Define, challenge and conquer the BIGGEST issues facing you as an early stage entrepreneur or founder. With powerful episodes from the world's finest business experts, each episode challenges one specific issue and provides detailed, actionable takeaways that you can implement immediately within your business.
Volume #1 features actionable interviews with John Lee Dumas, Guy Kawasaki, Rand Fishkin, Jeff Sanders, Bob Burg and Dragons' Den's Doug Richard along with multiple thought leaders, global business people and numerous NY Times / Amazon best-selling authors, Excellence Expected exists to help you live the life you want by dominating the problems that face every entrepreneur on their journey.
This isn't just another interview podcast, this is the straight-talking, accountable and actionable show that features one problem, one expert and multiple solutions every single episode.
Don’t forget, the more you expect from yourself, the more you WILL excel!
An Update on the Series
Hey, Mark here with a quick update about this evergreen interview series and my other podcast, The Podcast Accelerator (https://www.markasquith.com/listen).
Become a Go-Giver with Bob Burg
How would you define the entrepreneurial spirit? Would it be the ability to zone in on problems and provide solutions? Would it be the knack of finding exactly the right product that flies off the shelves as soon as it’s stocked? Or would it be a flair for marketing and salesmanship? Well, all of those are part of it, but according to our guest on this episode of the number one small business podcast, Bob Burg, the entrepreneurial spirit is embodied by those who always strive to bring value to those around them.
You can bring value to those around you as a small business owner, but owning your own business isn’t required to have the entrepreneurial spirit. Even if you are working for someone else, you can always strive to bring value to your employer. Working this way could create opportunities for you to become an ‘intrepreneur’, or someone who works to create opportunities for themselves at the same time as for their employer. This can be a great way to get started in business as it means you can focus on your own projects outside working hours without having to worry about how you’re going to cover your expenses. Starting to think of your own enterprise without cutting ties and risking it all is a much more comfortable way of doing things
If you’re in business, then providing value for your clients can be the differentiator between you and your competitors. These days, technology has levelled the playing field for most products in terms of price and selection, so providing additional value that can help you stand out from the competition is a must. Bob’s five elements of value are excellence, consistency, attention, empathy and appreciation. If you can show these elements of value during all your client interactions, then you will soon have clients for life.
Money is an echo of value! People spend their money where they feel they are getting value.
Issue Challenged in this Small Business Podcast:
Can a subtle shift in focus have a profound effect on my business?
Bob Burg is a world-renowned speaker, sales trainer and author. His books have sold more than a million copies and his most successful, The Go-Giver, has been translated into more than 20 languages.
Bob has helped thousands of entrepreneurs and salespeople achieve their goals by adjusting their focus.
Bob’s Actionable Tips:
* Learn from others. Cut down your learning curve by learning from other people. Read books, watch videos, listen to talks – always be a learner!
* Focus on providing value to others. Don’t focus on the money. Of course, money’s important, but if you really want to make a lot of it, you should be focusing on providing value. By doing this and providing real value, clients will continue coming back to you again and again. Money is an echo of value!
* Remember that people will do things for their own reasons. We shouldn’t focus on telling people about us and our business, but on listening to their needs and desires.
* “I define a system as simply the process for predictably achieving a goal based on a logical and specific set of how-to principles. The key is predictability.”
* “Anyone can be entrepreneurial whether or not they’ve started their own business.”
* “Many hugely successful entrepreneurs started their businesses part-time. They did it in a very comfortable way.”
* “It’s about shifting one’s focus from getting to giving.”
* “Money is an echo of value. The value must come first."
* Bob’s Site (http://www.burg.com/)
* The Go-Giver Site (http://www.thegogiver.com/)
* The Go-Giver – Bob Burg (http://goo.
Dealing with Opportunity: The Simple Question that Will Make Every Business Decision Easier
When running a small business, it can be hard to say no to new opportunities that present themselves. Your friends and colleagues will always be introducing their latest ideas to you and deciding which ones are deserving of your time can be tough. Entrepreneurs are like magpies, dazzled by the latest shiny new object. We love to find innovative new ways of solving problems, useful products and the next big thing in services. And that’s all part of the fun of being an entrepreneur, but if we’re not careful, we can end up committing our time to too many projects and spreading ourselves too thinly.
Formulating ideas are often the most exciting part of new businesses, those one sentence pitches that capture the imagination and set the cogs turning in our minds. However, this excitement can blind us from the reality of developing an idea into a business. Ideas, as exciting as they are, are cheap. It’s the execution that takes an idea and makes it a realistic business proposition. And execution can be difficult, time-consuming and costly and there are no guarantees that they’ll be any return on our efforts.
We all want to find new opportunities and grow as entrepreneurs but taking on every new opportunity will dilute our attention, time and money. How, then, can we assess each new opportunity to see if it’s something that’s right for us at this moment in time? Well, I’ve found that if I’m really honest about my ultimate goal or goals in life and business, then by asking just one simple question, I can decide what’s right for me right now and what I need to pass on. Everyone’s ultimate goal is going to be different and remember this is an ultimate goal, not just a goal for the next year or even the next five years. This should be a goal for the next ten or twenty years. Maybe your ultimate goal is to run a business that lets you spend more time with your family. Maybe it’s to create a business that allows you to be location independent. Or maybe it’s to retire before you’re 50 years old. Whatever your ultimate goal is, you need to be certain of it and you need to keep it in mind when an opportunity arises.
The question that you need to ask yourself about any new opportunity is this: By saying yes to this, am I going to get closer to or further away from my ultimate goal?
By asking this question, we can validate new opportunities against ourselves and our long term goals. It helps us to say yes or no to things with some confidence and not just through arbitrary feelings. Whether we say yes or no, this question leaves us in a much better position that simply going with our gut. Perhaps we say yes because we think that the opportunity will take us closer to that ultimate goal. Great! And if we say no, we know that we are saying no because we’ve assessed the opportunity against what we want to achieve in the long term.
Issue Challenged in this Small Business Podcast:
How can I better assess and deal with opportunities as they arise?
* Have a very clear plan where you want to be in 10-20 years and set your ultimate goal. What is your ultimate goal? You need to create stepping stones to that ultimate goal and you can’t do this without having a clear idea of what it is. Is it financial freedom? Is it to have the flexibility to spend more time with your family? Is it to be a billionaire? Everyone’s ultimate goal is going to be unique to them.
* Never turn down the opportunity to listen to an idea. Don’t turn away opportunities because you feel too busy. Listen to pitches, get the facts and learn as much as you can. Let people tell you what they have in mind. Listening to an idea is in no way a commitment and you never know when you are going to come across the next opportunity that will take you closer to your ultimate goal.
* Validate opportunities against yourself.
Productivity Optimisation – A Mindset, Not a Technique
Running a small business at the same time as looking after a family can place huge demands on your time. Add in a couple of hours a week (if you’re lucky!) for yourself and there really isn’t a great deal of time to deal with anything unexpected or urgent. If something like that occurs, something is going to get bumped and you’re going to be in trouble in one or more areas of your life. Productivity, therefore, is always on an entrepreneur’s mind.
But are you thinking about productivity in the right way? Is productivity just a to-do list of activities to get done before 9 o’clock? Or is it something much deeper? On this solo episode of Excellence Expected, I’m going to take you through what I believe productivity to be and how I strive to be more productive every day in my own life.
Actually, I don’t really like using the word ‘productivity’ as I feel that it gives people the idea that productivity is an end point, a destination. If you want to be able to run 10 miles, you have a defined goal in mind and once it’s been achieved you can move on to your next target. Job done! Productivity isn’t like that though. As you, your business and your life change, what it means to be productive will change too. Even if you’re doing the same things every day, there will always be ways in which you can improve your impact. There will always be new ways you can experiment with your working processes and time management. In my mind, productivity is a continuous process of development and, for me, ‘productivity optimization’ is a better way to think of it. It’s a deeper mind-set that you adopt not a series of quick and easy hacks!
Seeing productivity as a process of optimization allows you to constantly break new ground in how you use your time effectively. It allows you to experiment, test out new ideas of how best to use your time, and win back some precious time for yourself.
Giving yourself the time and space to test out new ways of doing things can be difficult, especially if you are working with other people who are frequently looking to you for guidance or support. On the journey of productivity optimization, you need to be a little ruthless with your time. Perhaps people come to you for help because they know that you will drop everything to help them out. Of course, we all want to help people, but you need to ask if their request can wait half an hour, an hour, or until this afternoon? More often than not, it can wait and by putting people off temporarily you will have created a buffer around yourself that will allow you to focus on your most important and urgent tasks. There are going to be times when you need to drop everything, but the vast majority of requests can be handled a little later.
Productivity is a journey, not a destination and productivity optimization requires testing, tweaks and refinements every day to get the most from your time.
Issue Challenged in this Small Business Podcast:
How can I manage to stay productive when there are so many demands on my time?
* Treat productivity as a journey, not a destination. People often treat productivity as something akin to a fitness goal, something that has defined parameters. Productivity is not a promised land that we reach, it is a process that continues every day. We should all be striving for continually productivity optimization. Measure and test new tweaks to find out what works and what doesn’t. Each day can be a step towards further optimization.
* Don’t treat your different projects and work outlets as siloes. Put all of your work from your different projects into one pot and prioritize each of the tasks that you need to do based on their urgency and importance. By keeping everything together and not trying to split your time into different segments. This can not only make you more effective,
Focus Pocus – The Magic in a Customised Focus Process
How many things are you focusing on right now? If you’re anything like most other entrepreneurs, it is probably far too many and it still might not feel like it’s enough. This magpie syndrome that most of us have is both a gift and a curse. We’re idea machines, but it can be so tough keeping our minds on the task in hand. And if we’re focusing on so many different things, are we really focusing at all?
We all want that laser-focus so we can get the most out of our businesses and achieve fulfilment in life. However, we often get caught up in what we feel that we should be doing and not what we actually want or need to do. What is it that you actually want from life? And how are you going to achieve it? You need to be a little bit ruthless with your time and cut out the things that you don’t feel are going to get you nearer to your goals. Remember, only you can define what those goals are.
It’s a great idea to get hold of a notebook or use an app to keep track of the things that you want to achieve during each day. Twenty minutes spent planning your tasks in the morning could save you two hours over the course of your working day. Keeping a visual record of your tasks near you during the day is a fantastic way to overcome procrastination and get the most out of your time.
Our guest on this episode of the number one small business podcast is the co-founder and CEO of Lemonly, John T Meyer. John has his own criteria for deciding if something deserves the required focus. Perhaps it will be different for you, but it’s something to consider as inspiration is a finite resource. We sometimes need to stop doing something to be able to focus on something else. John’s criteria for working out if a project will be fulfilling are:
* 1) Am I learning from this process?
* 2) Am I having fun?
* 3) Do I enjoy working with these people?
Which questions would apply to your goals?
Issue Challenged in this Small Business Podcast:
How can I find the one thing to focus on?
John Meyer is the co-founder and CEO of Lemonly, an innovative visual marketing company that specializes in infographics and data visualization. They aim to make data more digestible for a wider audience and they have worked with a wide variety of clients including the NFL, Smithsonian Museum and The Grammys.
John’s here with us on this episode of your favourite small business podcast to discuss focus and productivity, specifically how we can figure out what is most important to us and what we should be spending our time and energy on.
* Find the 80/20 in your business. Pareto’s Law is a principle that illustrates the uneven balance between inputs and outputs. 80% of the results in your business could come from just 20% of the input. Applying this formula to your business and your life can be incredibly powerful. Grab a piece of paper and draw a T. On the left, write the activities that you do that you feel are a waste of time. On the right, write down the high value activities that you do. These are the activities that really make your business better or life more fulfilled, that really have an impact. You’re probably going to see a lot of rubbish on the left and a few nuggets of gold on the right. This visualization can help you identify what you should be focussing on to improve your life and your business.
* 8 for the Day - Spend 20 minutes to save yourself 2 hours. If you spend 20 minutes planning your day, you could probably save 2 hours. You need to maximize your time as best you can. Try this out – In the morning, write down 8 things (6 professional and 2 personal) that you want to achieve that day. If you do this every day, you will see that your focus and productivity improve.
* Determine your business’ unfair advantage.
Become Deeply Effective with This Powerful Perception Shift
Regardless of who you are or what you do, there are going to be times when you get stuck. It’s an inevitable part of life that everyone goes through from time to time. What’s not inevitable however, is getting unstuck. Some people just can’t get going again and others can’t even tell that they are stuck in the first place.
More often than not, the reasons that people get stuck in their personal or professional lives is down to the perceptions that they have of themselves and others. This is especially the case when it comes to small business owners and entrepreneurs. Am I good enough? How is their business doing? Are we on the right track? Many of these thought patterns come from a desire to succeed and are completely natural, but when they start to affect you negatively then you run the risk of getting stuck. Strategic thinking is extremely useful, ruminating on the same things again and again is not. What’s needed when you start to think like this is a shift in perception.
Perhaps you’re thinking that that is easier said than done, and you’d be right. But our minds and thoughts can be rewired to perceive things in new and healthier ways more easily than you may have thought.
Our guest on this episode of your favourite small business podcast is Emmanuel Wolfe who works a speaker, coach and podcaster. Emmanuel aims to help those who have been stuck change their perceptions of themselves and the situations they find themselves in. Manny’s going to discuss in more detail some powerful techniques such as cognitive behavioural therapy and how these techniques can alter how you perceive things by changing the nature of your thoughts and your inner monologue. Changing your perceptions can even be as simple as taking action instead of ruminating, getting some vigorous exercise or connecting with your friends and family rather than hiding away.
Remember, pessimists and optimists experience the same events, but different thought patterns determine their perceptions and feeling about these events. Not only are optimists healthier and calmer, but they are also more resilient in the face of adversity. Isn’t it time to get unstuck?
Issue Challenged in this Small Business Podcast:
How can I get unstuck and shift my perception in order to become deeply effective?
Emmanuel Wolfe is a podcaster, speaker, coach and author. He specializes in coaching people on how to become their optimal selves through a variety of techniques including the latest in motivational psychology, the latest neuroscience breakthroughs and good old fashioned hard work.
Emmanuel is here with us on this episode of the number one small business podcast to discuss how we can change our perceptions of ourselves, our abilities and our pasts to get out of a rut and achieve a new level of excellence.
* We get caught up in analysis, it turns into analysis paralysis. In most cases, imperfect action is better than no action. If you’re stuck, it’s better to try some things that don’t work than to sit at home and ruminate. Try something, however small it is. Don’t confuse thinking about doing things with actually doing things as some entrepreneurs do.
* It clears your head, elevates your mood and releases endorphins.
* Connect with others. When you’re stuck, seek help from others. Talk to your friends and family. Reach out. Do something, exercise and reach out.
* “Your message doesn’t mean anything if nobody listens to it.”
* “The perceptions are all wrong but we have the ability to rewire them.”
* “Not even the paragons of a certain industry will work for everyone.”
* “Do something, exercise and reach out!”