I am excited to offer this new section – tips and tools blog. What you will gain from this section can be applied in the business world and most certainly in your other relationships. What we need to remember is that the first and most important relationship is the one with ourselves. The more that we learn to grow from within, the more our businesses and careers will grow.

I have reached out to a number of business people from various corporate backgrounds and asked them to share with you their insight, knowledge and awareness. Some will seem more personal as I said, and other tips/tools will be steps to … action that you can incorporate and take into your own business lives. As always, take what resonates and make it YOUR OWN. This is important in a world where we seem to be grooming people to think and behave the same way. You want to create your identity, who you are! Be authentic to WHO YOU ARE.

Choosing your spot
It’s difficult to find the leverage to make a difference. At your job, there are probably people with more experience than you, more domain knowledge than you, even more skills than you. The same is true about your competition.

But there’s one place where you can make your mark: Your attitude.

You can bring more generosity of spirit, more enthusiasm, more kindness, more resilience, more positive energy, more bravery and more magic to the room than anyone else, at least right now. Because you choose to.

That can be what you stand for.

These aren’t soft skills. They’re real.

1.HOW TO BREAK OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE:
Amanda Lang, business journalist and author of The Beauty of Discomfort, says that doing things differently requires a little muscle power and that if you teach yourself to embrace this uncertainty you can thrive.

FIRST, UNDERSTAND WHY YOU’RE SCARED…
Our fear of change is evolutionary. “Anything that’s different from what we have done or know presents a risk,” says Lang. “And on the primal level, we experience that as a feat of death, which is absolute failure.”

…AND THAT IT CAN BE A GOOD THING.
“Discomfort works; it’s a signal that its time to do something, that you’re in a place where change is possible. Once you’ve learned what your discomfort with change feels like, you know you need to activate a strategy to help you through it.”

START SMALL. “If you’re a shy person, picking up the phone and calling someone you don’t know can be really difficult. So make that effort in small steps – volunteer to make fundraising calls for a charity, for example.”

VISUALIZATION IS KEY. “Once, I had to give a talk, and the subject wasn’t in my niche/speciality – I was terrified. So I used visualization: My worst-case scenario was that I would get up in front of these people and bomb. It would be awful, and they’d hate me. But once I ran that through my mind and imagined what would I do if it really played out that way (which of course, it was unlikely to), I realized that in the end I would be okay and I would survive.

FAILING IS GOOD. “You learn something every time you fail. It’s a muscle you exercise where you say,’If I’m going to take this risk, I’m going to accept the fact that it might not be perfect every second, but I’ll be okay.’ As that muscle gets stronger, the discomfort you fear at the beginning will dissipate.”

2.HOW TO MANAGE MONEY LIKE AN ADULT
Personal-finance expert Rubina Ahmed-Haq provides the sweet spot between day-trading and keeping your savings under your mattress.

TAKE STOCK(S). “The 2008 crash scared a lot of people out of buying stocks, but history tells us that investing in them longterm is still a good bet. Over the past 30 years, for example, the average annual rate of return for the TSX has been about 10 per cent. Savings accounts at a bank or credit union pays less than 2 percent. If you are buying individual stocks, make sure you rad the prospectus that is prepared by the company before it offers securities to the public.”

ASK TOUGH QUESTIONS. “Don’t ever invest in a product or idea that you don’t understand. If you’re working with a financial advisor, ask them to explain the fund they are recommending as if you were a 10-year old. Dig deep and ask what fees are attached to the investment they are recommending (front-end and/or back-end).”

TAKE A BREAK. Take your vacation time. “Studies show that employees who take a holiday and get away from work are more productive than people who work straight through. Sometimes in order to move forward, we have to step away.”

3.HOW TO TAKE A CAREER RISK THAT PAYS OFF
If Sir John Barnett (his real name!), celebrity makeup artist for L’Oreal Paris, hadn’t introduced himself to Naomi Campbell – against everyone’s advice – there’s a good chance he wouldn’t be once of Beyonce’s go-to makeup artists today.

ALWAYS SAY YES. “I studied art history in college. I started doing visual merchandising for the windows at Bergdorf’s and Barneys. I wasn’t into makeup at all. Then a friend of mine, Yadim, who was a lead assistant for makeup artist Pat McGrath, said they needed some extra hands at a show, and I said, ‘Sure.’ I had no idea who she was. ”

TAKE A RISK. “At the show, I met Naomi [Campbell]. I remember seeing her shoulders – she has this very great regal posture; she used to be a dancer. I thought: ‘Is that who I think it is? I’m going to say hi.’ Everyone was like, ‘No!’ Don’t say anything to her; leave her alone. It will be a scene. I went right up to her and said: ‘Hi, how are you?? My name is Sir John. I’m new with Pat’s team,’ and she was like, ‘Okay,’… and I walked away.”

FAKE IT ‘TIL YOU MAKE IT. “Pat asked me if I would be in Milan in two weeks, and I said yes. Mind you, I didn’t even have a passport. But the universe aligned, and I got to Italy. Naomi found out I was there because I was at the Dolce [& Gabbana] shoe, and she requested me to do her makeup for the afterparty that night.”

LEARN FROM THE BEST. “Then I started working with Charlotte Tilbury, who is still like a fairy-godmother to me. She introduced me to Beyonce at Tom Ford’s first womenswear show in 2010. She said, ‘Listen, I want you to do [makeup for] this girl,’ and she pointed to her name. I’d just finished doing Julianne Moore and Daphne Guinness and I said, ‘Which model is Beyonce?’ and they just walked me over there and opened the curtains. I saw this big gold hair; I started sweating and I’m like, ‘Okay, I’ll be right back.’ I ran in the bathroom and called my mom. The rest is sort of [surreal].”

STAY IN YOUR OWN LANE. There’s so much competition nowadays. You can get discouraged by looking at everyone else’s accounts on Instagram, but as long as you’re being true to yourself and your art form and doing the best you can do, you’ll have no competition. Don’t be jealous of your friends; be inspired by them.”

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Seth Godin well said. I love this article. We have a choice how things unfold for us. I will be asking certain friends to stop sending me certain links based on fear-mongering. I am not interested. That is not to say I am not aware for I am. However I will not buy into all the fear that the media imposes on us. You can make your choice.

What’s the next step for media (and for us)?
Perhaps the biggest cultural change of my lifetime has been the growing influence and ubiquity of commercial media in our lives.

Commercial media companies exist to make a profit, and they’ve grown that profit faster than just about any industry you can name.

At first, it was the scarcity created by the FCC (a few channels) and mass markets that led the industry. Now, though, it’s a chaotic system with different rules.

A system that rewards certain outputs, relentlessly, generating ever more of those outputs. The participants all believe that the ends will justify the means, all believe that in the end, it’ll lead to a positive outcome. But, taken together, over time, drip, drip, drip, the system wins.

They do this by engaging with ever more of our time, our decisions and our systems. They do this by selling not just ads, but the stories and expectations that change the way we engage with those ads.

They sow dissatisfaction—advertising increases our feeling of missing out, and purchasing offers a momentary respite from that dissatisfaction.

Much of that dissatisfaction is about more vs. enough, about moving up a commercial ladder that’s primarily defined by things that can be purchased. It’s possible to have far more than your grandparents did but still be deeply unhappy believing that you don’t have enough.

And so one purpose of work is to get enough money to buy more stuff, and to have the time to consume more media (so we can buy more stuff).

The media amplifies anxiety, and then offer programming that offers relief from that anxiety.

It’s been shown repeatedly that watching TV increases the perception that other places, particularly cities, are far more dangerous than they are.

The media likes events and circuses and bowl games, because they have a beginning and an ending, and because they can be programmed and promoted. They invite us into the situation room, alarm us with breaking news and then effortlessly move onto the next crisis.

They train us to expect quick and neat resolutions to problems, because those are easier to sell.

They push us to think short-term, to care about now and not later.

And now they’re being gamed at their own game, because the artificial scarcity that was created by the FCC has been replaced by a surplus and a race to the bottom, with no gatekeepers and with plenty of advertisers willing to pay for any shred of attention.

Intellectual pursuits don’t align with the options that media would rather have us care about.

A walk in the woods with a friend or your kids does the media-industrial complex no good at all. It’s sort of the opposite of pro wrestling.

Books are the lowest form of media (too slow, too long-lasting, no sponsors, low profit) while instant-on, always-on social networks are about as good as it gets. For the media.

If you’re not the customer, you’re the product.

I was talking with a smart friend the other day and she said that the media is just a reflection of us. I’m not buying it. There are many reflections of us, and the craven race to the bottom is just one of them. The people with the mirror have a responsibility, and in exchange for our time and our spectrum, that responsibility is to make us better, not merely more profitable.

We’ve been willing participants in this daily race for our attention and our emotions. But we don’t have to be.

/rant

Posted by Seth Godin on February 09, 2017

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I want to share tips from an article I read in the National Post, Five marketing growth tips for entrepreneurs. Author, Romina Maurino, states that most entrepreneurs shy away from marketing because it’s an area they worry will be overwhelming and time-consuming yet it’s what grabs people’s attention and is crucial to building a loyal following.

“When you start your business you are not just in the business of delivering your product or service, you’re also in the business of acquiring customers,” says Mitch Solway, Vice-president of marketing at FundThrough, an invoice funding service that helps small businesses meet their cash flow needs. He continues, “Marketing is going to be the engine that drives new customers into your business and, as your business grows, so will the demand for more and better marketing to continue to fuel the growth.”

Solway shares 5 tips to keep in mind whether you are just starting or wanting to grow your customer base:

1. As an entrepreneur, you have great marketing instincts: While marketing may not be your believed strength, Solway feels that as the entrepreneur your are often the best marketer in your company. He states, “Marketing, at its core, is about three things: a deeper understanding of who you are trying to serve, the problem you are solving for that customer, and what makes you different than the current alternatives.” These three areas is what prompted the entrepreneur to start their company: they identified a need for a market that wasn’t being served and are now doing something about it.

2. Don’t market to everyone – focus on your best customers With limited resources you will need to focus on a size of the market that you can start to chip away at. That means identifying your ideal customer, figuring out who’s ready to buy what you’re selling, whey they live and what they have been using before you came along. The same applies to your marketing- always come back to what’s the most important problem that you are solving for your customers, so you can identify who you really need to focus your marketing against. This will also help you figure out what channels you should use to reach them and what problems you need to tell them you solve.

3. There’s a ton of freelance and small agency help out there, so use it. What you do fro ma marketing perspective really depends on how early you are in your business, how much time or resources you have for it, and how much growth you are looking for right now. There are so many great small agencies and freelancers who can help with any of the basics, from building a simple website to doing some basic search engine marketing, to designing great print or presenting material and even writing and sending email campaigns.

If you are not ready to bring outside help, remember that you are often your own best sales and marketing department – you can hustle, make calls, meet people and make things happen on the promotional side, just like you did when you were getting your business off the ground.

4. Today’s happy customers are tomorrow’s best marketers for your business: Yes it’s important to get those first key customers in the door, however it’s also crucial to make sure they enjoy their time they spend with you. That’s because your customers can be one of your best marketing tools. “The best referral program is delivering really happy customers”, says Solway. “Take the time to really focus on making your customers feel great about having chosen you. That will always lift the extra marketing effort.”

5. Don’t let waiting on invoice payments slow down your marketing and other growth efforts: At the beginning you will rely on hustle however eventually you are going to need to invest in marketing to not only drive more growth but also to systemize and scale those marketing programs that work. That may mean hiring external or internal resources, and that’s going to take funds.
For many businesses, cash flow is going to get in the way being able to invest in marketing. You may have some great ideas on how you can drive more business with some marketing but if you don’t have the funds on hand to invest because you’re waiting on invoices to get paid on then it can be frustrating – even if you’re just waiting on 30-day terms.

An option is to use a third-party funding service like FundThrough that can help your small business keep the marketing momentum, because it allows them to get their invoices paid right away, for a small fee.

“It’s like instant cash flown you need it, and you can then use those funds to pay employees, increase inventory or invest in marketing to drive even more business,” Solway says.
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The points are very useful and I encourage the small entrepreneurs to look into FundThrough. I don’t work for them but I know that cash flow is one of the biggest issues concerning companies, small and large!

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Seth Godin: The Road to Imperfection

Posted Friday, December 16th, 2016. Filed Under Corporate - Tips/Tools Blog | Leave a Comment

The road to imperfection
If you need to be perfect, it’s hard to press the ‘ship it’ button. Difficult to hire someone who makes things happen (because you’ll be responsible for what happens). Frightening to put yourself into a position where you’re expected to introduce new work.

The only way is forward. Forward moves us from what we have now (perfect, or at least we’re no longer living in fear of what’s not right) to a world filled with nothing but imperfect.

If you want motion, the only way is through. We get to the work we seek by passing through imperfection.

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Seth Godin: Rolling Up Our Sleeves

Posted Friday, November 11th, 2016. Filed Under Corporate - Tips/Tools Blog | Leave a Comment

Rolling up our sleeves
Sometimes, the wind is at our back, the resources are easily acquired and good karma increases our ability to do great work.

Sometimes.

Other times, it feels like we’re up against it, that the wind has shifted, that there’s not a lot of opportunity or momentum.

It’s in those times that, “what are you working on?” becomes a vital question, a lifeline to get us from here to there.

Trainwrecks, tantrums, massive shifts in the way things are and are supposed to be–they make it difficult to concentrate, to plan, to leap…

We each have a platform, access to tools, a change we’d like to make in the world around us. We each have a chance to connect, to see, to lead.

And it’s not, at least right now, fun or easy. It might not even seem like you’ve got a shot, or that the wind is too harsh.

Persist. It matters.

Words that inspire

Posted Friday, November 4th, 2016. Filed Under Corporate - Tips/Tools Blog | Leave a Comment

I am reposting this from my linkedin contacts:

“People will rarely work at their maximum potential under criticism, but honest appreciation brings out their best.”

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Canadian firms lack courage

Posted Thursday, September 29th, 2016. Filed Under Corporate - Tips/Tools Blog | Leave a Comment

Author Peter Kuitenbrouwer author of the National Post article, Canadian firms lack courage: Deloitte, Monday, Sept. 26, 2016, states, “Corporate Canada is a timid place full of risk-averse leaders and it’s hurting the bottom line, says a new study that found just 11 per cent of businesses here are “truly courageous”.

Kuitenbrouwer shares that this conclusion comes from a “sweeping” business poll of 1200 businesses across Canada by Deloitte, which on Monday released a 36-page report, The Future Belongs to the Bold.

The report concludes, “At a time when Canada needs to be bolder and more courageous than ever before, almost 90 per cent aren’t up to the task.. This lack of courage has serious implications for these organizations and for the Canadian economy overall.”

I am pledging my life to change this behaviour within corporate Canada for my children (Gen Z) and all the millennial and Gen Z children to follow. It is time to develop true leadership. I would say that the world lacks true leadership.

Seth Godin: Make Something Great

Posted Friday, September 9th, 2016. Filed Under Corporate - Tips/Tools Blog | Leave a Comment

I love this message today:

Make something great
Not because it will sell.

Not because it’s on the test.

Not because it’s your job.

Merely because you can.

The alternative (waiting for the world to align in a way that permits you to make something great) is hardly worth pursuing, right?

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