DREAM 50 Strategy

by Darren Hardy

Last week we discussed how a BEST BUYER client can be worth 100 times the average client—and cost you a lot less headaches and wallet aches.

Ultimately, you want to reduce the universe of available prospects down to your DREAM 50.

What’s a “DREAM” client?
Here’s your filter system: Of all the potential client target groups, which is EASY, FAST,and PROFITABLE?

EASY—They are easy to reach, costing you little advertising, marketing, and sales effort.

FAST—When presented with your solution, the value is quickly recognized and they are fast to make a decision and purchase.

PROFITABLE—Once converted, their lifetime value is richly profitable because of their transaction size, upsell purchases, frequency of repeat purchases, and referrals.

With this new narrowed focus, here is a 5-Step Action Plan for targeting your DREAM 50 clients.

1. List Your 50
Use the filter above.

2. Lay in Their Bed
What are they laying awake at night thinking about? What problems, worries, fears, or challenges are they facing? What are their goals? What are they looking for? What do they need? (Not what YOU think they need, but what THEY think they need.)

Remember, this sales adage is wrong: Find a need and fill it.
No. If a client doesn’t perceive they have a need, they don’t.

That’s why you have to lay in their bed and find out what need THEY perceive to have. Then you can help fill it.

3. Customize Your Solution
Write out exactly what your customized solution is to their unique pains, problems, hopes, and desires—those things that matter most to them (not just you) so when you finally do get in front of them, or on the phone or in the elevator, you can immediately tickle their fancy.

4. Find a Bridge
I don’t make cold calls. And you shouldn’t either. Cold calls are for rookies.

Rather than just being just some Joe or Jane Shmoe contacting your DREAM 50 cold and out of the blue, find a relationship bridge between you and your DREAM 50 client. Get referred in from a credible and trusted source.

For instance, I am contacted a dozen times a week asking me to endorse someone’s book. If I don’t know the person or their work personally, I cannot even respond. Last week Harvey Mackay called me asking me to review someone’s book and, if I found suitable, to give it an endorsement. I did and I did. And it was the only one. The rest might have been worthy, but the rest were not referred into me by an already trusted source. Make sense?

Brainstorm WHO knows the person or company you want to do business with. If you don’t know anyone right now (be sure to check your LinkedIn connections) then find out who their vendors are (CPA, attorney, other clients, etc.). Find someone to get you personally introduced.

5. Deliver Your “WOW” Solution
Don’t just settle for one bridge or one path to your Dream 50. Review the Shock and Awe Strategy here. Get aggressive, and don’t be afraid to lose one-out-of-five.

Imagine if you only captured 10 of those 50 DREAM clients. What would that do to your business and your life? Hey, even only 5! That is why this is an enormously valuable strategy. Go through the exercise today. Get your team involved. This could be game-changing for everyone involved. You can download the DREAM 50 Strategy document here

Taken from strategies taught in Darren’s HIGH-PERFORMANCE FORUM.
More information can be found here. Apply here.

 

How Smart Can Our Devices Get?

by Daniel Burrus

From phones to cars to bridges, embedded technologies are increasingly making the things we use smarter every day. For example, some of the newest cars use cameras mounted in the rear to see if something is in the way when you are backing up. The car will apply the brake even if you don’t or you are slow to react. Likewise, the cement in new bridges has embedded chips that can let engineers know when the cement is cracking, stressed, and in need of repair before the bridge collapses.

But it’s not just cars and bridges that are getting smarter. Kraft Foods worked with Intel to develop a smart vending machine that can market specific products by demographic group. Basically, the vending machine uses a camera that’s mounted on the front of the machine to identify characteristics of the person using the machine in real time. The first application has been to determine the user’s age and gender, and then based on this information, the vending machine offers free samples that will appeal to the exact demographic of the user.

In other words, you may be at the vending machine purchasing a candy bar or some potato chips. Because the vending machine knows your age and gender, it will give you a specific marketing message along with a code you can use from your smart phone to claim a free sample of the product. The sample will then be mailed to your home. In this scenario, it’s the vending machine using a combination of facial recognition, facial demographic data, artificial intelligence, and access to the cloud to qualify the user and select the most relevant item to market.

 

Here’s another example: A number of years ago I was working with Accenture. They were experimenting with an innovative marketing device that I haven’t seen used publicly yet, but I’m sure we will soon.

Their device was a mirror that could be placed in large public places where people gather, such as a shopping mall or airport. People look in the mirror and see a reflection of themselves. They then answer some questions, such as “Do you smoke? If yes, how much?” “Do you drink? If yes, how many?” “Do you exercise? If yes, how often?” After answering several questions, your image morphs into what you would look like in 10, 15 and 20 years, based on your answers.

Finally, the machine suggests that you change some of your answers to see what impact your new lifestyle would have on how you look in the future. For example, it would ask “What if you quit smoking?”and then it displays the impact that one lifestyle choice would make on your future appearance. Or, what if you increased your exercise? Or, what if you improved your diet? Suddenly, wrinkles are gone and fat disappears based on the alternate scenarios.

The goal is to show people the impact of their behavior on their future, because most of us spend little time thinking about that. Now we can. While this technology was experimental years ago, you can see how it can easily turn into a tool for helping people make healthier lifestyle choices as well as a powerful marketing tool. Now you have an intelligent machine giving you lifestyle suggestions based on the impact your habits will have on your future. And of course, it would market appropriate products to you, such as weight loss aids or stop smoking products, based on your challenges and what you want to change in your future.

These are just a few examples of how everything we use is getting smarter. The message is clear: Today’s smart devices are just the tip of the iceberg. Current smart devices will only get smarter, and technology that is currently “dumb” will develop intelligence quickly. This intelligence will change not only how companies market to consumers, but also how we live, work, and play in this age of technology-driven transformation.

Your Ethics Training Initiatives Will Be Uneffective If:

by Frank Bucaro

1. It is a “one shot” effort or at best sporadic. For this leaves the impression that this type of training is not that important.

2. You rely too heavily on online training as your main training instrument rather than as a supplemental resource.

3. You don’t separate compliance from ethics. If you don’t you give the perception that they are one in the same, and they are not.

4.Face-to-face ethics training, that is customized with techniques, insights and solid ethical theories, is not the main and constant focus of your training initiatives.

5. Everyone from the CEO down to the new hire participates in the training.

A Few Words From the Memorial Service of Steven Covey

by Don Yaeger

Saturday, my wife and I were in Salt Lake City with thousands of others to attend the memorial service for Stephen Covey.  Covey was one of the most influential business authors of our generation, having penned the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People in 1989 and then watched as the book sold more than 20 million copies.  He authored several other amazing books that combined to sell another 20 million copies.

Several months ago his children asked if I would author their father’s biography, one of the great honors in my career.  In the last few months I’ve gotten to know the Covey family and have reveled in the stories they’ve shared about how this amazing thinker came to shape the world.

At the memorial, which was public but also served as Stephen’s family funeral, each of his nine children stepped up and shared their greatest memories of growing up with a father that US Presidents and dozens of foreign leaders have asked for counsel.  As we listened to each child, the word that hung over every story was “Authentic.” What made Stephen Covey so great as a leader – and as a father – was that “As good as he was in public, he was even better in private,” as his oldest son Stephen M.R. Covey said.

The youngest Covey child, Josh was the last of the family to speak at the service.  He told a story of being a young boy, four years old, who so wanted to be like his father that he wanted to dress just as he did, right down to wearing the same belt buckle.  Then Josh told the story of being the final child to speak to his father the previous Sunday night, just hours before his father would pass, when the family gathered in his hospital room.  Josh said he wanted desperately to have the right words to say in that moment.”  I told my father that as a boy I wanted to be like him so I dressed like him,” Josh said as tears welled in his eyes.  “Now as a man, I want to be like him so I want to live like him.  As a boy, it was on the outside.  As a man, I want to be like him on the inside.”

What a tribute.

Tips from a Great One

A few of my favorite quotes from Stephen Covey

“Live life in crescendo!”

“Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is important.”

“Effective leadership is putting first things first. Effective management is discipline, carrying it out.”

“Live out your imagination, not your history.”

“The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.”

“There are three constants in life…change, choice, and principles.”

“We are the creative force of our life, and through our own decisions rather than our conditions, if we carefully learn to do certain things, we can accomplish those goals.”

“We are free to choose our actions…but we are not free to choose the consequences of those actions.”

“Strength lies in differences, not in similarities.”

“Wisdom is the child of integrity–being integrated around principles. And integrity is the child of humility and courage.”

“Live, love, laugh, and leave a legacy.”

Who’s Packing Your Parachute?

by Darren Hardy

A couple years ago I interviewed Charlie Plumb, who was a U.S. Navy jet pilot in Vietnam. I learned a very valuable leadership lesson that I’d like to pass on to you here.

Charlie flew 74 consecutive successful combat missions. However on his 75th mission his F4 Phantom fighter plane was shot down by a surface-to-air missile. The plane exploded with some 12,000 pounds of jet fuel, flipping the plane topsy-turvy, end-over-end, down toward a rice paddy below.

Charlie was forced to eject. The only thing between him and imminent death was his parachute that he prayed would open…

Then finally he felt the opening shock of the parachute. During the 90 seconds of descent he was being shot at. “The audacity of this enemy,” Charlie said, “they just knocked down my multimillion-dollar airplane and now they’re trying to kill the pilot!”

Charlie made it down to the ground alive, but was then captured and spent 2,103 brutal days as a prisoner of war in a communist Vietnamese prison camp.

Many years after being repatriated, Charlie, his wife and another couple were sitting in a little restaurant in Kansas City together before going to a theater show that night.

Two tables over was this guy who kept looking at him. Charlie would look back but didn’t recognize him, but he kept catching this guy staring at him. Finally the guy stood up and walked over to Charlie’s table and pointed at him with a sort of a stern look on his face and he said, “You’re Captain Plumb.” Charlie looked up at him and said, “Yes, I am Captain Plumb.” The guy said, “You’re that guy. You flew jet fighters in Vietnam. You’re a fighter pilot, part of that ‘Top Gun’ outfit. You launched from the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk, you parachuted into enemy territory and you spent six years as a prisoner of war.”

Somewhat dumbfounded Charlie looked up at the guy and asked, “How in the world did you know all that?” The man chuckled, smiled and said, “Because I packed your parachute.”

Charlie was speechless. The man grabbed Charlie’s hand and pumped his arm and said, “I guess it worked” and walked off.

Charlie laid awake that night thinking about all the times he had walked through the long narrow room, below sea level on the aircraft carrier, with the tables where the men packed the parachutes. How many times he must have walked past this man without even saying “hi,” “good morning” or “good job” or “I appreciate what you do.”

“How many times did I pass the man whose job would eventually save my life… because I was a jet jockey, a Top Gun racing around the sky at twice the speed of sound. Because I was a fighter pilot and he was just a sailor.”

Think about this for yourself. How many times in life do you pass the people who help you out the most? The people who come out of the far corners of your life just when you need them the most and pack your parachutes for you? The people who go the extra mile, the people who don’t look for the kudos or the accolades or the achievement medal or even the bonus check—the folks who are just out there packing parachutes?

So here’s what I want to challenge you to do. Look around your organization for the people who might not be the ‘Top Guns’ of your organization, the loud and brazen leaders, but the ones who support the system that enables the Top Guns to fly. And if something goes wrong it will be because they did their job that no one gets hurt or a customer doesn’t go neglected.

This week find 5 parachute packers in your organization and tell them how much you appreciate them and how important are the things they do for the organization. Because, in the end, it might just be them who save your life or your business, or at least save the day.

After you have acknowledged your 5 people, I would love to hear about your experience. Please share them with the rest of us.

Was That Great Idea Yours…or Your Phone’s?

by Daniel Burrus

Thanks to faster processing chips and the ability to tap into super computers in the cloud, today’s smart phones are getting smarter fast! But it’s not only because of faster chips, it’s also because of the algorithms that are being developed and applied in the background, which are essentially analyzing everything you do. To show how smart the phone can be, the University of Birmingham did an experiment whereby they used the data collected from individuals’ smart phones and those of the individuals’ friends to predict a person’s future whereabouts.

For example, suppose you and a friend get together every Thursday after work. It’s in your calendar every week. Also suppose that on Monday of this week your friend does some general searches for a different restaurant in your area. The phone puts two and two together and predicts that on Thursday you and your friend will be meeting you at the new restaurant.

Sound farfetched? It’s not. The University research found that, on average, they were able to predict within a 20 meter radius where any given person in the study would be 24 hours later. In other words, they pinpointed a person’s future location…and their accuracy was within 20 meters. Since one meter is about three feet, 20 meters is not far off.

Currently, Android’s new phone system has a predictive analysis system in place called Google Now, which aims at predicting what you’ll need and then getting it before you even know you need it, all based on your interests and habits.  And it will get more accurate over time.

How is this possible? Well, we’re using our smart phones to surf and to do our Google searches. All those searches are increasingly tied to our GPS, which is our location. And the amount of time we’re using social media on our phones is increasing as well, which means even more data collection. So our smart phone knows where we are, what we’re doing, and what our interests are at all times.

When you combine all of those things, it’s easy to see that more companies will be doing predictive analysis of what individuals are going to buy, what they’re going to do, and where they’re going to be. And, of course, this will increasingly raise concerns about privacy.

But it also brings up another interesting question: Who is really deciding our actions?

Predictive analysis suggests that a smart device is using past information and current on-line behavior to determine what a future action will be. That’s fine. But maybe you weren’t going to do what the phone suggested. Maybe the phone simply made such a good prediction (suggestion) that you decided to actually do what the phone predicted you would do. In other words, maybe the phone is not predicting, but rather, determining what you’ll do through the power of intelligent suggestion.

We’ll see this area develop and this concern play out over the coming months and years. For now, take the time to think about why you do things and the actions you take. If you don’t, someone else may do the thinking for you.

How Political Cookies Will Shape the Upcoming Election

by Daniel Burrus

Way back in the late 1980s, I was giving a keynote speech to the Direct Marketing Association, and one of stories I shared sparked both a laugh and an insight; junk mail is good mail that went to the wrong person. I went on to say that if I’m interested in sailboats and you send me something about snowmobiles, you’ve just sent me junk mail. But if you send me something about sailboats, you’ve just sent me something valuable because your message is in my interest zone. It’s no longer junk mail, it’s relevant mail.  I finished the story by giving them a prediction;  As the world becomes increasingly digital, marketers will be able to customize and eventually personalize every communication.

Fast Forward to the present, and it’s clear that the best marketers have already moved beyond customization to true personalization, For example, if you are conducting a number of searches about a sailboat that fits a certain make, model, size and price range, and then you go to a different unrelated website, it’s very likely you will see an ad for a sailboat that fits what you were looking for, almost as if they knew exactly what you were interested in.  And it is highly likely you would even click on it to find out more.  In addition, you might get a snail mail brochure a few days later advertising sailboats that fit your exact interests.

These intelligent personalized ads that match a person’s search patterns occur because of cookies. But cookies aren’t just for consumer products. They’re also for politics, and they will increasingly influence which political ads you see online, as they will grow more relevant over time.

Remember, cookies are the little bits of code that identify your browser online. Companies are accessing your browsing habits, which are stored in those cookies.  The best cookies come from the highest traffic websites, the ones you register to use. When you register to use those sites, the sites know who you are, where you are, and increasingly what you’re interested in. Your registration converts you from being an anonymous web surfer to a specific person with specific interests.

Now it’s possible for political campaign managers to access the cookies who know who you are, and combine that information with publically available information such as your political party registration. Then, they can look at your voting history, the types of charitable donations you make, your address, your age, etc. They can even take a look at your hobbies based on what you’ve been doing online and where you’ve been going from search to search.

Using all of this information, they can direct much more targeted campaign ads that know how to push your hot buttons.

When will this sort of targeting start happening? Right now. All the political candidates this year will be using this technology more and more as the Election Day draws closer to influence your vote. Will we still see all of those annoying campaign ads on television as we have in the past?  Yes, but in addition, the next time you see a political ad online and feel that it really resonates with you, realize that it does so for a reason. It was created specifically for you.

Huffington Post: 990,592 New Jobs And Six Other Silly Myths About Small Business Today

by Gene Marks

(This post originally appeared on the Huffington Post)

America’s Got Talent is the #1 show. Spiderman is the #1 movie. Call Me Maybe is the top song in the country. And who’s the most popular guy in Washington, DC?

Why…it’s me! The small business guy. Everyone’s buzzing about me. That’s because I represent more than 20 million others who are supposedly just like me. According to the National Federation of Independent Businesses my confidence is down. Oh no! But no worries. The President and Congress are battling over ways to help me succeed. Hooray!

I appreciate everyone’s concern. And I certainly love the attention. But really, I don’t want to waste your time. My technology company has 600 small business customers. And I agree that I don’t have the right to speak on behalf of the other 19,999,400 small businesses in the country. But then again…why not? I know that small businesses will be an important part of this year’s election. We’re already getting a lot of attention from the media. So let me help explain a few things. And put to rest a few silly myths about us.

 

Silly Myth #1: Small businesses collectively oppose higher taxes. My customers sell scrap, provide roofing services, distribute machine parts and build wrought iron fences. These are good, hardworking people and they also hate to pay taxes. Why? Because we are control freaks. We’re the ones with the TV remote. We do the barbequing when family comes over because our wives don’t know how to cook a steak as good as we do. And, as small business people we believe that we can spend our money more wisely than the government. But…we do not oppose higher taxes. We know that the government, like our own businesses, requires revenues to run. And sometimes, like our own businesses, a rate increase is needed. When I’m forced, every few years, to raise my hourly rates, I need to be darn sure I can explain why to my customers and justify the rate increase with added value. And that the increase won’t happen again for a long time. Small business owners are looking for that same rationale from the government.

Silly Myth #2. More taxes on the wealthy will significantly hurt the economy. I hate taxes like the next guy. But the fact is that the President’s proposals are to let rates rise for those families making more than $250,000 a year…but only on the amounts in excess of $250,000. So if a business owner brings home $350,000 per year he’ll pay 5% more taxes on the extra $100,000 of income or $5,000. That stinks but it’s not the end of the world. Personally, I’d rather see that guy keep the $5,000 and spend it on a vacation, roof repairs, a diamond necklace for his wife, an upgrade to his accounting software or to help this guy buy a new car already for God’s sake. Oh, and hire more people because he’s the guy that’s mainly doing that. Those are all things that would probably help the economy more than just giving it to the government. No, the additional tax rates won’t kill him. It’s just that a lower (and more importantly long term and stable) tax structure would help him a lot more.

Silly Myth #3: People and small business owners who make $250,000 per year are wealthy. No they’re not. They’re not doing so bad, mind you. But they’re not wealthy. At least a third of that money will go to Federal, State and other taxes. The majority of what’s left will go towards tickets to the Dark Knight Rises along with a large popcorn and a Coke. The remainder will go towards the mortgage, car payments, clothes, alimony, cable, Scientology fees, insurance, summer camp, a vacation, healthcare and maybe, just maybe, a retirement account. Oh…and a college fund. It’s a good life, but not the high life. And by the way, the people that I personally know who run businesses and make that kind of income easily work fourteen-hour days to make that happen. They have the pressure of people depending on them. They deal with many, many problems. They are stressed out. No one, with the exception of Scott Disick, just sits back and makes their money by doing absolutely nothing worthwhile.

Silly Myth #4: Tax incentives create jobs. No they don’t. Most of the small business owners I know laugh at the government’s attempts to help them hire. A tax credit to hire someone is nice but if we don’t need the person we’re not going to hire them just because a credit is offered. Here’s why: I still have to pay the employee’s salary and benefits. So I’m still significantly out of pocket, despite the tax credit. Even Jared Bernstein, a former economic adviser to the President, admits that there’s no hard data to support that tax incentives create jobs. The government can’t make me create a job for someone. Only more demand can do that. Or, of course, a request from my largest customer to hire his kid for the summer.

Silly Myth #5: All government incentives are useless. That’s not true either. Some do work. Extending the popular Section 179 deduction where smaller companies can immediately write off the purchase of certain capital equipment and investments has always been helpful. Credits for research and development really do spur research and development. Targeted tax relief in certain urban zones can attract businesses to build and invest. Easing of rules (like the “Quick App” for surety bond guarantees from the Small Business Administration) helps us get money faster.

Silly Myth #6: 990,592 new jobs will be created by the Senate’s Small Business Jobs and Tax Relief Act. Not 990,593? What about that poor guy…? I’ve done my own calculations and I think it will actually be 990,589. So there! I mean really…is anyone believing this data? Our government cannot even balance its own budget by a trillion dollars but they can predict the number of new jobs to be created by a proposed legislation to that degree of certitude? Wow! The fact is that small business owners don’t believe most of the predictions provided by the government (or their research organizations) any more than we believe that professional athletes are braver than the average guy. They’re definitely not. We hear about the upcoming “taxmageddon” and the “fiscal cliff” and we know that the people predicting disaster were the same people who predicted that last summer’s credit downgrade of U.S. debt would be calamitous (it wasn’t). And where were they prior to the 2008 financial meltdown? The latest financial downturn has taught small businesses that those super smart Ivy League guys on Wall Street and corporate boardrooms and in Washington policy think tanks still…don’t have a clue.

Silly Myth #7: The Government can create jobs and stimulate the economy. We don’t believe that either. The Government is, at best, a third of Gross Domestic Product. We’ve seen the Fed ease money and keep interest rates at near zero over the past few years. We’ve watched our President spend trillions on stimulus and tax incentives. We’ve let cats run our towns. nd all we’ve got to show for it is an anemic 2% growth rate and a couple of new democracies in the Middle East. Big whoops. Don’t misinterpret me – governments can help get the ball rolling. The Marshall Plan began an economic recovery after World War II. Johnson’s ‘Great Society’ (not to mention the Vietnam War) helped spur growth. Reagan’s defense build up in the wake of Soviet aggression was one part of his economic recovery. A stable tax system and well managed Federal Reserve is critical. But the government can only do so much. M&A activity was a big part of the stock market explosion during Reagan’s administration. A dot-com boom fueled the economy under Clinton. A housing surge helped Bush. Any random thing could happen that would make our next President seem like an economic genius. Small business owners do NOT look to the government for answers. We try to avoid dealing with the government whenever possible.

I hope this clears up a few myths about us. Now if you don’t mind, I have some work to do. I’ve got exactly 990,592 new jobs to start creating and that’s not going to happen overnight!

Forbes: Does Your Gas Station Have Mobile Too?

by Gene Marks

(The post originally appeared on Forbes)

Last month I got a big surprise from my local gas station.

It wasn’t just that the price of gas had significantly dropped (contrary to what so many of the forecasters were saying earlier this year).  Or that my family’s minivan with 125,000 miles on it needed a new transmission.  Or that, while in the midst of replacing said transmission a service technician found a half filled juice box wedged between the van’s back seats (my kids are teenagers and haven’t used a juice box in at least a decade).

The big surprise came when I went to call the gas station to check on the status of our repair job.  I forgot their phone number.  So I went to look it up on my Droid.  Oh, I found the number alright.  It was on their website.  Their mobile website.  My local gas station has a mobile website.  Let me repeat:  my local gas station has a mobile website.

Why did this get my attention?  Because my company, a technology consulting firm, did not have a mobile website.  But the mechanic did.  Was I missing something?  Clearly yes.  Something important.

The guy who owns my local gas station isn’t blind.  He sees, like we all do, that everyone’s using mobile devices.  You know the numbers, right?  Mobilephone access now reaches three quarters of the world’s population.  People in Singapore are so in love with their phones that one in three would forgo a significant lottery win rather than lose their device.  Here in the U.S., recent Pew study found that 55 percent of U.S. adults use their mobile phone to go online. And more research shows that there are 331 million mobile users here, which is actually more than our total population.  This must mean that somewhere, somebody’s dog is ordering a pizza on an iPhone as I write this.  Just last week we found out that mobile devices are so important to us that we can’t stop using them even when watching TV.

 

And yet, according to research done by both Googleand their mobile partner DudaMobile (who recently raised $6 million and does not count Keanu Reaves as one of their shareholders), less than 10% of small businesses currently have a mobile site.

Like my business.  What is this madness when my local gas station is more tech savvy than my tech consulting firm?

DudaMobile’s Chief Marketing Officer Dennis Minke says this is about to change in a big way.  “Google has a different algorithm when a user searches on a mobile device as opposed to a regular computer,” he told me.  “Today’s mobile devices are looking for mobile friendly sites to display.  We’re about to see a big jump in small businesses making their websites mobile.”

When people visit a mobile optimized site they tend to take action immediately.  According to the company’s research, one in five will place an immediate phone call.  Cesar’s Killer Margaritas, a chain of Mexican restaurants based in Chicago and a DudaMobile customer, says they get more than 1700 mobile visits a month to their site which accounts for 33% of their total traffic.  My friends at the local gas station, not known for their great metrics, still tell me anecdotally that they are seeing many new visits and phone calls to their business because they are being found more easily on people’s smartphones and tablets.

Not to be out-geeked by my local gas station, I too decided to take my company’s website mobile using DudaMobile’s service.  And I learned a few things.

For starters, it’s not necessary to make an entire site mobile.  You don’t have to over do it or make things more complicated.  Unless you’re selling a lot of stuff online, most people who want to find your business probably do not want anything more than your contact information and a basic overview of what you do.  So for a typical service business like mine (or the gas station) it’s probably enough that you mobilize your “contact us” or “about us” page and your home page.  If you’re in the restaurant business (and according to DudaMobile 28% of those businesses who have gone mobile are in the restaurant and food industry) it may be a good touch to also make your menu available too.

Secondly, and before using a service like DudaMobile’s, ask your Internet Service Provider (ISP).  My local gas station hosts their website with Web.comand my friend there told me that they were able to mobilize their site for an extra few bucks a month as part of their hosting services.

If you’re going to use a service like DudaMobile’s then you should try out Google’s site called How To Go Mo.  Why?  Because this site gives you more information about the process then I’m probably giving plus you can sign up with DudaMobile on this site and save a bunch of money, rather than doing it directly.  Oh, and Google’s trying to drive more ad revenue through your mobile site in case you haven’t figure that out.

There is a little technical work involved.  I had my webmaster handle the whole thing.  Even though we only mobilized a few pages from my site, there were still a couple of funky design things that needed to be done for aesthetic purposes which would’ve probably made me (I have no patience whatsoever) put my fist through the computer’s screen.  Also, a line of HTML code had to be manually inserted into my website so that when a user goes there directly the site would recognize that it’s being looked at by a mobile device and immediately bounce the user to the mobile friendly version.

My mobile friendly version, by the way, uses DudaMobile’s URL.  So when a visitor types in my site (www.marksgroup.net) they’re getting transferred to a site that reads “mobile.dudamobile.com/site/marksgroup.”  Sure, this is probably just to make the process as simple as possible.  But methinks that’s also because of a potential nefarious plan to earn advertising bucks, eh?  That’s fine by me because it’s cheap. And I’m cheap.  If I want to pay a higher monthly fee then I can have a mobile site that’s a sub-domain of my own marksgroup.net website.

I’ve been talking about DudaMobile here because I spoke to Dennis and I’ve heard of those guys before.  But they’re not the only game in town.  I mentioned using your ISP above.  But to get a list of the latest services, tools and technologies for making your website more mobile friendly check out this search I did at one of my favorite tech sites Makeuseof.com.

It’s been a few months since I mobilized my site.  It was inexpensive and easy.  And now my customers (and prospects) can find me quicker.  Plus, at least for the time being, I’m a little step ahead of my competition.  But the biggest benefit is that I no longer have to hang my head in shame because the guy at my local gas station is more tech savvy than me.

Thinking Your Way Out of a Slump!

by Don Yaeger

Former Yankees catcher Yogi Berra once said, “Baseball is ninety percent mental.  The other half is physical.” Yogi, one of the best interviews you could ever imagine, was clearly not a math major, but he did have a point. Mental strength is a huge differentiator between winners and losers.

How many times in your life have you found yourself in a mental slump?  Professional athletes hit slumps all the time.  We do, too.  It may not be that you have trouble hitting a curve ball.  You could be in a slump in your relationship, at work, or wherever you have performed well.

But that’s the thing about a slump, to be in a slump, you have to have done something well in the first place. Albert Pujols of the Los Angeles Angels is one of the premier hitters in the past 25 years.  He’s been putting up Hall of Fame numbers since he became a pro.  But this year, he moved from St. Louis to L.A. and hasn’t been able to find his sweet spot until recently.  Much was made about his large contract and small productivity. Pujols had to revert back to what it was that made him one of the best hitters of all time and concentrate on achieving greatness.

There’s a difference between choking and slumping.  A choke is a one-time event.   You miss a 10 foot putt to win the tournament.  A slump is missing 10 of those putts because your mind is not right.  This phenomenon of a slump is so prevalent that doctors like Dr. Rob Gray from the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences at UAB has spent extensive time studying what creates a slump.

Gray says, “We think that when you’re under pressure, your attention goes inward naturally.  Suddenly it means so much, you want to make sure everything’s working properly.  Focusing on what you’re doing makes you mess up, but why?  How do your movements change?  How can we focus on correcting those issues instead of telling you to stop trying so hard?

That’s usually the “easy” answer.  Stop trying so hard.  But those words usually enhance your slump because breaking out of a slump isn’t easy.

We’ve all had to recharge our batteries at one point in time.  So how did you do it? For me, I try to remember what steps I took to achieve the level of success I had, but most important, I need to get out of my own head. It’s easy to talk yourself out of being great.  The great ones thrive under pressure while others talk themselves out of success. Whether it’s shooting the game winning free-throw or asking out a girl for the first time, you can’t be great unless you go for it and find a way to break the slump.

Has there been a time in your life that you were in a slump? How did you get out of it? What slump-busting steps did you take?