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Lessons Learned From Running My Business

  1. Solicit advice and hire the best and most successful mentor / coach you can find. Do the same with your accountant and attorney. Be careful of the many advisors wannabes who are simply after your money.
  2. Always look for what is in your client’s best interest when making your recommendations and explore ways to provide your client with constant and genuine great value.
  3. Invest in your business and in yourself. Acquire great computers, software, equipment and web site. Read books, attend workshops, listen to CDs and such. Constantly increase your intellectual property.
  4. Focus on building trusting relationships with clients rather than on closing the sale.
  5. Subscribe to the Wall Street Journal and other important publications such as Business Week, Fortune, Forbes. Read, learn and remain current while share applicable news and articles with your clients. Tear the article, mail to your clients and say: “I was thinking of you and thought this article may be of interest / help to you.”
  6. Create a mastermind group of professionals you trust. Meet about once a month, test new ideas and share and get advice. Attract professionals to the group who are as successful as you are and preferably even more than you.
  7. When working with your clients, rather than focus on fixing their problems look for ways to raise the bar.
  8. Build on your strengths and improve rather than spending time eliminating your weaknesses.
  9. Enthusiastically talk about your clients’ successes rather than your methodologies. Discuss how your clients are better off and how their conditions have improved with your involvement.
  10. Since starting my business over 25 years ago, I’ve committed not to make the same mistake twice. I therefore had to work on improving my short and long-term memory (note taking and filing helped as well). Interestingly enough my intuition got better over the years.
  11. I’ve realized how important humor is in my business success and anxiety reduction. I’ve learned how to use it to break the ice or escape tensed moments and how to avoid taking life too seriously.
  12. Do not generalize from a specific and do not let others influence your opinion or decision by using such concept. “I once sold a piece of business on an airplane” so what.
  13. Get a credit card merchant account and allow your clients the convenience of paying you with a credit card. Do not charge your clients back the percentage charged to you.
  14. Offer 10% discount on upfront payments. This will greatly improve your cash flow and prevent clients from canceling projects or delaying future payments.
  15. Devote a 1/3 of your time to marketing, a 1/3 to sales and a 1/3 to delivery of your services. Although the percentage may vary slightly, do so consistently or risk an imbalance of too much business, not enough or none at all.
  16. Keep on giving. It will eventually come back to you in the form of getting.
  17. Do not take rejection personally. I adapted the thought that if they decide not to use me or my company they must be a bunch of fools and unfortunately I am unable to help them. However, I always try to learn from my failures and especially my successes.
  18. Create a powerful and effective web site that provides great value, builds your credibility and tells the story of your clients’ successes.
  19. Develop “killer” provocative questions that you have internalized. Use in conversations with your clients.
  20. Prepare for every possible objection you have heard and have multiple answers ready for each objection.
  21. Don’t schedule meetings for the sake of exchange of administrative information. Send an email instead. Use meetings to brainstorm new ideas or to teach and learn new concepts.
  22. I realized that I have a life and not personal vs. business life. This enables me to mix the two and enjoy my life more than ever before.
  23. Be succinct.
  24. Buyers love options provided to them in proposals and preferably three options. I recently have learned that even teenagers love being given options instead of being told what to do.
  25. Cash flow will either make or break your business. Collect your account receivables, offer discounts for upfront payments, and secure a credit line or emergency fund.
  26. Do not let them (whoever them are) place the monkey on your back. People are notorious to attempt to “dump” their tasks and responsibilities on you. Make sure it stays on their tasks and responsibilities list not yours.
  27. Treat your calendar as sacrosanct. Do not overbook and schedule everything including your personal time. It’s the difference between creating focus and control or total lack of.
  28. Brain “dump” all that is on your mind into some kind of an organizing system, paper or computer. Assign each task performed by you a priority and date, others delegate or discard. Reward yourself when accomplishing important tasks.
  29. When meeting clients, establish the min and max requirements for the meeting. It will help you stay focused on the most important objectives to be gained as outcomes of the meeting.
  30. Never stop learning.
  31. It was a huge mental and physical burden I placed on myself to break the first million dollars of revenues in the late 90s. I then realized that my net profits are more important than gross revenues although there is a strong correlation between the two. I also realized that life balance and happiness are even more important than breaking arbitrary revenue goals.
  32. Always try new ideas and re-invent yourself often.
  33. I realized that the more successful I became the more responsibility I have to give back to my profession and community.
  34. This document contains the top 40 lessons learned from running my business, to receive 40 more lessons learned, just send me an email at [email protected] and I will be glad to email you these additional lessons.
  35. Want to master a new topic? Teach it.
  36. Do not rush to implement advice from individuals who do not have a proven and successful track record. There are a lot of smart people out there and many more that are not. Most are glad to give you their advice. Make sure you find out how successful they truly are and how successful their advice has been.
  37. A picture is worth a thousand words. To better illustrate your points, use process visuals (charts and graphics) in your discussions, speeches and writings.
  38. Always define the next step or action plan when meeting with your prospects.
  39. Life is too short. Find the time to enjoy yourself doing the things you love most. I enjoy driving my convertible whenever I feel like it, or when it’s time to reward myself. I love taking vacations with my family, listening to music, attending concerts, reading and brainstorming, to name a few.
  40. Surrounding myself with a great and loving family as well as close friends (some are even clients, colleagues and mentors) has helped me in great times. It saved me during the worst of times.
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