Book Quote of the Week 041

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“Stop trying to network in the traditional business sense. Instead, just try to build up the number and depth of your friendships, where the friendship itself is it’s own reward.” Tony Hsieh

 

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Book Quote of the Week – 040

Quote

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming ‘Wow! What a Ride!'”

– Hunter S. Thompson, The Proud High-way: Saga of a Desperate Southern Gentleman, 1955-1967

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Richard Branson: Business Stripped Bare Notes & Quotes

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Notes/Quotes:
Richard Branson is someone who has always fascinated me. I love his story. I love what he’s done, how he’s done it and how he continues to do it. Following are some of the notes I took while reading one of his books, Business Stripped Bare: Adventures of a Global Entrepreneur.
There’s a lot of great stuff in this book. Highly recommend reading it and then reading it again. Make your own notes and occasionally refer back to them or come back here and read these notes again. There are a number of great things that you’ll be reminded of and will help spark new ideas to grow yourself and your business.
People
  • Avoid taking on someone else’s legacy
  • If you are in the mood to buy a new business – wait.  It can take a long time to change a business culture.  Are you sure you wouldn’t be better off starting one from scratch?
  • In business, someone who can stay cool and calm under pressure is an asset.
  • There’s no rule book.  the past is the past.  We can’t preserve it
  • small, compact companies are, generally better run
  • Put people together in a way that will have them bouncing ideas off each other, befriending each other, and taking care of each other, and suddenly they are coming to you, not with gripes and problems, but with solutions and great ideas.
  • Given the right conditions, exceptional people will reveal themselves
  • There’s another thing about teams: they don’t last forever
  • When the business lets you, shake things up a little
  • The best manager is someone who cares about people and who is genuinely interested and wants to bring out the best in them
  • A manager should basically be a considerate person who is as interested in the switchboard operator and the person who cleans the lavatories as he or she is in the fellow managers
  • A self-disciplined employee will have the patience to conduct routine business routinely, the talent to respond exceptionally to exceptional circumstances, and the wisdom to know the difference between the two
  • you can’t dictate attitudes from on high.  All you can do is hire the right people and empower them to sort things out as they happen.
  • If someone has paid you for something, and it goes wrong, being cagey or defensive will kill you stone dead
  • If someone has a lousy experience at your hands, they will warn people
  • If you are able to sort out your customers’ problems better than they expected, then they will be your loyal friend for life
Brand
  • Befriending one’s enemy is a good rule for business – and life
  • A brand always means something, and ultimately you can control the meaning of your brand only through what you deliver to customers
  • Turnover can be huge, but it is the profit margin that matters
  • I learned another key fact about running a business: try to have a plan B
  • Publicity is absolutely critical.  You have to get your brand out and about
  • A good PR story is infinitely more effective than a full-page ad, and a damn sight cheaper
  • it is sometimes better to follow a pioneer than be a pioneer
  • Maintaining a consistent tone in the face of rapid growth was a key requirement
  • You can’t restructure culture.  If you’ve burnt people, if you’ve killed their enthusiasm or commitment, then changing office space or putting a few more dollars in their pocket will not unduly affect the culture that exists
  • Whatever your brand stands for, you have to deliver on the promise.  Don’t promise what you can’t deliver, and deliver everything you promise.  That’s the only way you’ll ever control your brand.  And beware: brands always mean something.  If you don’t define what the brand means, a competitor will.
Delivery
  • Don’t waste your precious time.  Phone calls and emails can eat your day.  Don’t let them.  No one will think less of you for getting to the point.
  • I advise every owner of a company to keep a notebook and jot down the things that need doing
  • You must never forget that every change ushers in unforeseen consequences
  • Success one day does not give you a free lunch every day thereafter
  • We’ve started, so we’ll finish
  • Never imagine that you are immune from big events.  Make your small decisions in the light of the bigger picture, and you are at least pointing your craft in the right direction to ride out any storm
  • One business mantra remains embedded in my brain – protect the downside
  • Remember to communicate, and pay attention to detail
  • Don’t be afraid of changing your bank if they are unreasonable.  Banks are not for life.  But don’t put it off till the last minute
  • Out of recession, new ideas and new business often grow
  • If you are a late entrant to the market, you need to be radically different to win over customers.
  • If you rip off the customer, then you will destroy the integrity of the brand
  • When you’re first thinking through an idea, it’s important not to get bogged down in complexity
  • You can never go too far wrong by thinking like a customer who’s new to the business
  • It’s easy – too easy, in fact – to relinquish your responsibility for your idea to experts.  This is almost always a mistake, because experts are only experts in their field.  They’re not experts in your idea.  At this stage, the only person qualified to assess your idea is you
  • You need to flesh out your own ideas.  You need to do your own research.  You need to take responsibility for how you plan to turn an idea into action
  • Keep a cool head.  You’re in business to deliver change, and if you succeed, the chances that  no one will get hurt are virtually zero.  This is the rough and tumble of business.  Be sportsmanlike, play to win, and stay friends with people wherever possible.  If you do fall out with someone, ring them a year later and take them out to dinner. Befriend your enemies.
  • Being a well funded company puts you at a tremendous advantage
 
Learning from Mistakes and Setbacks
  • Never do anything that means you can’t sleep at night
  • You can’t protect yourself against the unexpected, so you need to keep your house in as good an order as you can.  If disaster strikes, you don’t want to find yourself doing twelve things at once and misprioritising them in public.  It’s vital, therefore, that you take control of your internal business risks – the ones you can influence.
  • I think it is counterproductive to be ruthless.  You’ve got to treat people as you would yourself, or better
  • You definitely should get the best people around you when confronted with a serious problem.  Don’t try to deal with it all by yourself.  Don’t be afraid to seek help and advice.
  • If you drive down the retail price fast enough when you are the dominant player, you never allow anyone else to catch up because they can’t make enough money.  It requires the dominant player to be brave, because it can mean cannibalizing your existing sales by dropping the retail price.  (i.e. Apple and the iPod)
  • Protect your reputation.  Don’t be afraid of making mistakes
  • If you’re hurt, lick your wounds and get up again.  If you’ve given it your absolute best, it’s time to move forward.
Innovation
  • The best, most solid way out of a crisis in a changing market is through experiment and adaption.
  • Innovation is what you get wen you capitalize on luck, when you get up from behind your desk and go and see where ideas and people lead you.
Entrepreneurs and Leadership
  • True leadership must include the ability to distinguish between real and apparent danger.
  • You need to understand the challenges to your enterprise and face up to them.  Equally, you have to resist the temptation to overreact at the first sign of trouble.
  • Every business plan should include: “This company will have lots and lots of parties and social get-togethers.”
  • The creator’s job is to find someone with expertise who understands the vision and is prepared to follow the path.
  • If you can keep the business relatively small, people will know each other within the organisation and feel like part of the team.
  • Decent leadership is about explaining clearly and unemotionally why a decision has been taken.
  • Failure is not giving things a go in the first place.
  • Only a fool never changes his mind.
  • DON’T BRING ME YOUR PROBLEMS – BRING ME THE SOLUTIONS
Social Responsibility
  • It is possible to turn a profit while making the world a better place.
  • What can you do to make a difference?
  • One ought never to turn one’s back on a threatened danger and try to run away from it.  If you do that, you will double the danger.  But if you meet it promptly and without flinching, you will reduce the danger by half.  Never run away from anything.  Never! – Sir Winston Churchill
  • Don’t forget to listen
Epilogue
  • It is important to look for one’s strengths – to try to excel at what you’re good at.
  • What you’re bad at actually doesn’t interest people, and it certainly shouldn’t interest you.
  • So don’t let your limits knock your self-confidence
  • Success for me is whether you have created something that you can be really proud of.

Get this book and others from Richard Branson HERE, or Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks and listen to his first two books for free!

Growing by Acquisition

Exciting things have been happening on our company, Kodiak Mountain Stone. Below is a blog that I posted on our company website to tell about it:

Since 2005 Kodiak Mountain Stone has continued to expand our product offering to meet the needs of our clients. This has included the addition of new stone profiles and colors. The demand for manufactured stone veneer continues to grow in both commercial and residential new build and renovation projects. We are proud to know that our products have helped create lasting beauty and value to these projects.
We are now extremely excited to announce our next growth phase that will help us to offer even more options to our customers.  Kodiak Mountain Stone has recently acquired Rocky Mountain Stone Products of Salt Lake City. This immediately adds ten new stone profiles and three thin brick veneer profiles to the Kodiak Mountain Stone line of products! In addition, we will continue to offer all of the Rocky Mountain Stone Product colors in all our profiles and likewise will offer all the Kodiak Mountain Stone colors in all of the Rocky Mountain Stone Products profiles.
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Over the past decade Rocky Mountain Stone Products has developed a great product offering and has expanded it’s reach throughout the Western US. We are happy to continue working with all of their distributors, adding them to our Dealer Network. Find a dealer near you HERE.
The Rocky Mountain Stone Products profiles that have been added to the Kodiak Mountain Stone line will be known as our Rocky Mountain Series. All of our profiles are now available throughout our dealer network in Canada and the US.

Kodiak Mountain Stone  Rocky Mountain Stone Products

Kodiak Mountain Stone  Rocky Mountain Stone Products

Check out our Rocky Mountain Series photo gallery HERE

 

Up to 50% Off Select Outdoor Products sale at BuildDirect! Ends 05/31/2017

Alarm Clock Discipline

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Everyone wants to know:
“How can I be successful?”
“What do I need to do to be the best at what I do?”
“How do I get an edge to beat our my competition?”
What’s the answer? Well, there’s an entire industry built on telling you the answer. There are so many resources available to answer your questions.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change

Think and Grow Rich

How Successful People Think: Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life

The list is endless. There are many more I’ve included in my Reading List, check them out HERE. Or check out the 2,275 books that come up in Amazon when you search “How to be successful” HERE.
But it doesn’t matter how much you know or how much you’ve read if you don’t act.  There are many things that you need to do and things that need to come together for you to be successful, but I know that one thing you need to be successful is discipline. Today I have been thinking about something I call Alarm Clock Discipline.
The more I read, the more I see thoughts and ideas overlapping with different authors. Recently I’ve had three different resources that have made me think about this topic.
In October I wrote a post about The Slight Edge. In that post I wrote:
Out of all the great things that I have learned from this book, there is one concept that stands out more than the others. “The simple things that lead to success are all easy to do. But they are also just as easy not to do.” This concept is hit on throughout the book. It’s the simple, little habits that you do every day that lead to success. The simple, little habits that are easy to do, but just as easy not to do. This phrase runs through my head every single morning now if I want it to or not. I set my alarm for 5am. When it goes off I have two choices. I can slide out of bed, put on my running shoes and go for my morning run. Or I can hit the snooze button, curl up in bed and fall back asleep. I’ve really done both quite a few times in my life. I’m pretty disciplined so getting up early to run or workout usually isn’t a big deal. But I’m not as disciplined in going to bed at a good hour. So some mornings when the alarm goes off at 5am and I’ve only been in bed for a few hours it’s pretty easy to justify skipping the workout that morning and usually hitting the snooze two or three more times after that. But now each morning when my alarm goes off, before I have the opportunity to realize how tired I am, the words, “Easy to do. Easy not to do.” are running through my head. That’s motivation enough to get me going.
Jeff talks about the “little things” a lot. If I hit the snooze and skip my run it likely isn’t going to kill me or have a drastic impact on my health. But the compound effect is always working. It’s either working for us or against us. So as I get out of bed for my workout those actions are compounding with all the other times I take those positive actions. That one workout might not have much of an impact on my health, but compounding them all together will. Just like when I hit the snooze, that action compounds with all the other times I take those actions and works against me.
Basketball is a big part of life in our family and Alarm Clock Discipline is a big deal when we are getting teenagers up at 5:00am for a workout. As would be expected with kids, some days are easier than others, but over the past five years I’m proud to say that Tia and Daxon have put hundreds of hours into working on their game before most kids their age would even consider being out of bed.
I recently sent them the following video to watch from PGS Basketball: 5 Ways to Build Mental Toughness.
Number one on the list: Wake Up Early & Get Out of Bed
I love in this video when he says that by “hitting snooze you are giving into your feelings. When you give into your feelings you will never be special at anything.”
I don’t care if you do or don’t like the sport of basketball. Take five minutes to watch this video, it’s worth your time.
The most recent resource that got me thinking about this topic again was a book that I just finished by Jacko Willing and Leif Babin. The book is Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALS Lead and Win
In the book they say that discipline starts every day when the alarm clock goes off in the morning. The moment the alarm clock goes off is the first test and it sets the tone for the rest of the day. The test is simple. When the alarm clock goes off do you get up out of bed or do you lie there in comfort and fall back asleep.
They go on the explain that if you have the discipline to get out of bed, you win, you pass the test. If you are mentally weak at that moment and you let that weakness keep you in bed, you fail. Though it seems small, whichever decision you make will translate into more significant and substantial elements of your life.
My favorite quote in this book is, “Discipline is the difference between being good and being exceptional.”
How do you become successful? There are many answers to that question. But having Alarm Clock Discipline is a good place to start.

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Equal is Unfair

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I have my own personal thoughts and feelings when it comes to politics, but I usually don’t express them publicly too much because the debates that can arise from them can drive me crazy and there’s usually no way of coming out ahead. But Equal Is Unfair: America’s Misguided Fight Against Income Inequality by Don Watkins and Aaron Brook got me thinking about something I decided is worth spending some time reflecting on.  The authors share a number of ideas that I would tend to agree with and I can imagine could start some heated debates, but I’ll leave it to you to read the book and decide if you agree or disagree with their opinions.
Until six months ago I’ve lived my entire life in Alberta, Canada. In my mind it was the greatest province in the country for an entrepreneur. Not everything was perfect there but it was pretty dang good. But last year a new government was voted in and with many of the initiatives they have been implementing I feel they are anti-business and anti-entrepreneurship.
I was invited to a meeting with a number of other business owner and the new Minister of Finance, Joe Ceci. There have been many more hot topics since this meeting, but at the time the hot topic was the governments proposal to hike minimum wage to $15/hour (In 2015 it was raised from $10.20/hour to $11.20/hour). The frustration came from the minister’s ignorance to the facts. Not all businesses are highly profitable. Not all businesses have high profit margins. As business owners sat in that meeting and told the minister if minimum wage was to raise to $15/hour they would have to raise their prices he told us that a minimum wage increase would not raise prices. He also told us that a hike in minimum wage would not increase unemployment.  When I listen to the business owners state the opposite I tend to believe them, but we will have to wait and see the outcome.
Many of the business people at this meeting were restaurant owners who typically hire minimum wage workers. I have never been involved in the restaurant business, but today I found this on Reference.com
Profit margins are typically low for restaurants in general and especially for restaurants owned by individual franchisees. The average profit margin for the restaurant industry overall is 2.4 percent, as of 2013. The margin is down from 3.2 percent in 2009. The average franchised restaurant location makes a profit of less than $50,000 per year as of 2013. Opening a franchised restaurant with an established brand sometimes costs as much as $500,000.
Many who support such a hike argue against the “greedy business owners.” However, if I were a franchise owner that invested $500,000 to open by business and I was making less than $50,000 per year, such a significant minimum wage hike would be very tough to swallow.
Here are some ideas shared in Equal Is Unfair: America’s Misguided Fight Against Income Inequality on this topic. Again, I’m not trying to create a debate here, these are just my thoughts. But it’s a good book to read if you are interested in this topic or any of the other inequality topics that seem to be on the rise.
  • A government mandated minimum wage prevents people from deciding for themselves what pay to accept. If a person cannot find an employer that will hire them at the minimum wage level, they are legally barred from accepting a lower paying job.
  • A raise in minimum wage will raise the pay of some workers but stop others from working all together.
  • The biggest victims of a minimum wage increase are the lowest skilled workers. When minimum wage increases, higher skilled workers will now compete for jobs that previously we too low paying.
  • It hurts businesses
    • Many will hire fewer employees. We already see many fast food restaurants automating their services to reduce the number of employees needed so that they can stay in business.
    • Many will reduce perks and benefits
    • Some will simply have to go out of business

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Have you read the book? Thoughts?

Fortune

Daily Success Habits

Road to Success Highway Sign

When Jeff Olson talks about success habits in The Slight Edge: Turning Simple Disciplines into Massive Success and Happiness he often says, “they are easy to do, but they are easy not to do as well.”

I recently read Think and Grow Rich again and decided to take on Napoleon Hills challenge of writing down my goals and reading them twice per day, once first thing in the morning and once just before going to sleep. Really, it’s a pretty simple way to get your mind continually focused on your goals, it’s easy to do.

Over the past week I’ve had some late nights and early mornings. That’s no excuse and I still have all my good intentions, but as I look back there are times that I have simply forgot to do this. Easy to do… Easy not to do.

As I hurried to get the kids off to school this morning and realized I had forgot about reading my goals over this morning I started to reflect on it. How important are these goals to me? How bad do I want to achieve them? If I can’t take the simple step of reading over my goals twice per day am I really going to do the other things that are going to help me achieve those goals?
To be successful we need to create our success habits which we do day in and day out regardless of what they are. As Darren Hardy teaches in The Compound Effect, it’s the small, daily habits that create big results. Figure out today what those small daily habits need to be and don’t cheat yourself, make sure you are doing them every single day. They will help you find success.


 

Learning

The Aladdin Factor – Go For It!

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Cold calls can be tough. Yes, there are some of you out there that it’s no big deal and you don’t even think twice about it, but for a lot of people, including me, cold calls can be tough. Just the thought of the call begins a narrative of stories in your mind. Who do I ask for when I call? What if they say no? What will I say?
Maybe it’s easier to just not make the call and save yourself the stress and embarrassment, right?  Well, not in the life of an entrepreneur or someone in any type of sales position.
I recently was in this position while I was trying to make some major decisions for one of our companies. I had thought through some scenarios and the idea came to me that there might be an opportunity to collaborate with one of our competitors to create a win-win for both of us. But my thoughts tried to sabotage the idea. “I don’t even know who to talk to. Do I just call their toll free number and ask for the boss? What if they think it’s a dumb idea?”
Any time that I’m in a situation like this I think of a book that really changed my life as an entrepreneur. The Aladdin Factor by Mark Victor Hansen and Jack Canfield. The principle they teach that I find most helpful in this type of situation is to basically not care what the other side thinks of you when, if the worse scenario in your mind happens, nothing in your life changes.

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If you make the call and get a NO. Nothing has changed in your life. You didn’t have whatever you were asking for before. You asked and you don’t have it now. So nothing has changed by asking, so who cares. Sure, if you don’t have “it” right now, you. still don’t have “it” if you don’t ask and nothing has changed in that situation either. But if you don’t ask at all, you are not giving the opportunity for a YES. So go ahead and make that call.
Back. to my story. I made the call and told the lady who answered that I didn’t know who I should ask for but explained why I was calling.  Turns out that it was a great action to take. The deal we are working to put together is nothing like I had imagined when I was first making the call.  In fact it is significantly different.  But in the end it’s looking like it will be better for both of us and I’m having an opportunity to work with some great business people that I would have never known if I didn’t make the call.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anticipation

Fail and Learn

Failure is such a common word when people talk about entrepreneurship. We hear things like, fail fast or fail often. It’s a known thing, all business don’t succeed. Things happen that are out of the entrepreneurs control. A good idea doesn’t work out because of an outside force or situation. Or a business fails because it was a bad idea from the beginning. Maybe it was a good idea but it was poorly executed. Whatever the matter, some businesses fail.
As an entrepreneur I am well aware that failure is part of business. But a lot of entrepreneurs think like I have, that failure is something that happens with other people’s businesses. Sometimes, as hard as it might be, failure is the best option, or the only option. I have operated in situations with the attitude that failure is not an option and in the long run it was a mistake. In those situations I believe that if I would have allowed myself to fail I would have been able to pivot and get back on track a lot sooner than I had by trying to keep something going that should have failed sooner.
The most important part of failure is the lessons learned. I hope that the future will show that I have learned from my mistakes and moving forward can be a better entrepreneur because of it.

Be Obsessed with Learning

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I recently wrote the blog, Read Less and Study More. Today as I was reading Be Obsessed or Be Average by Gant Cardone he mentioned something in the chapter titled Feed the Beast that made me think about this topic some more.
Under the title, Obsessed with Learning, he said:
“The easiest way to feed your beast is to spend time learning something new or learning how to be even better at something you’re already doing.”
In my blog, Read Less and Study More, I talked about Darren Hardy teaching that rather than moving from book to book as we complete them, we need to spend more time studying what we read to really get a better understanding of the topic.
Cardone teaches that, “What we pay attention to is what you get.” and  “The more attention you give something, the more you feed it, the stronger and more powerful it grows.”
 
As we are learning something new or trying to be even better at something we are already doing, we will have more success as we dedicate more of our time and focus to that topic. As Cardone would say, become obsessed with the topic.

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