A Message From Howard

CEOs, Presidents and Business Owners:

Your business success is determined every single day.  Business success doesn’t take place because of a good or even a bad marketplace.  It takes place because of you.  You’re the one that has worked through the difficulties and slogged through the challenges of your business. But one day something happens in your business that…

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You’ve probably heard the phrase ‘play it forward’ or ‘pay it forward’. In fact, there was a popular movie a number of years ago entitled, Pay It Forward, that perhaps you’ve seen. The concept is that when something good or nice happens to you, you then do similar and do something good or nice for someone else. Then that individual does something nice for another individual and the concept goes, hopefully, on and on with the goal of making this world a better place to live and work in.

The concept is certainly a wonderful, timeless idea that we definitely need in our world today, both locally and globally. It’s not just about doing one good thing for one person. It’s about doing good and being nice to everyone you meet in your day, including during business hours. It’s certainly a positive approach to living life and doing business.

For example, in business: Be polite and respectful to everyone you encounter in your business day – even if you are not going to do business with them. Answer questions and share information with people you may never see or talk to again. Listen to what they have to say. Be considerate of others always. It sounds like a good common sense approach to take but it’s actually something that will make you stand out in our time crunched with too many things to do business days.

Remember: everyone and everything has value in some way.

But there’s another concept to consider incorporating into your business days.

In addition to ‘playing or paying it forward’, let’s also ‘play it backwards’ to improve opportunities for success.

You read correctly…

Businesspeople working togetherFor business success: Work backwards!

Here’s why you need to work backwards: To be successful in business, it’s necessary to have a business plan. CEOs, presidents, founders, business owners and entrepreneurs need business plans to effectively run companies; department heads need business plans to meet company objectives; and regardless of a person’s title within a company, you need a business plan to accomplish individual contributions to a company’s success. But how do you meet your goals? Work backwards!

Here’s how:

Ask yourself…

1) What’s the ultimate result you want to achieve?

2) Where do you want to go with your goal? For example: Let’s say you are a CEO, president, founder or business owner and your goal is to do at least a million dollars a year in annual revenue. Or maybe you’d like to personally earn a million dollars a year! How do you get to a million dollars? Work backwards. Start at a million dollars. Then ask:

  • To do a million dollars in sales volume what would you have to do?
  • What’s the average sale?
  • Then divide a million dollars by how many sales.
  • How many prospects would it take to get the number of customers or clients?
  • How many appointments would it take to get the number of prospects?
  • What’s the closing ratio to get the desired number of sales to reach the million dollar mark?
  • What’s the timetable to reach a million dollars?
  • Is there enough support staff to reach a million dollars?
  • What additional costs will be incurred to reach a million dollars?
  • Is the office location right?

Is it realistic? Or do goals need to be adjusted? If so, work backwards again till you reach attainable numbers. By working backwards you will know if and how you can reach your business goals. There’s nothing illusionary about working backwards. Sometimes business people when writing out a plan create an illusion that’s just not possible to attain. They don’t really think about how it’s possible or what they really need to do to reach a particular goal. You can’t just say: I want to do a million dollars!

By working backwards you may find the goal to be too disruptive to you and your business. Or maybe that it’s just not possible at this time. Re-evaluate and reset the goal. Work backwards again till you find a workable, realistic goal. When you do, then you can consider stretching the goal just a bit for added incentive to make it all happen.

By working backwards with your business goals and business plans you’ll have a more precise, detailed understanding of what you really need to do. You can do this with almost any business issue.

By working backwards you’ll have a better understanding of your business and your goals. When you reach your goals, you’ll be more successful, more profitable, less stressed – and able to ‘play or pay it forward’ by doing great things!  



This post was also published on the Linked Into Business blog. You can view the post here.  

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If you are a fan of professional football and you watch the game on television, you’ve probably seen this: The player scores a touchdown in the end zone and starts dancing all around. The player starts showing off as if he’s never made a touchdown before and lets the emotion of the event go to his head. Instead of acting like scoring touchdowns is just what he and his team does, he acts like it’s an extraordinary event instead of it being just another day of playing great football.

The same is true in business, isn’t it? To win the game of business every day requires focus and determination. It’s not just closing one sale or having one great day. It’s about planning your strategy to stay ahead of the competition.

What will it take to win every single business day?

Answer: Have a daily business plan.

Spend time each business day reflecting, planning and strategizing regarding your daily goals for continued business success.

businessperson with tabletThere are 3 business questions you, as a CEO, president or business owner, need to ask yourself every day – at least once a day. These 3 questions can be applied to many business situations you encounter such as hiring a new employee, making a presentation to a prospect, adding a new product or service, making a major business decision or writing your daily or annual business plan.

The 3 questions to ask yourself every business day are:

1) What do you expect? – Another way to phrase the question would be: What are you looking for? If you don’t know where you are going, how can you get there? If you haven’t thought through your expectations of what you need to do and what the end results will be, you’re just winging it. When you wing it, many times you don’t get the desired response. In today’s competitive marketplace, winging it often just isn’t going to cut it for sustained business success. For example: If you’re hiring an employee, what characteristics are you looking for? If you’re selling, who’s the potential customer? It could be any business subject. What do you expect to get out of this particular situation? Always know your expectations. When you know what the expectations are, you’ll be well on your way to getting what you want because you have an understanding of what you’re looking for.


2) What do you need (to get the desired results)? - This is different than what you expect. Here’s why: What you expect is about hopes and wishes. What you need is the reality of it all. Many business people scoff at making a business plan. They think it is a waste of time. But quite the contrary. If you don’t have a plan you waste more time because you have no true direction or sense of purpose.


Remember these words which you may have learned in school during English class: Who, what, where, when and why. No matter what the business circumstance is you need to constantly be asking questions starting with these words. Then ask one more question beginning with the word, how: How much is it going to cost? When writing your plan if you ask questions starting with: who, what, where, when, why and how much is it going to cost – and can clearly answer those questions you have the beginnings of a good plan in place.


Also, think about this: What is the return on investment (ROI)?

For example:

What do you need a recently hired salesperson in your company to do? What do you need a new product or service to do? Maybe you’d like to rent new office space. You may expect to be successful enough to rent the space but why do you really need the space? How functional will it be? How much more business do you need to do in order to furnish and rent the space? How much is renting the space going to cost? How much additional business will you have to do to make this work?

By asking questions throughout your day starting with: who, what, where, when, why and how much will it cost, you’ll have the foundation to make sound business decisions as you go about your day – and getting the results you desire for your company.


3) What aren’t you getting? - This is the question business people so often don’t ask, yet is vitally important to your success and the success of your company. It’s not meant to be viewed as a negative question.


If you know what your expectations are, if you know what your needs are and you have thoroughly worked through the previous two questions listed here in this article then you can look at the situation and ask: What am I not getting?

For example: You went ahead and hired a new salesperson. Now ask: What is the new hire not doing in their prospecting and sales presentations to close more deals each month? Or: The new product is now featured on the company website but it’s not bringing in the sales originally forecasted. What changes need to be made in the marketing campaign? Or maybe you moved into the new office space and now you’re asking yourself how you can better utilize the space.


Every day for business success, CEOs, presidents and business owners throughout the day need to continue to ask these three questions.

If you do, and the more often you ask these 3 questions, the more opportunity there will be for business success.


This blog post also appeared on Nimble.


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Are you a Star Trek fan?


If we counted all the Star Trek fans… If I said: Hey! All you Star Trek fans out there, put your hands high up in the air so I can see you! The counts would be just incredible.


It would take forever to count all the Star Trek fans because the show, starting with the original series on through to the most recent plus all the feature length movies, is such a worldwide phenomenon!


I remember when it all started for Star Trek back in the 1960s. Do you? It wasn’t a big hit when the series first started to air on television. It was filmed at Desilu Studios, then owned by Lucille Ball and Desi Arnez. At some point, Lucy took over the studio as she had bought out Desi’s interest in the studio. The executive studio suits wanted to cancel Star Trek. But Lucy, being the smart, savvy businesswoman she was in that era, dug her heels in, so to speak, and said (I paraphrase): It’s my studio. Don’t cancel it. And the rest is history. Desilu Studios was eventually bought by Paramount and has been an incredible cash cow for them ever since all the way up to the present with the blockbuster films and series in continual reruns. Plus the merchandising of Star Trek has brought in significant additional revenues.


In Star Trek, The New Generation, series there’s a scene where Will Riker walks in and Mr. Data is sitting there in front of a tea kettle watching it boil. Mr. Data says to Will Riker (again paraphrasing): People say that a watched pot never boils but I’ve sat here and I’ve timed this pot over and over and over again (remember: Mr. Data is an Android) and it always boils at the same time. In response, Will smiles and says: Well, why don’t you turn off your internal chronometer, your internal time piece? Mr. Data looks at Will and simply says: Oh.


The point is that time is time is time. But yet our perception of time can be different. Someone once told me that when you’re six years old, for example, it’s approximately one sixth of your life. When you are 60 years old, it’s one sixtieth of your life so it seems to go much faster. Today with all the technology available to us it makes life appear to go ever faster than in years past.


So how do we relate all this to business?


The first half of 2014 is over. Can you believe it? The time has certainly flown by. Has it for you?


The question you need to ask yourself is:

– How do you plan to achieve business success in the second half of 2014?

– What are you going to do to ensure your business success and your company’s success?


Before you know it, the second half of the year will go by and it’ll be January 2015.


We’re not Mr. Data. We’re not Androids. We don’t have Mr. Data’s internal time piece. It’s vital to understand how important every single business day is. Six months of our lives are gone. Can’t get them back.


That’s why you need to look at your business plan and what’s planned for the remainder of the year. Take a look at your profit and loss statement for the year thus far.


  • Where are you today versus six months ago – where would you like to be in the next six months?
  • Is the company reaching its goals?
  • Are you reaching your individual goals?
  • Is the company making a profit?
  • When was the last time you gave your employees – or yourself a raise? What’s forecast for the second half of the year?
  • What’s the likelihood you’re going to reach your 2014 goals for the company come December?
  • Will you exceed your goals?


If you don’t know what it’ll take to have a successful business year, then you may look at your year end financial statement and say: How did this happen?! Didn’t make any money! Now what?!


The time is now to dig in, to reevaluate, to know what you and your company needs to do over the next six months because before you know it, the next six months are going to fly by.


  • Do you have an updated prospecting and sales plan?
  • Do you have updated marketing materials – including your website, is it mobile ready?
  • Do you upsell to your current customers?
  • What’s new at your company? Product? Service?
  • How are your prices? Do you need a price increase?
  • Have profit margins gone down?


There are so many things that you as a CEO, president or business owner must think about. But unless you sit down at your desk and think about them, six months is going to go by and what’s going to happen is you are going to be surprised at the end of the year – and it’s not the kind of surprise you are going to like.


Now is the time for all CEOs, presidents and business owners of companies large, mid-size and small to re-evaluate exactly what is and isn’t going on in their companies so when the New Year rolls around there can be celebration and cheers of: What a year!


In sales, when a salesperson sells something the first thing said is: That’s great! You did a great job! What a great sales presentation and close! Then… Now go get another great sale!


The glory of the sale lasts but a moment or a day, at best. Then it’s onto the next sale.


Same with business profits. Did you make a profit today – or not?


Every single business week, ask yourself: What was it like?


Every single month stands on its own as well.


Then before you know it, it’s the end of the year.


Let’s make sure that in the next week some time is put aside for business planning regarding the next six months.


This Friday is July 4th. It’s easy to get off track with a holiday during the business week.

Remember the freedom you enjoy as an entrepreneur and as the leader of your company.


Here’s to your entrepreneurial independence, strategic business planning along with more success and greater profits in the second half of 2014 – which will set the stage for a successful 2015.

Remember: Business success begins with you. And as they say on Star Trek: Live long and prosper!


If you’re a CEO, president, founder or business owner here in the United States and you’d like to talk about the next six months in your business; how you can lead your company to more success and greater profit. Let’s toss around a few ideas you can begin to immediately implement and start seeing results with. Just call Howard at 888-738-1855.




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