Marketing Strategy
  • Systems Strategy

These seven areas are the step-by-step process through which you convert your existing business into a perfectly organized model for thousands more, just like. In this lesson, we are going to cover the first three steps. Get your pen and paper ready to start creating your prototype.

Primary Aim

Your primary aim is the answers to all the questions. It is not just the target but the arrow, the bow, the water bottle on your hip, and the reason you got out of bed. Simply put, it is the purpose that is bigger than your business.

It’s essential in business development to set goals and see a vision for the future. This needs to go beyond the business, and you need to think about what you want out of life. How would you answer the following questions: 

  • What do you dream about?
  •  How do you see your success unfolding? 
  • Who do you wish to be?
  • What is your ideal lifestyle?

Knowing and understanding your aim will give you the momentum to get started and the stamina to see it through. Take a minute to write them down and tape them to your desk for a constant reminder of what you’re aiming for.

Ask yourself every day, how am I meeting my primary aim?

Strategic Objectives

Once you have the picture of how you want your life to be and realize it is more than fancy cars, big houses, and that it is a state of feeling. Then it is time to set strategic objectives. These are essential in taking your business from surviving to thriving. All of these objectives should offer solutions for how to get to your primary aim. There are many things you can use to set strategic goals, but here is a couple of the most popular:

  1. Money: Setting monetary goals is a great, simple way to see how you are doing at any point in the game. It’s easy to measure and easy to find adjustments to help meet this goal.
  2. Worthy Opportunities: These are emotionally driven goals. This is how you measure lives impacted; client served, positive reviews, in essence, you speak to your customer’s psychographics needs and, to a further extent yourself.
  3. Through or Throughput: This is your automation goal of removing yourself from the day-to-day equation. We will measure this by hours worked, emails answered, or any way you wish. The critical piece is that these goals get you to business Nirvanaha when your business work for you and you don’t have to work for your business.

The key to setting standards and goals is not to limit yourself or stress yourself out. You need to find some quantifiable things you can use to measure your progress toward your primary aim. These are just three suggestions, but make sure no matter what standards you set, you are paying attention to the details, as these are one of the biggest keys to your success.

Organizational Strategy

The strength of your organizational structure can make or break your business, so it’s essential to take the time to put together a solid framework for your business to grow from. Generally, a company is organized around the roles and responsibilities that need to be taken care of daily. And the personalities that need to fulfill those roles. 

No matter what roles and responsibilities you’ve defined for your employees, you must always keep your primary aim separate from your company’s primary aim or mission statement. Once you’ve identified the primary aim for your company, it will be easy to set up a position structure that will work.

Don’t forget to put together position contracts. Your employees should sign a statement of their roles and responsibilities. This helps keep them clear for you, the employee, and other employees/vendors or other individuals.

Question & Actions 

You’re probably going, wow, I have a lot to do. Well, you do but let’s create some action steps to get you started.

  1. Answer the big question: What is my primary aim? This is more complex than just answer the question, but what you need to do is create your first draft. Take a stab at it, write it down, and test it for the next few weeks.
  2. What are my strategic objectives? Create one goal in each category and start tracking it. Set aside time each week to review and see how you’re meeting that goal.
  3. How can I automate or replace one job I do? Set a goal to automate, delete, or replace one task that you currently do. Then give yourself a timeframe to do it. Then repeat until your business is running itself. 

You can see how these areas all work together to build a solid structure to build your business. If you need help defining any of these areas, don’t hesitate to contact us. Look out for the next four steps in a later blog.


Do You Have Enough PD in your life?

Posted by Doogie Levine

Do you want to make more money? 

If I were to stop you on the street and ask you if you want to make more money? You would probably say ” Hell Ya I do !”

If I were then to ask you what is the best investment to make more money? What would you say, probably something like; real estate, stocks, crypto, etc.

If your business owner, it might be marketing, advertising, new salespeople, a new product or service.

What if I told you were wrong that, indeed, the best way to make more money is to invest in yourself. You probably be dismissive and say like ya, of course, but. But what, do you actually do it. I mean really, do you set aside the time and money to prioritize your personal development.

I bet you don’t; you will spend thousands on any of the above improvements with the promise of 2x returns. However, it is well documented from the greatest minds of our time and history, such as Oprah, Barack Obama, Warran Buffet, Bill Gates, Lori Greiner, Da Vinci, Aristotle, and more. That the only way to get 10x ROI is investing in ourselves. 

“Income seldom exceeds personal development.” Jim Rohn

With all of these great people, you would think it would be an easy argument for making personal development a priority.

Then why is it so difficult for us to make development a priority? The main culprit is the short-term mindset. It is the fear that if I don’t make another sale today, I am going to go hungry. For some, this may be true, but have you ever acknowledged that it was your short-term outlook that got you there in the first place.

“Personal development is a major time-saver. The better you become, the less time it takes you to achieve your goals.” ―Brian Tracy

I want to help; here are my top tips to start thinking long-term and to start making personal development a part of your life, business, and career.

Add Yourself to the Priority List

Start by setting aside time. You’re probably saying, how am I supposed to set aside anytime when I already feel like I don’t have enough time. What is the top priority in your life?  I bet it is your family, your dog, a significant other, a child, clients.

Do you make time for them? For most people, the answer is an overwhelming yes. Then why are you not on that list? One of my favorite things is when you listen to the safety brief on an airplane, and they say put your oxygen mask on first before assisting others. They say this because the most effective way to help someone is when you’re as prepared as possible.

A quick tip: on a sheet of paper, write down the names of your top priorities. Then at the top of this list, add your name. Then keep that list in a place you can see it every day and ask yourself, “How am I making time for my top priority today?

Share what you want to accomplish.

Now that you understand your importance let’s talk about creating time. Most people will tell it is as simple as going on to your calendar and blocking off an hour or two. They’re right; however, they’re also wrong. They leave out the number one thing, which is communication.

Stop rolling your eyes because I used the buzzword communication. The number one reason people fail is that they fail to articulate the emotional importance of dedicating time. To their most important stakeholders (The other top priorities). 

A quick tip: Before you embark on this mission of getting control of your time. Share your mission with the people who be impacted. Tell your significant other, colleague, boss, kids, parents, friends, and clients that you will not be available except for true emergencies. You simply explain that you are taking the time to become the best spouse, parent, manager, employee, problem solver that you can be. If they don’t believe you then show them.

Set a Strategy 

Great you have set yourself as the priority; you set aside time and communicated what you wish to accomplish to those important to you. Now it is time to make a plan. Take your first few session to identify the area of your life that you want to focus on. Do not try to work in all the areas of your life at the same time.

Since I work with business owners, my suggestion will be geared toward them. The business owners I work with are looking to grow their businesses. They usually struggle with work-life balance, having control of their day, and developing trust with their employees. 

To address these issues, here the top 5 areas for them to focus on at the beginning.

  1. Personal Habits, such as time management, take the time to identify how you spend every day and how you want to spend your time. Then chose one area to improve and do it.
  2. Educate Yourself; workout your mental muscles, read a book, newsletter, etc. or even better write about your industry.
  3. Exercise; will lower stress and provide you a place to develop great ideas.
  4. Visioning; spend time thinking about where you want to see your business in 5, 10, 15 years and identify what you need to change personally to get there. Also, you think about changes in your industry.
  5. Reaffirming you’re why, take the time to remember why you started your business in the first place and celebrate the achievements you have had, and think about how to thank those that got you to where you are.

Don’t go at this alone.

You have begun to implement your strategy, and your feeling good. The first three days felt great. You read a chapter of a remarkable book, exercised for the first time in months, and even wrote a thank you letter to a loyal staff member. Then day 4 or 5 go by and things start to feel hard; you struggle with staying committed. You’re enjoying the changes you have made but you struggling to put out all the fires from your day.

Don’t fret; this is where my last suggestion comes into play. Get an accountability partner or coach. This is someone who can help you navigate these new challenges and keep you committed to the change you want to make.

 Remember, it is not about the short term. It is about the long-term effects. It is a marathon; it is a hell of a lot easier to train when you what someone in your corner. 

Well, there you have it, the quickest way to your 10x returns is through a long path of personal development. Remember, the first step in controlling your business is managing yourself. If you enjoyed this blog, please share it with a business owner or friend who can benefit from it. Thanks for reading.

P.S. Want help growing your business visit www.ideasactionsuccess.com or connect with me on Linkedin; I am always happy to chat.


Eisenhower didn’t just win WW2; he also won the to-do list!

Posted by Doogie Levine

I continue to meet business owner after business owner, professional after professional, with the same common thread. They felt distracted continuously and stressed. Their caught in the rate race of putting out fires and never feel like they have the time to focus on their goals.

I bet you have said this before. 

“Let me send one more email, and I will do (INSERT UNPLEASANT TASK HERE) later. Three hours later, it is too late. I’ll deal with it tomorrow”; sounds familiar.

If this has happened to you, keep reading. 

Why do you thinking you struggle?

  • Is it a lack of clear goals? 
  • No sense of direction. 
  • Overwhelmed by the share size of your to-do list.

Yes, it might be those things, but it is more than likely your lack of ability to understand and set priorities. The four main areas that most likely make up your to-do list are Tactics, Strategies, Mission, and Distractions.

  • Tactics the short to medium goals & task that allow executing strategies
  • Strategies the long term goals & systems that allow achieving a Mission.
  • Distractions are all the items you should say no to or avoid.
  • Mission the ideal state that you get from achieving all of your tactics and strategies and avoiding distractions.

Today, I want to give you one tool to prioritize your tactics and strategies and avoid distractions to achieve your mission. Let me introduce you to the Eisenhower Matrix.

Eisenhower Matrix 

The Eisenhower Matrix was a tool created by non-other then Dwight Eisenhower, 34th president of the United States of America. He made this method while serving as the supreme allied commander. Every day he was tasked with figuring out how to prioritize the efforts of the Allies.

As you can imagine, it was a gargantuan challenge. The tool President Eisenhower created allowed him to measure all his tasks by their urgency and importance. Take a look at the example below and ask yourself the following questions:

  • What quadrant do I spend most of my time in?
  • How much of my time is spent in that quadrant?

Suppose you’re like most people, you said quadrant 1, followed by 3. You said something like 60 to 80% of your time is spent in those quadrants. Does that not feel like a lot? This is how most of us spend our time between a hyper state of stress and a hyper state of distraction. 

Ideally, you want to spend the majority of your day in quadrant 2. In this quadrant, most of your day will be spent working on projects and tasks that will have long-term benefits to yourself, your job, or your business. You will feel a great sense of accomplishment without the stress of rushing to meet a deadline. It is in this state that we achieve growth. I want to propose a challenge to help you gain control of your workday.

Here it is a 7-day challenge to deploy the Eisenhower Matrix in your life. You will create a time journal.

Time Journal

TimeActivityQuadrant 
9AM-11AMTeam Meeting3
11AM-1PMDaily Lead Reports1
1PM-2PmStrategy Meeting2
3PM-5PMEmails, Instagram, Tick Tok 4

Total Hours:_______

Total Hours per quadrant  1_____ 2_____3_____4_____

Using this tool, I want you to track the amount of time you spend in each quadrant per day over seven days. To be honest, if you do this for just one day, you will be blown away by how you spend your time or maybe not. At least it will force you to hold yourself accountable for your actions.

At the end of the seven days, go back, review the amount of time and the list of activities you did in each area. From here, you can choose how to reduce the time spent in quadrants 1,3 & 4. Increase your time in quadrant 2.

Quick tips for improving your time use to spend more time in quadrant 2.

For quadrant 1:

  • Communicate with your team or support group about what is on your plate. They may be able to help.
  • Delegate 
  • Schedule management tasks (these aren’t really fires but feel like they are) like
    • Checking Email.
    • Fulfilling Orders.
    • Data Entry.
    • Lead Calls (Do it before 10 am).

For Quadrant 3:

  • Delegate 
  • Watch the time investment.
  • Do them last.
  • Add to a long term list.
  • Tell your colleague sorry I just don’t have time.
  • Put on do not disturb. 

For Quadrant 4:

  • Say “NO”
  • Suppose media/social media is essential to you; set times to check it throughout the day. Limit the length of those checks.
  • When a colleague comes over to chat, it is okay to say, “I can’t chat right now.”

Let me know the results. Click here for more Free Expert Advice. Thank you for reading my blog; it means a lot to me that you took the time. Please share this blog with your colleagues and friends who can benefit from better business practices.


The Ten Idea Daily Practice

Posted by Doogie Levine

You have made a great choice by choosing to read this blog.

Before I jump in and share my ten groundbreaking ideas, I want to share a little insight into what I do and the practice that allows me to work out my idea muscle. I am a business coach and consultant who focuses on finding tangible solutions for small business owners. 

To do this, I use my superpower of taking complex multi-step concepts, such as lead generation and conversion, and translate them into a step by step process that small business owners can implement to make drastic improvements in their business. 

The Ten Idea Daily Practice

Every day, I write ten ideas on improving the world, a product, a service, a company, etc. I was inspired by James Altucher, whose part of his daily practice is to do the same. The power behind this daily practice is it trains your problem solving and opportunity finding mental muscles. Doing this exercise every day makes it easier to face the adversity and stress of being a business owner. It trains you to be agile and open-minded, which turns problems and challenges into opportunities and advantages. Try it for 30 days; you will not regret it.

I encourage everyone to take the time to write ten ideas a day. Here are my rules:

  1. Commit to writing ten ideas in 30min or less. As you get better, you might add more answers or do it in less time. 
  2. The ideas have to be practical, actionable, and something that a person can accomplish in one lifetime.
  3. Each idea must be based on a specific prompt, usually from something that inspired/intrigued me from the day before.
  4. The idea must be short, a few words to a sentence-long answer.
  5. Commit to taking at least one idea a week and putting it into action.

Today, I thought the best way to put my ideas into action would be to share my thoughts with you. Hopefully, they find the person with the skills and passion for making them a reality. If you like an idea, please use it and make this change in the world. If you’re struggling with a challenge in your business or life, please feel free to reach out. 

Today’s Results form my Idea Exercise

Now onto the prompt, What products should be biodegradable but are not currently?

(Disclaimer if some of these do exist, then someone needs to figure out how to make them mainstream and widely accepted.)

My ideas:

  1. Print advertisements/direct mailers
  2. Crayola markers 
  3. Shampoo and body wash containers
  4. Dental floss 
  5. Single-use beverage containers such as coke or water bottles
  6. Tooth Brushes 
  7. Surgical masks (the ones people drop on the ground)
  8. Baby diapers 
  9. Food Packaging 
  10. Trash bags 

If you have more ideas on products that should be biodegradable but aren’t, leave them in the comments below or share this blog with a friend that you think can turn these ideas into actions.

Suppose you want help flexing your idea muscle to grow your business.  Feel free to download my free e-book, The 8 Steps that Change Your Business Forever.  In the book, I cover 8 strategies that can have a 200% ROI on your business. Please feel free to leave a comment below, and I thank you for taking the time to read my blog.


Direct Response or Bust!

Posted by Doogie Levine

Direct response marketing is a marketing that demands an immediate response from your potential customers. This type of marketing answers questions, presents your branding, products, and the reason you do what you do. It is the most powerful tool to lead your clients to your organizational WHY

“People don’t buy what you do. They buy why you do it.” Simon Sinek

Customers love this, as they are offered the opportunity to respond, whether that be in the way of signing up for a newsletter, posting a comment on your site or blog, or purchasing a product from you. 

You have experienced direct response marketing every day. But do you know what it looks like? Well, it comes in many forms, including:

Some of the advantages of direct marketing are:

  • A great way to use free time during lulls in business
  • A productive way to communicate and empower you to create more relationships
  • Great way to up-and cross-sell to current customers.
  • A low-cost way to rustle up a new business
  • Used as leverage to turn small sales into large sales
  • Supplement your current marketing program
  • The cost-effective way to reach target markets
  • Offers measurable results
  • Reach outside your local area for new business
  • Increase the effectiveness of your sales force

These are all great things that can come from just taking a few simple steps to putting together a direct response marketing plan and executing it. 

“I honestly don’t think you’ll ever find a safer, lower-risk, higher-profit method of increasing your business or profession than direct-response marketing.” Jay AbrahamDirect response marketing is one of the best ways to launch your business on a large scale and reach out to everyone in your target market, whether they are in your local area or not. Our GUIDED TOUR can help you put together a great direct response marketing plan and get you on your way to heightened success.


What has D&D taught us about sales?

Posted by Doogie Levine

Now that you’re prepared to make your first impression, you have your plan and profile in place. It is time to think about how to match your big fish to the right salesperson. The process is all about matching the right salesperson’s personality/ style to the correct prospect.

Before we jump into this, make sure you go back and double-check your process because once we assign the salesperson, there is no turning back. The human factor and the benefits of each of your salespeople’s personalities will now come into play.

Ok, so now that you’re clear on making sure your process is ready, let’s talk about your salespeople.

You need to do this in two steps:

  1. Profile your salespeople’s personalities.
  2. Match the right salesperson to your target fish.

There are essentially three different selling personalities. Most salespeople are usually strong in two of the three arc types. It is crucial to think about your people and see which one each of them is.

The Sage 

This salesperson offers knowledge, experience, comfort, and trust. They can make a concerned customer feel at ease. It is their mission to educate the client to empower them to make the best decision. This salesperson tends to relay the logical information and speak to those benefits. 

To be successful, they need plenty of information, a demo of the product/service, references, and case studies, if possible. They tend to shy away from using emotional appeals and staying grounded in the client’s needs, not their future wants.

The Companion 

Much like it sounds, this is a salesperson that shines at building relationships. They can instantly relate to the prospective client and make them seem like old friends in no time. They work best with clients looking for friendship, information, and a similar peer group as the salesperson. This can include anything from age and culture to hobbies and nightlife. While sharing experiences can be beneficial to creating a new relationship, your salesperson must always keep it professional and dignified. 

This salesperson focuses on painting the picture of the ideal future state. They spend their time working towards the long term sale and only get a few big wins. They excel at upsells and cross-sales because they are seen as the guy for their customers.

The companion can get in trouble because they tend not to have a large volume of clients. In addition, their sales process takes longer than the others, which can cause trouble for high transaction volume businesses. 

The resources this personality type needs are help pairing with the right client, schmoozing budget, and the correct information to meet the client’s needs. In addition, you should consider putting this person in a role working with the big clients that you need to maintain a relationship with.

The Brawler 

Obviously, this personality type is a little more aggressive than the others. They are all about business and the bottom line. While this may seem harsh to many people, there is a set of business people who want the same thing and respect someone who can get down to business and the benefits of a partnership. This salesperson will need to be trusted with a bit of authority as they will likely be closing deals on the spot. They’ll need plenty of resources and access to products and services. They are best placed in environments where they can work independently, exercise their authoritative discretion, and seal deals quickly. 

They are great in high-volume environments or with clients who want to make now decisions. You tend to see them work best with your straightforward type A personalities.

Pick the right map

Any of these salespeople can all be successful when used in the correct environment. You can easily see how matching the right salesperson for the client can secure more big fish and for a more extended period of time. 

It is up to you as the business owner or sales manager to put your people in place to be most successful. It is also vital to create an environment for your sales team to work collaboratively vs. adversary. This way, you ensure that complimentary styles can share in the benefits. It is important to both have team and individual goals and bonuses.

If you need help figuring out how to capitalize on your sales team and land the big fish. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with one of our coaches. We would love to offer our aid.


O No First Contact! Are you prepared?

Posted by Doogie Levine

In the last post, we learned the process for researching our big fish (ideal client). Being prepared to make a great first impression is imperative to your success. Your strategy needs to instill confidence. The prospect needs to know you can meet expectations on time, at a reasonable price, and the quality at or above expectation. 

Now let’s begin to create the perfect first impression. Building a good plan starts with identifying the right big fish. Take a look at your notes and the research you’ve done about prospective fish. Then decide which one will be the most straightforward approach to start with.

There are a series of things to go through in choosing which fish to start with. They are:

  • Compile Your Hit List
  • Prepare your position
  • Define where to start 

Compile Your Hit List

Start with a list of all the companies you’ve been considering. Then narrow it down to the ones who know could use your products or services. Don’t overlook obvious choices, whether they are big or small. Don’t discount a company just based on the physical size. A small company can have significant opportunities. Think back to your earlier work where you identified what makes a good big fish.

Prepare your position 

You need to prepare your customer research. This starts by creating a documented procedure including the companies revenues, perceived target audience, industry challenges, company culture, decision-makers, etc. Use this tool to get into the heads of your clients to understand their needs and wants.

Once, you have the information you’re ready to make the first move.

Define where to start (prioritize) 

Great so you have been able to narrow your list to a responsible 10-20 ideal clients. Now you need to set priorities of who you should contact first. To help you chose please consider the following:

  • Which have the most purchasing resources to spend?
  • Does their company vision complement yours?
  • What are their employee incentive programs as they relate to your products/services?
  • What’s the company’s actual need for you?
  • Will the partnership lead you off-course?

Now you should have a target in mind to start with. It’s time to plan your approach and execute that plan.

Here’s the step-by-step plan to help you make an excellent first impression:

  1. Build and analyze your database. Use the following lead tags to categories and track your sales process (if you don’t like these, come up with your own, but make sure you a definition that includes the behaviors your prospect should be displaying): hot leads, great fits, warm leads, and secondary leads.
    1. Great fits: these are the top 1-3 from your list above.
    2. Hot leads: these are leads that you have been able to engage in meaningful conversations. Specifically, you have spoken with them, and they have moved to the end of your pipeline.
    3. Warm leads: these are the leads that you have engaged in meaningful conversation but have not been able to get over all their objections. They see you as a problem solver and their most likely solution but you still have to get them over the hump.
    4. Secondary leads: These are not great fits, but you feel you can still bring value to them. However, they may not be your ideal for several reasons.
  2. Send out initial mailings (this a print mailing, you may, in addition, consider sending an email) to peak interest, educate, and establish preeminence. It should be short, clean, and concise. Ideally, to speak to the problem they have and don’t want.
  3. Follow up with your first phone call 2-3 days after they would have received the mailings. During the phone call, find out whom you need to be speaking with in the future and set up a meet with the right person.
  4. Follow up your phone call with another mailing/E-mailing/social contact that thanks them for taking the time to speak with you and offer more details about your products/services. Use this letter and opportunity to set up a meeting to do a presentation.
  5. Follow up the letter with another phone call a couple of days after receiving the letter. This phone call is to help you further develop your relationship with the prospective client. You should also be able to set up a presentation meeting with them. 
  6. Call again a week later if they haven’t agreed to a meeting or presentation. Ask if they received your creative letter (the second one) and if they have a minute when you can stop by and introduce yourself in person.
  7. Repeat, Adjust and Adapt. No process is perfect; keep adapting and changing your contact method and message as long as the prospective client fits that ideal process. 

Now, don’t be upset if you don’t seal the deal right away. Some people simply take a little longer to woo. This can all be a little intimidating at first, but you can’t go wrong when you know you are offering a quality product/service.

Once you’ve gone through this process and make the first contact (and hopefully a good first impression), it’s time to put your best face forward, which means sending the right salesperson to seal the deal.

If you need help putting together your approach and make an excellent first impression, schedule a free consultation to discuss your big fish.

The best time to start was yesterday, but today will do just fine.

About the Author

I am a business coach and consultant specializing in uncovering the root cause of a challenge and offering an unexpected solution. That solution typically results in a substantial increase in profits and the peace of mind to set you free from your business.

I ask powerful questions to clarify who you are and what you want. I am empathetic, although surgical in approach. I make my clients feel they are the only person I am working with. I have an uncanny way of drawing people out and getting to the heart of the matter.

I am a Pittsburgh native who aspires to free business from the rat race. If I am not working to improve the lives of my clients. Then you will most likely find me on the ice playing hockey, reading, or making plans for the future.

If I can ever be helpful to my readers, it would be my pleasure to connect and see where I can bring you value. I look forward to continuing to share more great lessons with my growing community.


One Fish two, Fish, I can’t stop thinking about the Big Fish.

Posted by Doogie Levine

In the last post, we started our series on catching big clients, or “fish,” that will sustain your business over the long run. Today we’re going to take that a step further by talking about understanding and thinking like a big fish company and how that can help you plan your approach and find success.

Before you can start landing big clients, you have to make sure your entire team is on board with your approach and vision. There are six keys to finding big client success. They are:

Six Key’s: Big Fish Mindset

  1. First Impression: Never give them a reason to doubt your abilities. Plan your interaction and be prepared to listen, learn, and act to solve their problems. Make it about them and not you; be patient. 
  2. First Priority: Your fish must always feel like they are your priority. Return calls and emails promptly and find solutions to their problems or questions as quickly as possible. Over-communicate on the process; let them know your thinking of them.
  3. Flexible: You need to be flexible in your negotiations. If they need a particular service or for you to customize a product, say yes for the benefit of the long term. A little hassle now will be a big payoff later.
  4. Long-term: This goes along with the last one a bit. As you are approaching and negotiating with big fish, you need to think about the long-term benefits for your business. If you go for a one-time big score, you will lose their interest.
  5. Have Fun: Work should be fun, even when trying to land big clients. Going after the big fish should be the most fun. You are sharing your vision with new people and including them in your future success and likewise. People simply work better in a fun, happy environment. Your passion will also be contagious and pull the fish into your vision even more.
  6. Put them first: If you take just a little bit of time and offer your clients ways to save money or time by introducing them to potential business partners, this will show you are invested and interested in their business. Strive to find the balance between your business needs and your client’s needs.

Now that you understand the basis of the Big Fish Mindset. You might be asking, great, how do I develop a vision for my entire company? There several tactics to employ, but here are a few of my favorites. 

  • Engage your team in defining who is an ideal “Big Fish Nothing gets a team to share a vision like having them be a part of the process design..”
  • Write the vision and goals everywhere. Create signage that reinforced the company vision and goals. Everyone loves suitable bathroom reading materials. A fun poster in the stalls can go a long way. Plus, this is a great way to reinforce company values.
  • Training, Training, Training: Constitnantly reinforces the goals and objectives while teaching your staff the skills to achieve them. Get help and provide resources for your team to be successful. May I suggest starting with a lesson on the “Big Fish Mindset.”
  • Score Board: create a way to share the progress with your entire company. It is a great way to show each person’s contribution to the whole. Plus, it can be a great way to track and evaluate your process. 
  • Strategy eats tactics for breakfast, holds frequent meetings to make sure your strategy is working, and adjust the tactics to achieve your goals.
  • Create a communication policy, be very clear with your team about how quickly you expect your staff to get back to customers. In addition, create shared language and terms around communicating to clients and other team members. Defining these parameters will solve a lot of problems down the road. 
  • Reward in public, coach in private. As often as you can, praise your team. Find a reason to thank your team and appreciate their work. If they’re not performing, pull them aside and ask a straightforward question. What do you need to be more successful?

Including a big fish mindset in your overall company vision and experience will allow you to achieve more as a business owner and organization than you could ever imagine. It will enable you to start thinking long-term and give you the ability to invest in your people, process, and profits. Include the tactics in your strategy, and your company will begin landing big fish in no time.

If you need help creating the system, process, and developing the strategy big-company mindset, contact us today to work with one of our coaches or check out our resources and tools. 

The best time to start was yesterday, but today will do just fine.