Categories
Entrepreneurs Small Business startups

The most expensive minute of your life

Starting over in business
Sometimes you just have to know when it’s time to move on.

To that end, a quote from James Altucher:

My first business I sold for $15 million. We built websites for entertainment companies. Bad Boy Records, Miramax, Time Warner, HBO, Sony, Disney, Loud Records, Interscope, on and on. Oh, and Con Edison. Mobb Deep would hang out in my office. Trent Reznor from Nine Inch Nails would stop by. RZA from the Wu-Tang Clan would want to play chess.

Then I saw that kids in junior high school were learning HTML. So I sold the business.

Are you ready (much less willing) to get out of the game you’re in?

More importantly, are you ready to start over?

Starting over is hard. It tends to take longer than you expect. It will probably cost more than you expect. But…if you see the handwriting on the wall, every minute you wait is even more expensive and painful than the last.

Categories
Management Marketing Small Business

Can you predict future revenue?

Lightning arrives before thunder.

In the book, “The Go-Giver”, Bob Burg uses thunder and lightning to illustrate the before/after of delivering value and receiving revenue.

It’s a good analogy to explain that relationship – particularly for first-time clientele. There’s another revenue relationship that you need to have under control: You should generally be able to predict a reasonable percentage of your future revenue.

Yes, you should be able to predict future revenue.

How do I predict future revenue?

In most cases, we’re talking about data that you probably already have some gut feel for.

Funeral homes managers know the death rate per thousand or per million people and can extrapolate how busy they’ll be based on that data combined with the population of their service area, plus historical information.

Most restaurant owners can likely predict how many tables they’ll turn on Mother’s Day. Liquor store owners can typically predict their sales volume on college game day, Super Bowl weekend and major holidays. Depending on their business, some can probably do so most days of the week – thanks to “regulars”.

These measures depend solely on historical data, and while that data is useful for predicting some types of business, it can be inaccurate depending on other things going on in the market. It also doesn’t tend to take into consideration the effects of new business and planned recurring business.

That last one is the one that you really have to work on.

Planned recurring and follow-on sales and service allow you to predict future revenue and do so with a fair amount of accuracy. The question is, are you tracking it?

If you sell cars, you should know how long it will be before certain types of buyers will return for another. Will you wait until they return, or will you remind them of critical crossroads of the age and/or mileage of their rigs so that they can maximize trade in and/or resale value?

Likewise, if you provide preventative service for those cars, you should know how often that service should occur and remind the owners to get that work taken care of, much like a dentist would send a reminder card that it has been six months since your last visit.

Reminding isn’t enough.

While reminding is a nice courtesy, some portion of your clients have a firm enough schedule that they may allow you to schedule those appointments well in advance.

You may be thinking that they might no show or they may wish to avoid scheduling something so “trivial” three to six months in advance. The thing is, they do it for a number of other things because those things are important, serious, of value, and for other reasons.

Some portion of your customer base might be willing to purchase those services and make appointments in advance, or have them automatically paid when the appointment is set, particularly if there is some value added in the process.

I’d prefer a value add to a discount simply because the value received in a value added as a reward is preferable to slicing a piece of profit right off the top. It’s like exchanging a little extra touch for the high value (to you) of knowing that revenue is already going to occur.

You’ve seen other businesses do this. Restaurants have birthday clubs, for example. We’ve talked about those before. Learn from the little things others are doing successfully and think about how you can leverage those to your advantage and to your clients’ benefit. They’ll almost certainly need a tweak to make them your own, but that’s OK.

Build a baseline

The key is not so much what others are doing, but that you are doing *something* that allows you to look at the calendar for next month, the month after and so on, and have a good, dependable idea of the revenue you will receive for that month.

If this predictable “future banked” revenue meets or exceeds your minimum required revenue for a specific period, then the stress of worrying about making payroll next week or next month evaporates.

What’s that worth to you? What would you be able to focus on if you weren’t running about the place trying to chase down enough sales to make next week’s payroll?

What can you do for your clientele that will allow you to future bank revenue generating events?

Categories
attitude Business culture Economic Development Entrepreneurs Leadership Sales Small Business

Loose lips raise communities

community obligation

It’s Saturday morning, so the ritual of before-anyone-else-rises reading, writing and coffee is, as no one ever really says to anyone else, “on like Donkey Kong”.

After closing out a couple of chapters and heading to the laptop to write, I happen to see a piece in the news about a local who is heading off to the Montana State timeout facility in Deer Lodge.

I make a comment on Facebook about the story, the essence of which is “Good riddance, don’t come back”, and then move on to writing. So of course the first response to my “don’t come back” comment is politically charged (because that’s the only way some people see the world these days) and a little snarky.

Public comments of a political nature are rare from me because political conversation usually degrades into one of two things: political arguments or political rants. I have absolutely no use for either one because I find them a waste of time.

So why did I say anything about this story? Why this time?

It isn’t just news

Because this isn’t just news, and it’s only political to those who see the world only through their party’s political lens, regardless of their politics.

What struck me about this story is that the criminal in question is a convicted felon on parole who owned a business and is married – yet no one noticed a thing. Yes, despite the comings and going of employees, customers and a spouse, no one saw or did anything and when asked – the convicted criminal’s spouse said “Oh, I just thought those people were coming over to use (the convicted criminal’s) computer.”

Really?

Is that your contribution to the community? I’ll bet you can tell us what happened on the last two episodes of Real Housewives (or similar), but all that stuff in the basement (nothing out of the ordinary, just the guns, drugs and other stuff) somehow escaped your attention.

Again, why did I say anything about this story? Why this time?

Beyond the headline

Let’s go beyond the headline and it’ll become clear.

We have a business owner with employees. Now that the business owner is going to Deer Lodge, the business is likely to go under, because the owner is probably the “technician” (read The E-Myth). But there are other reasons that the business is likely to lose.

The community now knows that the owner is a convicted felon – in this case, a repeat felon with meth and weapons charges. That isn’t likely to attract more business.

What does the community lose if this business fails?

  • Employees lose jobs.
  • Employee families experience decreased financial stability, if not serious trouble. It’s not uncommon for these things to roll downhill to what might be called “social issues” such as domestic violence or changes in the behavior of kids. It just depends.
  • Whatever benefits the community might gain from the tax revenues collected from that business.
  • The rollover of money use from those employees’ pay in their community.
  • Some level of stability of the community, which drops when the stability of the communities’ employee families drops.

Those are just the obvious ones.

Had someone said something sooner, maybe this could have been averted. In the case of a repeat situation like this, maybe not. We’ll never know. The choice made to say or do nothing reminds me of a conversation I had recently with a group about their obligation to sell harder.

Why sell harder?

Selling harder benefits your community in ways that are similar to those mentioned in the above business failure discussion.

I have to repeat this because people tend to take it out of context thanks to an experience with a less-than-reputable salesperson in their past: Selling harder does not mean “hard sell” or unethical sales. It means selling better and testing the “fringes” of your market for new opportunities.

Selling better should result in a stronger business, thus more stable (perhaps increased) employment, thus more stable families, thus a more stable community.

It’s your obligation to sell more and better, just like it is to be observant and open mouth when something’s wrong.

Both reflect your leadership as well as your stake in your local community.

Categories
Business model Competition Customer relationships Getting new customers Lead generation Marketing Restaurants Retail Sales Small Business Software business strategic planning Strategy The Best Code Wins tracking

How to give MORE refunds and love doing it

sales

Last time, we discussed steps you could take to reduce the number of refunds or “lost” sales you have.

The idea is that every refund or lost sale costs you money, but if you think about this in the big picture, it’s entirely possible that you want to give MORE refunds.

And of course, I have a story about that, because I used to be pretty proud of the fact that I could count annual refunds on one hand.

A conversation with Dan Kennedy changed all that. He suggested that if we had so few refunds that it was the subject of bragging rights, we weren’t marketing or selling hard enough. Otherwise, we should have more refunds – and the payoff for that would be far greater sales.

He was right.

We didn’t have to get pushy and do the hard sell thing, we simply had to step beyond a strategy of selecting just the right people to attract to our business and turning a crazy high percentage of them into customers.

When we widened our qualifying process just a little – not a lot – it was transformational. We adjusted until we found the sweet spot – and it paid off.

Yes, we definitely had more refunds, maybe two or three times as many – but that was still only 10-15 per year. It also resulted in substantially more sales, so it’s worth a try. Just don’t use this strategy as “permission” to use every living being as your almost-perfect prospect.

Remember Jeffrey Gitomer’s “People hate to be sold but they love to buy.” There’s a lot of meaning in that which goes way beyond turning off the hard sell.

Categories
Employees Improvement Leadership Time management

Christians, Lions and Wives of New Jersey

During the run-up to the fall of Rome, entertainment in that civilization became more violent and what many people these days would probably call immoral.

If you look back to Rome, you might not see the parallel to today but I’m sure you’re familiar with the words “Those who forget / ignore history are doomed to repeat it.

As Roman civilization flourished, they valued education, representative government as they knew it, the works of scholars of the time and times before theirs, infrastructure, design, innovation and more. Sound familiar?

But something changed. At some point, the Romans became complacent. Over-confident. In today’s lingo, we might look at their later years and characterize them as “fat and happy”.

When you read back over what Romans wasted their energy on as their civilization crumbled, you might describe it with words like class warfare, cultural differences and entertainment.

In Roman times, you became the entertainment by being different from the mainstream Roman populace. It didn’t matter whether it was religion, social standing, financial standing or whatever. If you qualified, you were a normal day’s entertainment.

By entertainment, I mean the target of the carnage that took place in the Coliseum and elsewhere.

Something turned them from improving themselves and their society to consuming the equivalent of today’s reality TV. The relationships and trust they built as a society and used to build Rome were consumed with drama, suspicion and conspiracy.

Fast forward 600 to 800 years (or more, depending on your view of history). What’s different today aside from the delivery mechanism? Today’s entertainment is a flat panel TV playing the “Real Housewives of New Jersey”.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, “the (Real Housewives) reunion was up 33 percent in 18-49 and 28 percent in total viewers compared with the prior year’s season ender. The ratings performance boosted the season 9 percent in viewership and 3 percent in the key demo compared to the second season. Bravo also touts that the New Jersey subsite lured 3.7 million page views and roughly 430,000 streams, 14 percent and 23 percent jumps respectively the day following the previous week’s episode.

That’s 3.4 million Americans sitting in the equivalent of the Coliseum, watching allegedly adult women in cocktail dresses take on the roles of Christian and lion.

3.4 million Americans and (as noted above) millions of internet users rewarding Bravo for creating this sputum.

How are you spending work time?

That Hollywood Report quote about viewership numbers was from FIVE years ago. What’s changed since then? Perhaps the names of the shows or the cast, but not the gist of what they deliver.

What are you spending your time on? What are you doing to help you, just you, stay on task and on target? If you look back at last week and are completely honest with yourself about what got done and what didn’t get done, what was the cause for things that didn’t get done?

What have you done to prevent that from happening again this week? Perhaps nothing, but now I hope you’re thinking about it, so I’ll ask in a different tense: What can do you to prevent that from happening again this week?

What can keep you on task? What can protect you and your time from inane distractions? What can be delegated, deferred or ignored, even for a day?

It isn’t solely you who has this challenge. What are you doing to help your team stay on task and on target? What can protect their time? What can they delegate, defer or ignore for a day? Assuming you are their direct manager, what are you doing to protect their time and allow them to focus on the one thing you really need them to get done this week?

How are you setting an example for your team in these areas? How are you reporting your findings on what makes you more effective, less frustrated, less distracted, more focused? What are you placing in front of them, ready for them take a swing at?

How are you spending your downtime? You may not have any influence over your team’s downtime, but you can still set an example.

Jim Rohn said (paraphrased) “You become the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Who are your five people? Are the “Real Housewives of New Jersey” on the list?

 

Categories
attitude Business model Competition Creativity Customer relationships customer retention Entrepreneurs Improvement Influence Marketing planning Positioning Restaurants Retail service Small Business strategic planning Strategy

Be indispensable

Sossusvlei Landscape
Are you indispensable to your customers?

The question that you have to ask yourself – daily, rather than once – is “What can you do to make yourself indispensable to your customers?”

A few examples to get the juices flowing:

  • If you sell coffee, how can you help your customers wade through the coffee buzzword maze and enjoy *better* coffee? What’s fair trade? Is it really fair trade, or is it just another marketing buzzword?
  • If you sell cars, how can you help your customers make better decisions, get more from their investment, and save time and money on repairs? How can you help them remember to perform the regular maintenance that allows them to depend on their vehicle regardless of the weather?
  • If you repair lawn mowers, how can you help your customers get a better looking yard, without injury, cheaper, safer and faster? How can you save them time and money on upkeep and repairs? How can you help them remember to change their oil, sharpen their blades and make their mower perform better and longer?
  • If you help people deal with (and prevent) legal problems, how can you help your customers avoid rushing into your office with a problem that has to be solved NOW? Ounce of prevention, pound of cure kinda stuff. Be their lawyer every day or every week, just a little vs. being their rescue squad every 5 years.
  • If you treat people’s injuries and diseases, how can you help them be safer at home and at work? How can you help them by advising them on nutrition and other preventative care, without becoming a nag? Knowing that these things require lifestyle / habit changes, how can you help your customers/patients make that happen? How can you help your patients make sense of the constant flow of health, nutrition and prescription information placed in front of them each day? How can you help them prevent injuries and disease, rather than waiting until they occur so you can treat them?
  • If you sell building materials to professional contractors, how can you help them find more business so they can buy more building materials? Can you help keep them informed about industry promos, tax incentives and other things to help them be more competitive?
  • If you sell advertising (better sit down), how can you help your clients track the effectiveness of all their advertising? How can you help them calculate the ROI on the advertising? Not guesswork, but real numbers based on the foot/internet traffic, revenue and profit each advertising source generates. Who is indispensable, the ad salesperson or the ad salesperson who is also a partner in profitability?
  • If you sell computers, ANSWER YOUR PHONE. Those people on the other end of the phone who don’t know as much as you’ve forgotten about a computer are the ones with all the money. They’d like to give it to you, if only you’ll help them. Yes, to be indispensable in the computer business, quite often it’s as simple as answering your phone and helping them with their problem without being arrogant. In fact, just answering your phone will be a huge first step.

If I didn’t mention the business you’re in, use these things as inspiration to do what makes your business indispensable to your customers. Please don’t make the mistake of thinking that because your specific type of business wasn’t mentioned, it won’t work for you. Likewise, if you’re thinking to yourself that “my business is different, it won’t work for me”, you’re right. If you don’t do these things – they won’t work for you.

The goal in doing all of these things is to position yourself and your business as the only place that your clients will consider doing business. Arrive at that position by doing this kind of stuff and both your checkbook and your customers will thank you.

Take care of them like no one else is willing to.

Categories
coaching Competition Customer relationships Entrepreneurs Ideas Improvement market research Marketing Positioning Restaurants Retail Sales service Small Business strategic planning Strategy The Slight Edge Time management

Do you scale?

Here They Are!! Part 3 (Come over!!!)

We humans don’t scale well.

We have to automate or delegate, either to another staffer, an assistant (virtual or otherwise), a contractor or whatever – or just not get some things done (which is OK, depending on the thing).

No matter how much effort you put into scheduling your time, managing your time, protecting yourself from interruptions, automating what can be automated and perhaps most importantly, eliminating what Dan Kennedy calls (among other things) “time thieves” from your life/work day, you will eventually reach a point where you can’t get more done.

Sometimes though, we don’t need to scale. Instead, we need to refine what we deliver.

Kennedy has something he calls a “ladder of ascension”, which is a fancy name for having products that are appropriate for many budgets and needs.

You can buy a $10 book from Dan or you can spend $20000 to have a dedicated day to meet him at his house and work on your business. As you might expect, there are steps (rungs of the ladder) in between.

The ladder

Most people who do what I do offer the same sort of ladder. For some people, a book or video (or even a blog) is enough. For others, coaching on a monthly basis. Still others request dedicated efforts ranging from a day to weeks/months.

Your time and resources limit how many of the last type you can handle, much less your attention to the other rungs of your product/service ladder.

The question to ask yourself is simple: Is your ladder missing any rungs?

Whether you run a retail store, a restaurant, a public relations firm or a mower repair shop, it’s important.

Categories
attitude Box stores Business culture Competition Creativity Customer service Employees Improvement Leadership planning Positioning Retail Small Business strategic planning The Slight Edge

Why you should sell air

Ninja portrait

As I noted yesterday, my current survey here at Business is Personal asks “What’s your biggest marketing challenge?”

Yesterday, we discussed why 25% of respondents have said “Making time to do the marketing” and how they should go about fixing that.

Today, the next largest group (a very close second) is those who said “Differentiating my business from competitors” or offered a response that effectively means the same thing.

Consider “adding air” to the product or service you sell.

What I mean by air is something that:

  • Adds substantial value – from the customer’s viewpoint – to what you sell.
  • Doesn’t add substantial (or any) cost to what you sell (this is why people call it “air”)
  • Competitors haven’t bothered to add to their offering, so your product/service looks better/more complete, has a higher perceived/actual value.

The net result is that you can ask a higher price. You’ll stand out from the other guy.

Hopefully by now, I don’t have to say “Air is not lame, low value puffery”.

Example Air

Let’s say you sell premium brand house paint. Every hardware store and home improvement box store sells premium paint.

How in the world would you stand out? You can’t likely compete on price (thankfully) because they buy more in a month than you buy in a year.

Rather than try to meet the local box store’s price, talk about the time your customer will waste driving into town, dealing with traffic and talking to paint people who maybe don’t know paint. Sure, this means YOUR paint people will actually need to know paint, but they should anyhow.

Still need to add some air? You could negotiate with a local painting company to include drop cloths and stir sticks with the paint crew’s business name and 24-hour emergency number. Oh and print “Tired of this? We’ll finish the job.” on those items. Who hasn’t gotten 20 feet up on a ladder (or bit off more than they could chew) and wondered why in the world they didn’t get a pro to do the job?

Oops, I forgot a stir stick

Think about the last time you bought something that required additional pieces/parts. Doesn’t it annoy you to get home and find out you forgot something? Shouldn’t the sales / register staff where you bought that something take low-key steps to make sure you’ve got all the stuff you need?

Almost everyone complains about not having enough time to do (whatever), so go out of your way to save your customers’ time – and make note of it. How long would it take to drive from your premium paint aisle to the paint aisle at Home Depot? Put up a sign in your paint aisle noting that and thanking them for supporting a locally owned business.

Sell some air. Stand out. Be the best paint store in your county. Be the ONLY choice for someone who needs a can of premium paint, not because no one else sells it, but because no one else sells it and takes care of paint customers like you do.

After doing all that… your biggest marketing challenge WON’T be “Differentiating my business from competitors”.

Categories
Business culture Competition Customer relationships customer retention Customer service Employees Leadership Management Marketing marketing to the affluent Marketing to women Positioning quality Restaurants Retail Sales service Small Business The Slight Edge

Making nothing but customers

sunday morning

One of the reasons that I see businesses struggling (or not doing as well as they could) is that they appear to work as if the profit from a sale to a new customer is more important than getting a new customer itself.

Recognizing the difference is critical to turning one-time visitors into long-time devotees.

Devotees. Not just customers.

What’s a devotee?

A devotee will bring their family to your place when they come from out of town. Not just once, but as many times as they can.

A devotee will suggest your place both to visitors and those new to the area and make the place seem like the only place worth choosing.

A devotee considers your place the (not “a”) dependable solution to fill their wants and needs – and when recommended to others, your work secures their reputation among their circle of influence.

Testing 1-2-3

One of the little things my wife and I do to “test” a new restaurant is stop in (often late in the day) for coffee and a dessert. Sometimes we’ll do this just to get out of the house for a little while after a home-cooked meal or a long day. We get to experience a dessert we probably wouldn’t make at home and escape a little.

When we do this, we’re often asked if it’s our first time to visit their place.

What varies widely (both here and elsewhere) is how the experience goes from that point forward.

Think about how you welcome new guests and how the locals and tourists might be helped differently. Don’t leave this up to chance. TRAIN your employees in the proper ways to pull this off, things to avoid, things to always include and how to add just a little personal touch of their own.

What really gets my attention on these late evening visits is how we are treated – especially the first time – when all we order is a cup of coffee and a slice of pie to share.

What happens next?

Consider the specific differences in your customers’ experience when visiting your place for the first time, when visiting it thereafter, and when visiting it at the point where several employees know your name because you visit so often. It’s important no matter what kind of business you run.

Why is it so important?

Because that first sale – especially that dinky little cuppa joe and slice of pie – is a critical first step to creating a devotee.

You might not feel like those coffee and pie customers are worth fawning over like everyone else (assuming you fawn). The thing is, when they walk out to the parking lot (or leave the drive up) for the first time, the impression in that first-time-customer’s mind usually determines whether or not they will return.

Perhaps with tourists, you don’t care, but you should.

With social review services like Yelp, UrbanSpoon and TripAdvisor (among others) to help *future* customers make purchase decisions, one-time visits by someone with a smartphone can pay big dividends or cost you visitors. Imagine the unseen revenue loss from a few poor (and deservedly so) online reviews. You’ll never know how many people didn’t visit because of a series of unfavorable reviews.

Even if you have no desire to carry the internet in your pocket, consider that as of June 2010, 45 MILLION people in the U.S. currently carry a smartphone. Every one of them is a little review machine just waiting to create (or destroy) your business’ karma. Collectively, those reviews can transform your business.

Keep in mind that’s roughly 1 of every 4 people you see.

Doing the math

A little “What 1 new customer means” math…

  • For your cafe: One visit every other month. Average ticket size: $50 (you already know your average lunch and/or dinner ticket size – if you don’t, you better find out).  That’s $300 a year. Over 20 years, that cup of coffee and pie eventually brings you $6000 worth of business.
  • For your small engine repair shop: 3 visits per year at between $75 and $150 per visit (or whatever your per ticket average is). Call it $100 to make the math easy. That’s $300 per year or $6000 over 20 years.
  • For your oil change shop: 4 visits a year. $40 per visit. Only $160 per year, or maybe twice that if you upsell *wisely* and don’t sell stuff just because you can get away with it.

Those numbers seem almost too small for you to care about, especially over 20 years…until you realize how many first-time customers drop in each day.

Now, with that number (for this month) floating in your head, let’s look at the math again.

How many first impressions do you get to make each day?

Don’t just make the sale. Make a new lifelong customer.

Categories
attitude Business culture coaching Competition Employees Entrepreneurs Improvement Leadership Productivity service Small Business Strategy

The size of the mountain doesn’t matter

A combination of events over the last couple of months has had me thinking more about the expectations we have for ourselves, our kids, our employees and holy moly, even our politicians.

First, Jim Rohn passed away.

Jim talked a lot about expectations and how delivery of them is on one person: you. I highly recommend Rohn’s stuff. While you can buy his books, videos, audio etc online, quite a lot can be found at no cost on his site and on YouTube.

Next, four of my Scouts attained the rank of Eagle on the same day, after progressing together in Scouting since the second grade.

Three of them had been Life Scouts (the last rank prior to Eagle) for over three years. They needed a little prodding to finish the last item or two on their checklist, but they all assumed they’d get it done. If nothing else, they figured their parents would pressure them to get it done. Note: They were right.

A tall, steep mountain

But a year ago, one of them just didn’t think he could get there. Not because he isn’t confident (he is), but because the mountain in front of him was so very tall.

A year ago, he was a Star Scout (and had been for some time). That means that he needed several merit badges in addition to finishing the requirements for the Life Scout rank, then he needed to spend six months actively providing senior leadership to the troop,  and finally had to come up with and complete an Eagle Scout service project.

All of that had to happen in about a year, and with a dose of reality, it had to happen in an environment that includes a job, his senior year of high school, cars, girls, school, skiing, hunting, a summer of fun (including traveling for a team sport) and everything else teenagers do these days.

The size of the mountain doesn’t matter much

One thing that I’ve found with folks young and not so young is that the size of the mountain in front of them rarely has anything to do with their ability to climb it.

What’s far more important is whether or not they THINK they can climb it.

Yeah, I know I’m teetering into the land of the touchy-feely. However, what folks think they can make happen clearly has a huge impact on what they accomplish.

For that one young man, it was easy to seem like Eagle wasn’t reachable because it was so far away.

All he needed was to see that *I* completely believed he could do it if he applied himself. I didn’t do the work, I didn’t give him any shortcuts, and I sure don’t deserve the credit, but that little tiny bump in the road could have kept him from getting there.

Once he believed he could get over it, he simply had to chip away at it till he was done.

You can’t do that

I wonder how many of those little bumps and “You can’t do that” comments employees, business owners and entrepreneurs run into and what accomplishments they prevent.

Some people would see a comment like that as a challenge. They’ll swing for the fences and complete the task with a flourish (think “Ricky Henderson”) as a way to say “Oh yeah? Take THAT. I *could* do it.”

Most business owners and entrepreneurs probably steamroll past that stuff or they wouldn’t be in those positions.

But not everyone is built that way. It might take a success or two to show some that they really can kick butt and take names.

I spend a lot of time with kids due to Scouts, swim team and other things I’m involved in. I sometimes see kids who are told they *are* great (whether they are or not). I see others who are encouraged to *be* great (or even better) and accomplish great things.

More kids need to be encouraged to BE great, whether they want to be a rocket scientist, a millwright or a statesman (“statesperson” sounds a little weird for me). We could use a few (hundred) *great* statesmen of both genders, in fact.

Just telling them they are great isn’t enough. They need mentors, like anyone else.