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Month March 2015

Get noticed!

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So you want to get your sales up? Time to get noticed and do something crazy. Just have a look at what some of the giants are doing this week.

Take McDonalds for example. Falling sales because people it seems are (finally) making better food choices. Not to mention the challenge of other competitors in the market stealing some of their market share. So what have they done? Well March 24, they launched a global campaign. Imlovinit took off with 24 different bits of fun in 24 cities around the world over 24 hours. If you were in Sydney you might have got the chance to jump in their giant ball pit in your business suit before being handed a free coffee. Then there was the pyjama party in Italy where people brave enough to be seen in public in their designer pjs (well it was Milan) got VIP treatment McDonalds style. In NZ Big Mac boxes got musical and played a tune when you opened the lid. A pop up library in Paris got attention from the small ones. And my personal favourite, Brazil… the ice ticket carved with the golden arches dispensed from a vending machine at the beach you had to redeem before it melted. Needless to say people were running to the store. Pure genius.

While back home in downtown Canberra we have the retail giant IKEA finally opening it’s doors. No more trips to Sydney to bring home the flat packs. And this week the big yellow letters on the bright blue store are the lead news item. But IKEA are leaving nothing to chance. They’ve done their research and they know exactly what Canberrans want in their homes. So they’re stocking the store and to guarantee the customers you can bet they’ve got a grand opening campaign on a massive scale in the making. It’s anyone guess what that could be. They’ve already done in-store weddings, in-store sleepovers, giant ‘rock-climbing’ walls made out of IKEA furniture. Crazy stuff and lots of fun. Guaranteed to get people interested. Guaranteed to get people excited. Guaranteed to get people wanting to buy.

In business, you’ve got to engage people. Because people buy for emotional reasons. All sorts of stuff and not necessarily because they need it or want it. But because they want to be part of the action. They want to belong.

So what sort of fun could you put together to get your business noticed?

How crazy are you prepared to be?

What are you grateful for?

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I drove past one of those signs they put outside churches yesterday. It simply said ‘What are you grateful for?’. And it got me to thinking not only about what I am grateful for, but how I can actively create even more gratitude in my life.

Because the benefits to health and happiness of gratitude are huge.

As Robert Emmons PhD puts it, gratitude heals, energises and transforms lives. And he has done the research to prove it. With a list of studies as long as my arm, Emmons has demonstrated how gratitude can improve sleep, help people be more optimistic about their lives, get people exercising more, encourage acts of kindness and feelings of being connected. And how’s this… he even showed that people who keep gratitude lists were more likely to be closer to reaching their goals. Of course, philosophers’ have known this for thousands of years, it’s just that science is catching up.

But what is most important to understand is that gratitude is a choice. A choice we can make minute to minute. There’s a guy for instance who parks his LandCruiser across from our office driveway. And sometimes it really gets in the way when I reverse. And then there are other times he parks it elsewhere in the street, for which I am grateful. But I could also choose to be grateful when it is in the way that he hasn’t actually parked it across the drive and blocked me completely. In other words I can wait for life to give me something to be grateful for (and I might be waiting a long time), or I can choose to be grateful for what I have right now.

Now that’s relatively easy on a good day. But even when life is more challenging, I can choose to be grateful I woke up this morning breathing.

Gratitude is on my list of essential life skills. The best bit is the more we do it, the more we get hooked on doing it.

So what are you grateful for?

Shark Tank

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Have you seen Shark Tank? It’s got me hooked. And my GM (aka daughter Julie) tells me the US version is even better. Budding entrepreneurs who pitch their dreams to a panel of seasoned players who’ve made it big in the business world. It’s fascinating to watch as these guys learn what works… and what clearly doesn’t.

And while it’s important to know your numbers when you’re standing in front of a panel of potential investors, it’s equally important to know your market. What strikes me in watching this show is just how many people have failed to do their market research. Sure they might have a great product, but is anyone asking for it? In other words, do they even have a market. Take the coffee guy for instance. Obviously he loves his coffee. But how many kids are going to want espresso written across the front of their teddy bear?

In developing a new business idea one of the most important things to consider is what the market is asking for. What do your potential buyers actually want? What is it that will meet their need, fix their problem, take away their pain. And it may be that the brilliant idea you thought you had is actually not a goer at all. Because nobody really wants it.

Having your own business is the best way I know to break free of selling your time for money. But as Stephen Covey says ‘First things first’. Before you go throwing thousands of dollars at your great idea, check out what people are asking for. And if they’re not asking for your product, chuck it away now – and go get another one they really do want. Only then can you begin to develop it.


So what’s your big idea?

Have you done your market research?

Change the Channel

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We’ve just had the most awesome weekend at bootcamp, followed by two incredible days at our Entrepreneur’s Master Class. And we were blessed to have coach and motivational speaker Andrew Fleming present. For those of you who don’t know Andrew, he’s a Beyond Success coach who trained with us all the way from New Zealand. Four times he crossed the ditch to complete his training… and that included the challenges of travelling with a wheelchair.

Some years ago Andrew had a farming accident that left him without the use of his legs. That’s no small thing for a young guy in the prime of his life suddenly dependent on a wheelchair to get around. But did that stop him? No way. And while there were many obstacles to overcome he didn’t give in. Instead he chose to reinvent himself. To reframe things. And to focus his mind on anything that gave him hope, be it big or small. When he couldn’t do things the way he use to, he found a new way. This year he’s all set for another six weeks of skiing the magic of those New Zealand mountains on his specially designed ski. There’s no stopping this guy.

For anybody who’s ever had a challenge to overcome, Andrew’s story is nothing short of inspiring. And it’s a lesson for all of us. We can give in to the heartbreak and disappointments that inevitably come with life. Or we can CHOOSE to rise above them, learn from them and move on to creating something awesome for ourselves. It’s all about your mindset.

What can you do with the cards you’ve been dealt?

What challenges can you reframe?

How can you rise above?