November 30: Deal or No Deal

There are 4 basic paradigms of human interaction:

  1. Win-Lose: I win, you lose
  2. Lose-Win: I let you win
  3. Lose-Lose: Nobody gets their way
  4. Win-Win: We both win
Lose-Lose is no good for anyone, but the first two end up being Lose-Lose eventually anyway. So if you are working with someone it needs to be a Win-Win or no deal.

How can you make doing business with you a win for you and a win for your customers?

November 29: Hook, Look, Took

Whether you are creating a presentation, commercial or writing a headline here's a simple formula:

Hook- Grab attention with a headline, opening phrase or image
Look- Give all the fact and support your message
Took- Close with a call to action

Where could you use the hook, look, took approach in your business?

November 28: Wear a Tie

If everyone at the office is business casual, you can stand out by wearing a tie. Don't dress for the job you have, dress for the job you want.

If your none of your competitors wear uniforms or suits then you can leap frog them in the mind of your customers by dressing smart.

There are many ways to stand out, and dressing nice is one of the easiest.

Even if you work from home, taking the time to dress professionally puts your mind in the right place.

How do you dress for work? How could you step it up a notch?

November 27: Go with What Sticks

Try lots of ideas. Throw some stuff out there and see what sticks. Sometimes you don't know where your next product, innovation, or market is going to emerge. By being bold you can test the waters in a lot of areas and follow up on the things that take hold.

When was the last time you tried a new idea for your business? What have been your best successes? Where did the idea for those successes originate?

November 26: 1 versus 100

Sow your financial seed and look for multiple streams of income. Most people get all of their income from one source, usually an employer. If this income stream dries up you are in big trouble.

Entrepreneurs are on the right track because they are not relying on someone else for income. The problem is that most entrepreneurs put all of their eggs in one basket. They spend all their time and resources on one idea and if it does not work they are hurting. I know this problem first hand.

By investing a little bit in 100 ideas instead of 1 you have a greater chance of a return. Chances are the return may be smaller since you are spreading out your investment. But imagine you are getting 100 little checks each month. They don't have to be big to start adding up.

Where can you plant some small financial seeds? Would you be happy getting 100 small checks a month?

November 25: Reprimand then Praise

A lot of people use the praise then reprimand approach. "You are a spectacular person, but you smell bad." The problem is that people don't remember anything before the but.

It is much more effective to be up front with the hard stuff, and then follow it with the soft. This works when you are dealing with:

  • Employees
  • Children
  • Customers
  • Students
  • Pets
So remember to reprimand first and end with strong praise. Give it a try and see what happens.

Who could you reprimand and then praise? How could this approach help your relationship?

November 24: Ask Why

My daughter is 3 and asks me why about 30 times an hour on an average day. It is kind of annoying sometimes, but I also notice that she is learning a lot more each day than I am. Could it be that her inquisitive little mind is soaking up knowledge and getting smarter with each why she poses? Why, I think she is.

Why don't you ask why more often?

November 23: Use 2 Monitors

If you are on the computer all day like me then an extra monitor or 2 can really make your life easier. If you are reading an email that asks if you are available, you can have your calendar open on the other screen. Or perhaps you want to click on a link in an email, but keep the email open, just open the link on your extra screen. Once you use it for a while you will wonder how you ever got by with just one monitor.

How could an extra monitor make your computer time more productive?

November 22: Turn Up the Heat

Make sure your customers are comfortable. If you are trying to save a few bucks on heating but your customers' teeth are chattering so hard they can't chew, then you have a problem. Best case scenario, your customers don't notice the temperature, they are just comfy all the time in your place.

Does your business have a pleasant temperature?

November 19: Don't Compete on Price

To compete you need a unique competitive advantage that sets you apart. Trying to stand out by undercutting the price of your competition is a no win situation. If the strategy appears to work, your competition need only lower their price too. What you thought was a strategy suddenly disappears.

Make sure you are basing your marketing message on something unique like:

  • Superior service
  • Customer testimonials
  • Years in the business
These competitive advantages are difficult, if not impossible, to copy.

What is your competitive advantage?

November 18: Treat Adults Like Kids

Adults like to play sometimes but they are not given the chance. Break out some markers or playdoh for your next project or ice breaker. Adults may moan at first, but after a few minutes its hard to get them to stop. There is a kid in all of us that still likes to play.

How can you play with your customers? Your employees?

November 16: Place Items in Relation to Their Usefulness

Is your desk a mess? One way to overcome a messy work area is to place items in relation to their usefulness. Items you use all the time should be at arm's length. Things you use rarely, like reference materials, can be stowed on a shelf across the room. Only have files close by that you use all the time, the rest can go in a file cabinet.

Besides reducing clutter, you are sure to have the things you really use close at hand.

Are items in your workspace organized in relation to the frequency of their use?

November 15: File, Act, Delete

Use the FAD (file, act, delete) principle to get organized. This works great with email. When you go through your inbox be sure to file the message, act on it or delete it right away. Do not read it and leave it in your inbox. If you do not have time to file, act or delete then wait until later to read your messages. FAD saves you time because you only handle each message once. Give it a try.

How do you handle your inbox? Could the FAD system save you time?

November 14: Read Weird Magazines

Read magazines that seem weird to you because you do not usually read them. You will get great insights and new ideas by looking at material you usually ignore like:

  • Better Homes and Gardens
  • Wired
  • People
  • Time
  • Ninja Monthly
You never know where your next breakthrough inspiration may come from.

What weird magazines could you check for ideas?

November 12: Take an Hourly Break

Give your brain a break at least once an hour. There is a reason that most classes are scheduled to be 50 minutes long. Even if you don't leave your desk, try to give yourself a mental break. It may seem like you are playing hookie, but you will actually improve your productivity by getting away for a break.

Have you had a break today?

November 11: Post Your Information

A lot of people are afraid to post their email, phone or address in fear they will get spammed. Well here's the deal, you will get spammed. The other side of the coin is that you want your customers to be able to find you.

Particularly on the web, the only way people who don't already know you can find you is if you freely share your contact information. Some people have customers fill out a contact form. This is lame. Post your information so people can call or email you right away. If you get some junk mail that's just the price of doing business.

Do you post your contact information?