Richard A. Lindsey, CPA

Lindsey & Waldo, LLC – Certified Public Accountants

  • Nov 10

    I know in polite company and business communications you’re not supposed to talk politics and religion, but I am SO tired of talking to business owners whose religion is…

    Price.

    At least that’s what some of you believe. Based on your actions – the only way you ever talk about your product or service is that you are the cheapest provider in the city/area/community/street/block — you believe you SHOULD BE and CAN BE the low price leader in your category. Don’t you know you are worshiping at the altar of shortsightedness?

    Yes, there is a place for the lowest cost provider, but that place is fraught with peril. The margins there are razor thin; you must be ever vigilant to honor the gods of cost cutting and pray that someone more committed (or with deeper pockets) than you doesn’t step into your marketplace and undercut your price by a penny.

    Remember a few years ago when Apple® released their newest (at the time) iPhones, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. To say there was a lot of hoopla would be an understatement, right? Apple® released the new and improved phones on Friday, September 19th and by Monday they had sold 10 million units, one million more than the first week of the 5s and 5c the year before.

    Despite the “bad” economy. Despite losing its visionary co-founder and CEO, Steve Jobs. Despite my belief that 10 million people can’t NEED a new Apple® phone. Despite that Apple® products are rarely, if ever, cheaper than the competition.

    Apple® has achieved what every business owner dreams of: the ability to charge premium prices and still attract business. Apple® has successfully refused to bow at the altar of low price—and your business can too. Here are four ways Apple® has accomplished this…

    Can you apply these principles to your business?

    1. POWERFUL BRANDING. Thanks to a well executed branding campaign, Apple® has built a brand that is trendy, cool, and technologically advanced. The iPhone, in particular, has become a status symbol for many.
    2. STRATEGIC MARKETING. Every time a new product is launched, customers line up for hours (if not days) outside Apple® retail locations. And every time, a product shortage prompts anxiety and even desperation from customers who were unable to get their hands on the product. The result is a palpable feeling of scarcity and value—customers feel privileged to fork over $200-300 for the latest model or closer to $650-750 if their plan isn’t eligible for an upgrade! While Apple® won’t admit that they intentionally create product shortages in order to create a buzz, it’s hard to imagine that they wouldn’t be able to meet everyone’s demand on day one if they wanted to.
    3. EXCELLENT CUSTOMER SERVICE. Apple Care, the company’s warranty and customer care program, provides a level of service that is unparalleled in the electronics industry. The peace of mind that comes from knowing that expert help is a phone call away is a big part of the value Apple® provides.
    4. THE PRODUCT THAT DOESN’T DISAPPOINT. Branding, marketing, and customer service don’t mean anything if the product is disappointing. Apple® doesn’t cut corners and doesn’t make promises that its products can’t keep—resulting in customers that are consistently thrilled with their purchase. At the end of the day, if a product can’t live up to the expectations set by its marketing; it won’t be successful in the long-term.

    Apple® doesn’t compete on price—and your business doesn’t have to, either. Apply these lessons… and you’ll find that you have the ability to charge premium prices and still win the business!

  • Apr 27

    In business, doing what others don’t do can often give you an edge. It can position you head and shoulders above your competition. It helps you stand out in a positive way, and when you do, people are attracted to you and your business, and your success grows stronger, deeper, and more durable.

    Asking for feedback is a simple way to gather information for improving our businesses, but many of us never take the time to ask. We get so wrapped up in the day-to-day running of the business that we fail to pause and ask people, “How are we doing?” Others are simply intimidated by the process – and afraid of what they’ll hear.

    According to the book The 29% Solution by Ivan Misner and Michelle R. Donovan there are five main reasons why we don’t ask for feedback: (1) we’re afraid the response will be negative; (2) we don’t know who to ask; (3) we don’t know when to ask; (4) we don’t know how to ask; (5) we don’t want to take up other people’s time. With all these objections, the thought of asking for feedback can give us heartburn, but it’s worth the pain; the potential for growth can be tremendous.

    Whether positive or negative, feedback should be considered constructive, because it helps our business develop new products, improve existing services, and sometimes adopt a whole new approach.

    Fear of a negative response may be what keeps many of us from asking for feedback. Nobody is eager to be criticized. But, as difficult as it to receive, negative feedback is actually a gift. It’s a reality check; it reminds us that no matter how good we are, we can always improve. It’s also a reminder that we can never make everyone happy. If you’re willing to ask for feedback, you’re going to get some negative feedback along the way. It’s your attitude toward it that will turn that negative feedback into an opportunity. Don’t ask for feedback unless you’re ready to hear it – and respond to it constructively.

    Whom should you ask for feedback? One answer is everybody. Ask your coworkers, supervisors, subordinates, partners, customers.

    When is the best time to ask for feedback? That depends. A professional development trainer might ask for feedback several times. During a session, so it can be tailored, the end of a session, and three or four months afterwards. She’ll ask different questions at different times. Someone selling a product might need to give the customer time to use it, or might not. Someone selling professional services might want to ask shortly after the services have been delivered.

    What if you don’t know how to ask for feedback? The easiest, and most logical, way is make it part of your sales process. Many companies use a questionnaire; some hand it out upon completion of the assignment, some e-mail it afterward, and some mail it as a follow-up in a few weeks. How you choose to do it depends on your customer base.

    The last reservation that a lot of us have is that we are reluctant to take someone else’s time by asking for feedback. What a cop-out. Adults have the option of saying no. It’s our responsibility to ask. Increase the likelihood that you’ll get useful feedback by making the request simple and timely. If it’s too complicated, or if you set a hurry-up deadline, your requests may end up in the circular file. Make the deadline too far off, and people will set it aside and forget it.

    I dare you – do something few others do. Stand out from the crowd. Ask for feedback. And be ready to turn it into opportunities for your business.

  • Mar 3

    Current research suggests that we are bombarded with between 300 and 700 marketing messages per day. Current research also indicates that we take note of less than half of those messages, and far fewer make a strong enough impact to be recalled, make an impression, or make a sale.

    Here’s a tried and true strategy for connecting with your customers and prospects. Legendary copywriter, Robert Collier, pioneered and perfected an effective strategy he called “entering the conversation already occurring in the prospect’s mind.” Instead of going straight into your pitch marketing message and being ignored like everyone else, do something different. After all, if you do what everyone else does, shouldn’t you expect the same mediocre results?

    Instead of hitting your prospects over the head with your message, first capture your prospects attention by using something they are already thinking about as the hook. Then, make a smooth transition into the marketing message. This strategy has been proven to work over and over again. There are several ways to implement this strategy. One is by using holidays.

    Holidays are always on people’s minds. For instance, right now people are thinking about what they are going to do for the upcoming holidays. Where are we going for Christmas or Hanukkah? Where’s the New Year’s Eve party? Am I going to make (and keep) any New Year’s resolutions? Where should I take my sweetheart for Valentine’s Day? Where’s the best place to go for some corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day?

    And on and on. Those are just the major holidays in the next four months. There’s a major holiday almost every month. There are also obscure holidays you probably never heard of nearly every day of the year. You did know that December 25th is also National Pumpkin Pie Day, didn’t you? So, why not make a connection with your prospect by “entering the conversation already occurring in the prospect’s mind” by relating your message to the approaching holiday?

    You have to make a reasonable connection between the holiday and your offer. Otherwise, the prospect will feel like you tried to trick them and that’s no way to get them to know, like, and trust you, let alone buy something from you. It’s really not that hard. You can probably come up with several ideas if you just sit down and think about it.

    New Year’s Day is easy. Think about tying your message to something new or to a New Year’s resolution. Health clubs and gyms do it every January. The air waves and ads talk about the most common New Year’s resolution around – losing weight. With the promise that this year — you can do it… you can have that new body, the new you — with our help.

    And, of course, you can have a “sweetheart” deal for Valentine’s Day.

    This is a powerful, tried and true marketing strategy. And the best part is… if it works this year, you can recycle it again next year!

  • Jul 8

    I recently read about a show on CNBC that was described as a cross between Shark Tank and Top Chef. (Seriously… Can’t you see that producer walking into a meeting with CNBC and pitching it exactly that way.) The show was called Restaurant Startup and I just had to check it out.

    The setup is that there are two teams of restaurant owners who approach the “sharks” with their concepts. In one episode there was a married couple who ran a Lebanese-themed deli in Oklahoma City that wanted to expand into a sit down restaurant, and the pair of good ol’ boys with a southern comfort food joint in Kingsport, Tennessee who wanted to open a second location in Knoxville. The sharks sample some dishes and quiz the competitors on their operations. They pick one and give them 36 hours and $7,500 to show off their food and their skills. After that “opening night,” they decide whether to invest their own money in the concept.

    Early in the show, the good ol’ boys serve the sharks some dishes prepared from the owner’s grandma’s recipe book. And the shrimp and grits did look mighty tasty. One shark asked the chef how much the owner currently charges for it in Kingsport, and learned it was $12. Then he asked how much the average check was, and learned it was just $13. “This is a $20 dish in Knoxville,” he said, pointing down at the grits. “You need a $35 average check to make it work there.”

    The chef did not want to hear that he had to raise prices, and much wailing and gnashing of teeth ensued. He objected that diners in his town wouldn’t pay that much for the food. His grandmother who came up with the recipe wouldn’t want him charging that much for the food. And he wanted everybody to be able to afford to eat at his restaurant and enjoy his grandmother’s great dishes.

    (Does any of this sound familiar? I can just hear some of you saying “my customers won’t pay any more!”)

    The sharks agreed that it would be a big jump to raise prices to those levels, but they insisted that the point of running a restaurant isn’t just to share grandma’s southern comfort. It is to make money—and making money, in this case, would require higher prices.

    The sharks chose the good ol’ boys for the test kitchen, and set them up with a local consultant to help walk them through the process. Once again, pricing came up. The owner said flat out “I don’t want to serve a $19 piece of fish.” The consultant explained the restaurant isn’t just serving a piece of fish, it’s serving an experience— then proceeded to show the owner how he could garnish and plate the fish to look like it’s worth the price he had to ask diners to pay.

    At that point you could almost see the light bulb go on over his head. He readily agreed to raise his prices, and the pop-up restaurant opened for business. Diners who filed in that night loved the food. Unfortunately for our good ol’ boys, service and management weren’t as good as they should have been and the sharks declined to fund the concept. It was a hard lesson for them to take home to Tennessee.

    And here’s our lesson for the day. If you’re like most small business owners I know, you at least profess to want to run your business to make money. You may think your customers won’t pay more— but you’re probably wrong. You may think that your mentor, or the person you bought your business from (who didn’t charge enough himself) would disapprove— but it’s your business, not theirs. And you may really want everyone in town to be able to enjoy your great product or service—but can you really make the kind of money you deserve if you price yourself into bankruptcy?

  • Mar 4

    Many years ago, Folgers® coffee scored big with a series of ads taking the viewer inside various gourmet restaurants while an announcer whispered “we’re here at such-and-such snooty restaurant, where we’ve secretly replaced the fine coffee they usually serve with Folgers® crystals. Let’s see if anyone can tell the difference.” And they interviewed diners, who expressed shock, and I’m sure no small amount of embarrassment, when they discovered how much they liked the cheap Folgers® Instant instead of the “gourmet” brand they expected. (This was way before Starbucks® elevated our palates and made us all coffee connoisseurs.)

    A few years ago, Walmart® shamelessly ripped off paid homage to Folgers® with their own ad promoting-believe it or not-Walmart® steaks. “We’re here at the famous Golden Ox Steakhouse in Kansas City, where we switched their steak, with Walmart’s choice premium steak…”

    Now, I can’t vouch for the quality of Walmart’s meats, but let me make two points about Walmart® steaks, with lessons for your own business.

    There is a placebo effect. Diners who gear up for a big night out at a fine steakhouse are primed for a great meal. They expect choice ingredients everywhere, and select service from a well-trained staff. And they’ll probably be pretty happy, even if the experience isn’t “objectively” all that great.

    This effect has been proven time and time again. Researchers at Stanford University used MRIs to study Caltech grad students’ brains as they swallowed five red wines priced at $5, $10, $35, $45, and $90 per bottle. They found that as the price of the wine rose, so did the activity in the subjects’ medial orbitofrontal cortices. (Apparently this is the part of the brain that experiences pleasure.) The “catch,” of course, is that the subjects didn’t drink five different wines-they drank three. The wine presented as costing $45 per bottle was really the one costing $5-and the wine presented as costing $90 per bottle really cost just $10.

    The placebo effect won’t work just anywhere. Diners have to really expect a great meal for it to work. Nobody who shows up at the squat-and-gobble all you can eat buffet expects a world-class steak. They are just happy they don’t see marks from where the jockey was hitting it.

    There is also a Walmart® effect. I understand Walmart® steaks are actually perfectly fine beef. They’re USDA “choice,” which is the same cut you find it mid-priced steakhouses like Outback® or Longhorn®. (The top 3% of beef, with the most marbling is graded “prime.” That’s the stuff you’ll find “dry-aged” at elite steakhouses, often drenched with butter, and sometimes served with a side of Lipitor®. The next 55%, with “slightly abundant marbling,” is graded “choice.” That’s the stuff you grill at home, and it’s really pretty good. Finally, there’s USDA “select,” which usually winds up ground into hamburgers.)

    The problem, of course, is that Walmart® has positioned itself as being the home of discount prices (cheap). And nobody associates “cheap” with “good.” Nobody expects good steaks at Walmart®. So how does Walmart® get around our prejudice?

    Well, here they resort to a classic “dramatic demonstration.” Showing happy diners enjoying Walmart® steaks is a lot like H&R Block® ads showing a stage full of happy clients stepping up to claim surprise refunds. It’s just like “Vince from ShamWow®” telling the camera guy to follow him as his miracle chamois soaks up a spill.

    The downside of this approach is that while Walmart® tells us their steaks are “surprisingly good,” at least some of us still focus on the “surprise” more than the “good.”

    To sum up: 1) the “placebo effect” actually lets us sell downscale stuff at an upscale price; however, 2) the “Walmart® effect” actually keeps us from selling upscale stuff in the downscale environment.

    Still skeptical? Ask yourself this-would you have nearly as hard a time believing steaks from Target® are good?

    The bottom line for your business is this: if you position yourself as a premium provider, clients may not even realize if you occasionally drop the ball. But, if you position yourself as a discounter-if you give yourself a reputation for being cheap-clients will have a hard time believing you’re good!

    You probably didn’t go into business to be the Walmart® of your profession. Let Walmart’s challenge in selling steaks remind you why you should position yourself as high up the food chain as you can!

  • Jan 8

    There are seven critical areas of marketing every business must have in place to be balanced. These seven spokes must be in place for the “wheel” of your business to run smoother, be less stressful, and less time consuming.

    Successful and wealthy business owners consistently have each of these seven critical marketing areas working at their maximum potential. These seven spokes on the marketing wheel are:

    1. A market that is hungry to consume your message… and able to pay for your product or service.
    2. A marketing message that grabs your prospects and draws them into your ad, sales letter, emails, or other marketing pieces.
    3. A system for increasing the lifetime customer value of each customer, client, or patient.
    4. A system for reaching more affluent customers who don’t make purchasing decisions based on price.
    5. A lead generation machine that works so smoothly you never have to wonder where your next customer is coming from.
    6. Strategies for getting your marketing message in front of your customers offline.
    7. Strategies for siphoning more leads to your business online.

    Take a minute to rate yourself on each spoke of your marketing wheel – with 1 being non-existent and 5 being outstanding. This will help you determine where you are the weakest and need the most improvement. It will also show you if you are balanced. As an example, if you rate yourself a 5 on offline strategies but a 1 on online strategies, it’s tough to have a thriving business.

    Make all of your spokes strong in each of these seven areas, and you will have a thriving business that provides you with the income that allows you the freedom from worry.

  • Apr 15

    There seem to be certain misconceptions about the networking process. Some would-be networkers use a spray and pray approach. They show up at a networking event, like a chamber function or a BNI meeting, talk to as many people they can, shove their business card in the prospect’s hand, and move on to the next one, never pausing long enough to actually learn anything about the person they’ve just met.

    That unlucky prospect has likely dismissed that “networker” as someone only interested in themselves and are therefore unlikely to do business together.

    Others feel networking is just a waste of time and don’t get out there at all. Perhaps they feel: “If I do a good job for people, they will naturally tell others about me.” If this was true you can only imagine the amount of business referrals you would have. What is true is that the only way you’re going to really kick in word-of-mouth referral marketing is to far exceed your customers’ expectations. In the book, Masters of Networking, Ron Sukenick calls it going into legendary status, with the people you do business with. Remember the story where a lady returns a set of automobile tires to the famed Nordstrom department store and requests a full refund? Within minutes, the cashier returns her money, thanks her for the visit, and the customer walks out satisfied. If you’re asking what’s so legendary about that, the answer is Nordstrom doesn’t sell tires and never has. You see the point is, if you want people to talk about you, you have to far exceed their expectations. I’m sure you’ll agree that Nordstrom did just that.

    So, let’s also address the myth that networking just takes too much time and energy. If you include it as a part of your marketing strategy, it isn’t. Networking is not a place you’re going to, but a place you’re coming from. Sukenick describes it like this: Instead of walking up to the fireplace and getting warm, think of yourself as coming from being in the fire. By doing this, you’ll bring your whole self to the meeting and people will be impressed with your presence. Don’t confuse it with something you have to do as drudgery or something you must spend a lot of time preparing for. Just have it be a part of everything you already do. Remember, it’s a process for developing and maintaining relationships and it’s a passion that one develops from the work they do.

    So, don’t just think of networking as something you do sometimes and some places, but instead as something that you can do with ease all the time and everywhere.

    If you’re interested in developing relationships with referral sources as opposed to just handing out business cards, come, be my guest at a BNI meeting. We meet every Wednesday morning at the Church of the Redeemer, located at 1100 Cody Road S. in Mobile, at 7:30 AM. Give me a heads up you plan to come and I guarantee a warm welcome.

  • Aug 22

    When you meet someone for the first time, here’s the scoop, good, bad or indifferent: The experts say that in as little as one-quarter of a second, a person makes up his or her mind about you. In the first five seconds, a person’s first impression of you flips back and forth 11 times. Your first impression is more important than your next five combined. The message is, according to Rainmaker U. founder, Timothy O’Brien, “Your fate could be sealed even before you utter a single word. The reality is you are the product, like it or not.”

    No one has ever stated it better than Napoleon Hill: “People buy your personality and ideas long before they buy your products and services.” Yet, in his best-selling book, What Clients Love, Harry Beckwith reports that the facts reveal that most of us try to sell exactly the opposite; we sell price first, products or service second, company third, and ourselves last.

    What all this means for your success is, that your personal brand and how you market yourself are far more important than price, product, and yes, even smarts.

    A personal brand is not something you can choose to have or not have. Everybody has a personal brand. What you can choose is whether yours is positive, negative, or neutral. If you’re going to have a personal brand anyway, why not make it a great one?

    According to O’Brien, a personal brand is “a personal identity that stimulates a meaningful emotional response in another person or audience about the qualities or values for which that person stands.” For example, when you think of former Enron CFO, Andrew Fastow, who was initially charged with 78 counts of fraud, what are the values or qualities that come to mind? Trust? Honesty? Credibility? Probably not.

    The single most important step in building a great personal brand is accepting the fact that what you think of yourself is nearly irrelevant. Branding is all about what others think of you. Al Ries and his daughter, Laura, authors of 22 Immutable Laws of Branding, define the process of branding as “reserving a word or phrase in the mind of another.” To build a personal brand, you begin by identifying the emotion you want to evoke in your audience. Then you identify the word or phrase that reflects that emotion, and which you want others to associate with you. Lastly, you must, must, must consistently engage in intentional behavior that promotes and reinforces the word or phrase you have chosen.

    Anyone whose success depends upon or requires the cooperation of another individual or group needs a great personal brand. Financial planners need to sell their clients on their capabilities. A CFO of a publicly traded company needs to sell Wall Street on the integrity of its company’s numbers. A minister needs to sell his flock on the message of the gospels. Now more than ever, he who has the best personal brand wins!

    The best part of personal branding is that it focuses on the most important asset you have — you. Personal branding is about standing for something. Your personal brand is the embodiment of the values and qualities you cherish. Build a great personal brand and you won’t have to follow the crowd. The crowd will follow you.

  • Mar 21

    I recently read an article where Robert Skrob, president of the Information Marketing Association, was describing his experiences with Disney — there are some ideas I think you can use in your business. Here’s Robert:

    When you enter the Magic Kingdom® park at Walt Disney World in Orlando, you’re really on the second level. Unseen to guest, there is an underground level where employees (or “cast members” as Disney calls them) enter the park. As part of a seminar I held in Orlando, I treated all of the attendees to a tour of this underground area as well as other “behind-the-scenes” areas at Walt Disney World.

    During this event, we had the “opportunity” to tour Disney’s laundry. When the Disney people told me they thought my attendees, which were all CEOs of $25 million plus companies, would benefit from a tour of their laundry facility, I was apprehensive. I’ve seen the inside of too many Laundromats already; I didn’t think my members needed any of that. But, reluctantly, I agreed.

    The laundry operation is enormous — with 160 employees, it is the largest laundry facility in the world. Walt Disney World includes 12 different resorts, each with 500 to 2,500 hotel rooms and their requisite supply of towels and sheets, plus restaurant linens and everything else that needs to be laundered. The individuals who operate the towel folding machines fold an average of one towel every four seconds over an eight hour shift. The monotony must be excruciating; however, they have a staff turnover rate of only 3%. Some employees are second and third generation, their families having worked in the facility for years.

    There is a lot of neat automation to see, but most importantly, I discovered that the laundry can be an important customer service area of the resort in two important ways.

    Laundry as a customer service #1: Each day, guests leave hundreds of items that get mixed in with the hotels’ towels and sheets. When those items get to the laundry facility, each item is indexed by the date, resort name and room number, and then is entered into a database. The laundry facility has a call center to handle the guests’ calls looking for lost items.

    As you can imagine, every day, there are dozens of stuffed animals purchased in the park one day, and left in the bed that night that end up in the laundry the next day. If the guest has already returned home before calling to recover a stuffed animal, the laundry staff takes photos of the toy at several places throughout the Magic Kingdom® and creates a small scrapbook of photos. Then the stuffed animal, the scrapbook and a note, talking about how the animal wasn’t done having fun and that’s why it ”snuck out” to stay back for a couple of extra days, find their way home. The Disney staff goes to great pains to take this “guest mistake” and turn it into an opportunity for them to provide a terrific experience.

    Laundry as customer service #2: Even at the Magic Kingdom®, doing the laundry is not a fun job. It’s wet, it’s hot, it has to be pressed and folded and just when you get it done, another truck full of dirty sheets arrives. It’s grueling, but it has to be done. Plus, these employees don’t get to see guests enjoying their work. It’s one thing to operate a ride; at least you get to see the excited children. In the laundry there is nothing but more laundry. Disney does a great job of ensuring its employees understand why their jobs are a critical part of the guest experience. For the laundry services employee, there are mounds of wet sheets. For guests, a freshly laundered pillowcase is the last thing they see before they close their eyes at the end of a magical day.

    Are there common ways that customers experience frustration that you can plan for and turn them into opportunities to provide a unique experience? Can you turn an embarrassing and tense situation into a “wow” experience for your customer?

    You can find out more about Robert Skrob and the Information Marketing Association at www.info-marketing.org.

  • Jan 2

    Several of the Red Sox best known players swore off shaving until they won the World Series…making way for beard-yanking rituals after a big hit and “Fear The Beard” headlines.

    In the world of baseball, it’s just one more crazy superstition and a way for Red Sox supporters to bond. Baseball players have been known to be notoriously superstitious throughout the years. Many feel it gives them more luck and a better chance to win. For instance, Atlanta Braves Elliot Johnson must have a piece of Super Bubble grape-flavored gum in his mouth when he’s on defense. When his team bats, he gets rid of the grape gum and exchanges it for watermelon-flavored gum.

    Cardinals relief pitcher, Randy Choate must have everything around him cleaned up before he can begin to pitch. If a napkin blows near him on the mound when he pitches, he’ll come off the mound, pick up the napkin and stick it in his pocket before continuing. He has other routines he follows as well…such as never picking up the ball off the dirt when he comes out to the mound. If it’s in the dirt, he has to kick it into the grass and then pick it up.

    Of course, superstitions aren’t the only thing that people believe attributes to success…

    You’ll also hear people attribute success to “having good genes,” “having athleticism,” “blessed with talent” or “got lucky.”

    This happens in business too. Not so much superstitions, but the idea that people are successful for no real reason. They were in the right place at the right time. They have the right degree. There was no work involved—it just “happened.”

    But, the truth is success comes from something else. Something most people don’t want to hear.

    Frankly, I’m puzzled by it and even slightly troubled by this trend.

    Anybody who thinks these people got there by luck or because they were blessed or because they are talented or smart or consistently execute some superstitious ritual…just isn’t paying attention.

    They got there because of hard work. If you look at successful people, you would see they took a lot of action and implemented a load of campaigns and systems in order to earn that distinction.

    Donald Trump, for instance, starts his day at 5:00 am. He works all day, goes home for dinner and is back out every night to attend some social function. In between, he’s doing interviews, on TV, hyping books, and giving speeches.

    And here’s the good news out of all this – if you’re willing to put the work in, anyone can be successful.

    So, there are three things about work you need to know.

    First, you have to be consistent. What I mean by that is that you have to keep showing up. In a way it’s similar to getting and staying in shape. If it takes you three months to lose say 15 pounds, your work isn’t over. You have to keep exercising. You can’t just stop or you’re going to gain back the weight.

    Michael Jordan, considered by many to be the greatest basketball player of all time, has an incredible work ethic. When told to take a break, he would continue working on his game. In shootarounds, he would arrive earlier than everyone else and stay later. He had the reputation for working harder than anyone else. For example, he’d arrive way before tip-off on game days to shoot free-throws and practice immediately after a loss.

    Hard work isn’t something that comes naturally. You have to train yourself. Obviously it is easier to procrastinate and put off doing something until the opportunity has passed. But, behind every successful person is someone who has trained himself to work hard.

    Former British Prime Minister, the late Margaret Thatcher once said, “I do not know anyone who has got to the top without hard work. That is the recipe. It will not always get you to the top, but it should get you pretty near.”

    So, you’ve got to do the work.

    The second thing is that it’s a good idea to find something that sort of blurs the line between work and play. In other words, love what you do.

    If you don’t lose track of time during the day, if your days don’t fly effortlessly by – you’re probably in the wrong business. Most everyone has had the type of job where you count down the hours, minutes and seconds until your shift is over.

    That’s no way to spend the bulk of your day.  So if you don’t love what you do, put a plan together today to implement positive change in your life.

    The third thing about work is you’ve got to work smart, not dumb. One of the obvious ways to do this (that most don’t do) is to work without interruption. You’ve got to work without looking at your text messages, or answering your phone every time it rings, or checking your email every five minutes. You’ve got to control your work environment. Don’t let it control you.

    The beards may have contributed to the fun, but the truth is the Red Sox got to the World Series through good old fashioned blood, sweat and tears. And if you too want to be the winner, you’ll have to stop making excuses and do it the same way—through consistently doing the work.

    One of the reasons that people misinterpret what it really takes to be successful is because often super achievers make it look so easy.

    There’s a Nike ad in which Michael Jordan says:

    “Maybe it was my own fault. Maybe I lead you to believe it was easy when it wasn’t. Maybe I made you think my highlights started at the free throw line and not in the gym. Maybe I made you think that every shot I took was a game winner. That my game was built on flash and not fire. Maybe it’s my fault that you didn’t see that failure gave me strength, that my pain was my motivation. Maybe I lead you to believe that basketball was a God-given gift and not something that I worked for every single day of my life. Maybe I destroyed the game. Or maybe…you’re just making excuses.”

    If you want to know how to join the ranks of the super achievers…and get more accomplished much faster without having super-human powers, having to work crazy-stupid hours, or having to hire an army to help you, check out “Your Best Year Ever.”

    In it, I reveal the five big keys that are going to be necessary and helpful for you to have your best year ever in 2014 and each of those five keys have anywhere from three to seven components. This is not information you’ll want to consume once and stick in a drawer. This is posted on the wall next to my monitor so that I am regularly reminded of what I need to do be successful. You’ll want to do the same.

    To request your free copy of “Your Best Year Ever” call 251-633-4070 or send an email to zevaclindsey@comcast.net with the subject line “Your Best Year Ever.” Be sure to include your name and address. There is no obligation on your part. We’ll get it right to you.