What Business Owners Can Learn From Sharks And Other “Sea”-soned Experts

Feel like you’re being eaten alive? Is the Sand Tiger Shark of Reality taking a huge chunk out of your assets? You’re not alone, but before you accept your pending demise, consider this: A few relatively small changes can mean turning what looks like a Desperate Situation into Opportunity for Profit.

I’ve called on the experts to show you how to turn that Shark into your most effective team member, and how you can take a business, hooked by the sharks, and free it up, leaving more time and money for you to do the things you want to do.

To understand how a shark can teach us anything, it’s important to understand a little about them. Sand Tiger Sharks are different from other fish in that they have teeth. Lots of them. 3000 to be exact, and 30,000 over the course of their lifetime. What’s more, they may look fierce, but they’re actually pretty docile. Unlike mammals, they don’t breathe air, but they do leap up out of the water, gulp air, and store it for better buoyancy.

So, what’s that got to do with you and your business? Nothing, really. Quite frankly, gulping air usually causes gas and discomfort for humans, but the point is we can learn something from this seemingly vicious-looking, but surprisingly docile critter that goes after and gets what it wants.

So, here are 3 Key Lessons from a Sand Tiger Shark to live by:

1. Grow teeth. A Sand Tiger Shark has sharp teeth because of what it likes to feast on, including bony fish, small sharks, rays, squids, crabs, and lobsters. This is clearly a lesson in knowing your customers – not to attack or eat them, of course, but certainly to attract them to your product or service. What does your “A” list customer look like? How do they make their buying decisions? Impulse? Careful thought? Online? In person? “Other”? How can you adjust your systems to attract the “A” list customers?

2. Swim in groups. Sand Tiger Sharks can be independent when they want to be, but they also know when to swim in groups and do so to go after the bigger fish. Clearly, you need to revisit the pond (or in the case of the shark, the sea) you are swimming in. Are you going for the minnows, one little fish at a time? How’s that working for you? Try instead to look into joint venturing with other like-minded companies and business owners and combining efforts to attract customers. Whales and sharks have this down to a science. Study them. Learn from them. Then start circling with like-minded business owners and see what happens!

3. Float your boat. As I mentioned earlier, Sand Tiger Sharks can’t live out of the water, but they do gulp down air for buoyancy. This allows them to float, observe, and then quietly move unsuspectingly upon their prey. Well, I am not advocating that you sneak up on customers and gulp them down, but I am suggesting that to “stay afloat” you need to breath in some air. Stress reduction is paramount to business success, and 85% of businesses fail because of burnout. So, to float your boat, breathe. Take in air, consciously, like the Sand Tiger Shark, and reduce all that unnecessary movement and stress.

So, now that we’ve heard from Team Shark, let’s turn that “k” in shark to a “p” and turn to these sharp minds in the business coaching field and get their advice on how to improve your business:

1. Business Coach Dave Gazave of San Jose advises:

a. Determine the hourly value of your time and do not become an employee of your own firm.

b. Delegate and/or contract out low-value tasks.

c. Systematize routine functions, humanize the exceptions.

2. Business Coach Karie Kaufmann of San Diego adds:

a. Set clear goals, in writing and hold yourself accountable to them.

b. Block out specific times in your calendar to take pro-active steps toward accomplishing those goals

c. Have a plan and budget for personal development.

3. Business Coach Bernie Powers of Riverside, CA says:

a. Know your numbers. If you don’t know where you are starting from, you can’t get to where you’re going.

b. Know your team. Make sure you put their talents to good use and that you don’t assign a person a task they have no hope of accomplishing. To avoid that, know their strengths and weakness and feed their strengths.

c. Know yourself. Remember, asking for help is not a weakness. The best of athletic teams need a good coach that’s up on processes and strategies. Business owners are no different.

4. Business Coach Stacey McKibbin of San Diego suggests you:

a. Test and Measure everything.

b. Complete 2 revenue task and 1 operational task every day.

c. Show gratitude. Say thank you to your team, clients, suppliers, etc.

5. Business Coach Jeff Nott of San Jose says:

a. Know your “What, Who, Why”: What makes my product or service a must have; Who must have it; and Why does it matter. Knowing these will help you through the tough times, build your USP (Unique Selling Proposition) and inspire your team.

b. Track the numbers (overall, team, personal, etc). Even if you don’t currently have targets set, you can start the process and your business will improve because you are doing so.

c. Get specific about what you are going to offer and whom you want as a customer. Niche is what makes you unique. Target market is who wants what you are selling. Most companies are generalists when it comes to selling their product or service, and it’s harder to market “general” than “specific”.

6. Business Coach Joe Siecinski of San Jose suggests that you:

a. Make sure you have a calendaring system in place, not just for appointments, but for tasks.

b. Have a realistic marketing plan in place and make sure the business messaging is consistent across the board. You don’t want your message to be confusing, nor do you want to pull your “visitors” in too many directions. Consistency is the key.

c. Finally, make sure you execute. Simply put, “Take action!” One can plan and plan, but until you take action, nothing will happen.

7. Business Coach Chuck Hunter of Carlsbad advises: “Be, Do, Have”

a. Be the company you’d want to do business with.

b. Do the steps necessary to ensure you have proper systems in place.

c. Have a budget and measure against it. Trends and variances can tell you amazing things.

Lastly, Business Owner and Coach Steve Stegmeir of Reno adds, “Work the formula: V + C = P. Visibility plus Credibility equals Profitability. Be visible; power through your discomfort and start networking. If that’s hard for you, it’s probably because you’ve gotten too deeply rooted in working in your business rather than working on it.”

From sharks to sharp business owners, take it from the experts. Plan for your success, but above all else, take the necessary actions to make that success possible. And if you need help, ask.

Business Fundamentals – Work Your Plan

Business Runs on Schedules

Nothing happens until it is scheduled. Public transportation, sporting events, TV shows, the movies, deliveries, business meetings, paydays, bill payments, and college classes all work on a schedule. Schedules are carried out.

Successful home business owners plan their work and work their plan. Does your business have a plan? Does your business have a successful blueprint for you to follow? If you have a business system are you following it?

I find it amazing how people show up to work everyday, punch that time clock, wait for their breaks, lunches, and then punch out to go home. They work their employer’s plan and when it is time to work their plan they fail. They are too tired, it’s too hard, the business doesn’t work for them. These people should just quit their business and stop wasting time.

I see frustrated new agents in my office who don’t have a plan. They can’t make sales or get leads. They fail to follow a proven method that is provided by the brokerage.

Truth and Clarity

Having a plan brings clarity. You beat frustration, procrastination, doubt, and fear when you work your plan. Realize that building your home business takes work. If you have a job you will have to sacrifice your time and energy. There are no magic pills or buttons to make you successful. No business fairies that will come around and bless you with sales. It takes work and a persistent effort.

Understand that the grind, learning curves, loss of money, and failed marketing are on the road to success. You can’t sidestep these obstacles. They will arrive and if you work your plan you will get past them.

Here are 5.5 ways to Work Your Plan

1. Your Business Outcome – What are your home business goals? How much money do you want to make per month? Why are you in business? How long do you plan on being in this business? Get you clear on your outcome. Don’t start the journey until you know your destination.

2. Follow a Successful Plan – There are success systems for you to follow. Real estate agents, insurance agents, and other independent contractors should have a franchise plan to follow. Here is a clue… work their plan. Make their plan your plan. If you are a newbie or don’t have any experience, their plan is your best shot at success.

You can come up with your own plan but learn from trial and error. We don’t suffer from lack of information. You can find successful systems that provide the training, marketing, and sales you need.

3. Make a Schedule – You have the plan… now make a schedule. For my team I tell them to schedule three hours per day. Create content for 1 hour, market for 1 hour, and educate yourself for 1 hour. If you have more time adjust accordingly. These are income producing activities.

4. Use the Pomodoro Technique - Being effective with your time is better than being efficient. This technique is simple. You work for 25 minutes then take a 5 minute break. Work for another 25 minutes and take a 5 minute break. After 2 hours take a 30 minute break. I prefer to work for 50 minutes and take a 10 minute break. This will help you break your workflow and reenergize you every time you come back.

5. Leverage Your Time – As your business grows you will have the funds to outsource those mundane jobs you hate to do. You can use people and systems to help your business grow without anymore extra effort from you. You can outsource to people who can do it better than you and you make the profits!

There are successful business models that have these leverage systems in place. Make sure the company has a track record for success.

5.5 Treat Yourself - When you work your plan be sure to schedule some family fun time, and vacations. All work and no play makes you a bore. Put these activities in your plan. Happiness is a present thing and you should enjoy the fruits of your labor. Treat yourself my friend.

Successful people run successful home businesses because they plan their work and work their plan. There are successful systems out their for you to use. They still require an effort and will help you get to your goals faster. Or create your own system but be sure to learn from trial and error. Work your plan and be a success.

Business Fundamentals: Persist Until You Succeed

I don’t know how long it will take for you to reach your business goals. I can’t predict if you will succeed. Deadlines get pushed back. Your business plan is sound but the execution is flawed. Setbacks will happen, difficulties will arise, obstacles appear and are a normal part of business.

Persistence is defined as: the continuance of an effect after its cause is removed. How many times have you failed at your business? How many marketing plans have failed to produce sales? How many times have you jumped companies? Did you make any sales today? Despite all this you continue to persist until you succeed.

Persistence is the key ingredient in all businesses. It doesn’t matter your industry, product, or service. Persistence is always present in successful people. Persistence is also present in failed businesses. When people are persistently late, fail to follow-up, or don’t take the time to learn they quit.

Persistence is the best weapon to defeat doubt, discouragement, frustration, and procrastination. Procrastination is the deadly killer of business. People persist in procrastinating. Being persistent in the right way will help you succeed in your business.

Being persistent is simple. It is not easy. Here are 3.5 ways to Persist Until You Succeed

1. Know Where You Want to Go: We are goal oriented mechanisms. Tell your brain where you want to go and it will create a way to get there. Get a destination and you perform better. What is the end result in your business? How much money do you want to make? Why are you in business? What is your major definite purpose? Persistence is powerful but you need to go in the right direction.

2. Daily Method of Operation: Every business needs a business plan, schedule, marketing, and sales system. Get a blueprint for success. There are successful business models. Persistence is easy when you have a plan to follow. Work your plan everyday.

Until it’s scheduled nothing happens. Follow your business blueprint and schedule your daily method of operation. Your daily method of operation should include education, marketing, and follow-up.

3. Self Confidence - Belief in your ability to carry out your plans encourages you to follow through with persistence. You will have failures in your business. That doesn’t make you a failure. Marketing plans will fail. Sales will fall through, people will quit. This is the truth about business.

3.5. Habits – Persistence is the direct result of habits. Persist in developing successful habits. This is where your daily method of operation comes in. You don’t lose bad habits. You replace them with good habits. Life is ruled by habits and you are a habitual creature.

Action Assignment

Put these 3.5 steps into action. If you are newbie persist in finding a successful business blueprint that provides education, training, marketing, and sales systems for you. Already in business? Follow your current plan until you succeed or if it has failed get a new one. Persist Until You Succeed.