The Positive-Sum Game Leads to Victory

By Jeff Beals

By now, you hopefully know you need to market yourself to stand out in today’s cluttered marketplace. Just remember that successful self-marketing requires a big dose of healthy attitude.

You can’t market yourself if you have nothing to sell. That means you must work hard at all times. Marketing without solid performance behind it is a lie. As you promote yourself, constantly work hard. The harder you work, and the more you produce, the more confident you will feel. That makes your personal branding efforts convey better thereby creating a snowball effect – the better your self-marketing is, the more opportunities you will have to be productive. Search for opportunities everywhere. Be curious. Sometimes the best opportunities come from the places you least expect.

You must think big and take some risks. Sometimes you have to step out of your comfort zone. Perhaps you are somewhat shy or are new to your profession and thus intimidated by industry veterans. Don’t waste time on fear and worry. It leads to disappointment and inaction.

For many people, their first forays into self-marketing are small. That’s a fine way to gain experience and build self-confidence. Grassroots self-marketing can start humbly. The key is to keep building up your efforts. You will never gain the highest levels of name recognition and respect if you don’t do something big at some point. Once you break through the big risk barrier, all subsequent activities will not seem like such a big deal. There is an old saying that life comes down to just a few big moments. Don’t let timidity prevent you from seizing big opportunities.

Self-marketing is a positive-sum game, not a zero-sum game. Everyone can win. Just because one person becomes a rock star in an industry or community, doesn’t mean that someone else cannot. Too many people have a difficult time understanding this. No doubt you have come across someone who can’t stand hearing praise about someone else. You say something nice about someone else and that person feels compelled to refute it, bring up a negative thing about the person or at least minimize it with a quick barb or roll of the eyes. Anyone who behaves like this is telling the rest of the world that he or she has low self-esteem or a compromised sense of self-worth.

One of the most important rules of the self-marketing game is to never tear down others while promoting yourself. In fact, we should actually go out of our way to build others up as we promote ourselves. Nothing looks so bad as to come across as jealous, envious or spiteful.

Jeff Beals is an award-winning author, who helps professionals do more business and have a greater impact on the world through effective sales, marketing and personal branding techniques. As a professional speaker, he delivers energetic and humorous keynote speeches and workshops to audiences worldwide. To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or call (402) 637-9300.

You are welcome to forward this article (with author citation) to anyone who might benefit from it.

How Not to Work Evenings & Weekends

By Jeff Beals

Jane Schulte is really quite remarkable.

She’s an entrepreneur, who runs two successful businesses. She grew her company, PRISM Title, from eight to 60 employees in only 18 months. She has published four books, two of which are award winning. She speaks to a variety of audiences about business success. She has been featured in Jeffrey Gitomer’s “Sales Caffeine” newsletter and many other media outlets. On top of all this, she’s an accomplished artist whose works have been commissioned.

That’s certainly an impressive bio.  But do you want to know what’s most remarkable about Jane Schulte?

She doesn’t work evenings and weekends.

“I might log in on my laptop for a minute right when I get home,” Schulte said, “but I don’t work in the evening unless it’s a crisis or some client needs my help and absolutely can’t wait.”

Imagine that! How can a person accomplish so much, yet do it so efficiently, that she doesn’t take work home with her each night?

The answer is time management.

When asked how she can accomplish so much, Schulte gave a lot of reasons – a talented and loyal staff, energy, drive – but she focused mostly on time management.

It wouldn’t be fair to say Schulte is obsessed with time management, but she has definitely mastered it in a way very few others have. That discipline has allowed her to excel in many wide-ranging things simultaneously.

Schulte’s path to success is kind of old fashioned in that she worked her way through the proverbial “school of hard knocks.” She grew up – and still lives – in the northern Kentucky suburbs of Cincinnati, Ohio. She started working as a legal secretary in 1981. She was promoted to a real estate paralegal two years later and landed her first management job in 1985. A few short years later, she was an executive. Just recently, she started an additional company, PRISM Business Advisors. She and her husband Greg together have three sons, one of whom works at NASA. The other two are enrolled at the University of Kentucky.

Certainly tenacity and drive mixed with competence and business acumen are important, but more than any other skill, time management is number one.

In fact, when asked what advice she would give a young entrepreneur, Schulte quickly said they should get a handle on their time.

“If you don’t control your time, all things are not possible,” she said. “I can’t stress that enough. I’ve seen so many people, who could be so much more successful if they weren’t so scattered, and they didn’t get overwhelmed and bogged down. They become immobilized. There are so many things hitting them, and they don’t have any systems in place to take care of that or keep their stress at a manageable level.”

The sad thing is that many of these overwhelmed and ultimately burned-out people are full of talent.

“Get a handle on your time, because we only have so much,” Schulte said. “In order to be really successful, you have to be able to do more than just one thing. You have to be diversified, flexible and agile enough to go where there are opportunities.”

Schulte is so committed to good time management that she authored a how-to book, Work Smart Not Hard: Organizational Tips and Tools That Will Change Your Life. In the book, she describes both strategies and tactics for getting a grip on life’s most precious resource.

She preaches the importance of de-cluttering our desks and email in-boxes. She describes her PEND system, which stands for “Put an End to Needless Distraction™. PEND consists of a folder for each day of the month where paper items are strategically filed. She also has an electronic PEND system for emails. She uses Microsoft Outlook’s task feature, dual monitors on her desk PC, and takes full advantage of the power offered by smart phones and remote access to office computer databases.

Ultimately, the effective time manager uses all the tools available.

“The idea is ‘don’t remember anything,'” Schulte said. “Use your tools and system, so you are free to take care of the task at hand whatever that might be.”

There’s another tool that is incredibly important: delegation. Accomplishing things through other people is fundamental if you want to succeed and enjoy a fulfilling life. By leveraging the work of others, you multiply your own abilities. In fact, Schulte said delegation is one of best strengths as a leader.

“I’ve taught a lot of people what I know and what I do,” she said. “That way, I can send a lot of projects or parts of projects to other people.”

By the way, if you would like to learn more about Jane Schulte, go to PrismSuccess.com or find her books on Amazon.com.

Jeff Beals is an award-winning author, who helps professionals do more business and have a greater impact on the world through effective sales, marketing and personal branding techniques. As a professional speaker, he delivers energetic and humorous keynote speeches and workshops to audiences worldwide.  To discuss booking  a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or call (402) 637-9300.

You are welcome to forward this article (with author citation) to anyone who might benefit from it.

Lessons from the Shopping Mall

On a cloudless summer day in suburban Chicago, a woman put her two children in the car and drove to the shopping mall. There she met one of her best girlfriends, who also came to the mall with her kids.

The group of two moms and four kids spent the whole day at the mall, having lunch in the cafeteria and then leisurely strolling, shopping and people watching. An afternoon movie in the attached theatre and malted milkshakes at the ice cream parlor finished off the mall excursion before the women drove back to their respective homes to prepare dinner.

These two women absolutely loved the mall. In their minds, it was one of the greatest places on Earth. After all, the mall was exciting, full of the latest and greatest retailers, a state-of-the-art movie theatre and plenty of free parking. Even better, the climate controlled indoor environment made it possible for a whole day of shopping and entertainment without being subjected to Chicago’s often extreme weather. No doubt about it; the mall was THE place to see and be seen.

That was 1968. It was the heyday of the enclosed regional shopping mall in America.

Here’s how this story might read in 2011:

A well-educated, working mom is able to duck out of her office for a couple hours at lunch to catch up on some long-deferred errands. With the kids in school, it’s her chance to actually get things done. That’s critical, because evenings and weekends are filled with dance lessons, soccer practice and select-league baseball games that often require the family to spend weekends at out-of-town tournaments.

Her challenge is to fit a whole day’s slate of errands into two hours. She drives her minivan to the power center located along the freeway. There she takes advantage of a 30%-off discount card she received in the mail from Kohl’s department store before stopping by the Wal-Mart Super Center to stock up on non-perishable consumables mostly manufactured in China. She takes care of mailing packages and dropping off dry cleaning at her friendly mega grocery store’s customer service counter.

Next, she speeds over to the lifestyle center, an outdoor mall with heavy landscaping, upscale national-chain retailers and a nice-but-fake-looking façade. There she purchases high-end cosmetics (the all-natural kind that are never tested on animals) and a dress for the coming weekend’s formal dinner. Before jumping in the minivan, she grabs a double latte, a little reward for getting so much done so quickly. She must head back to the office and cram in her work before picking up the kids from their after-school program.

Indeed, times have changed.

As the lives of retail customers have evolved, the retailers and the shopping mall owners have had to change in order to keep up. Today’s harried shopper simply doesn’t have the time to spend the whole day at the mall. Speed and convenience are critically important. Shoppers still want luxury and entertainment, but they have to be easily accessible and located close to homes or offices.

Consequently, we now see many of those old malls, the ones that were gleaming and glorious in 1968, being torn down and replaced with big-box retailers, open-air lifestyle centers and mixed-use “walkable” villages.

A perfect example is Randhurst Mall built in 1962 in the Chicago suburb of Mt. Prospect, Ill. According to Midwest Real Estate News, the once-popular Randhurst is now desolate, so crews are demolishing most of it to make way for a mixed-use center that will be home to offices, a hotel and a bunch of entertainment businesses in addition to an updated mix of retailers.

Retailers and retail landlords either keep up with the trends or they die.

Well, retailers certainly aren’t alone, are they? Your business needs to adapt too.

Keep in mind that, as a person, you are essentially a business. You are a business of one, a business unto yourself. In a lot of ways, you (as a business of one) have much in common with retailers. Like a retailer, you are selling a product (yourself). Like a retailer, you want to portray your product in the most desirable way while making it extremely convenient to your customers. Like a retailer, you must adapt to the changing needs and preferences of the public.

Regardless of what you do for a living, you must place your clients on a pedestal. Their needs and wants are not only paramount, they’re moving targets.

Are you doing whatever it takes to keep up? Are you willing to tear down a 1960’s-era mall and replace it with one of today’s hot new shopping developments?  Stay ahead of the trend or risk being squashed by it!

Jeff Beals is an award-winning author, who helps professionals do more business and have a greater impact on the world through effective sales, marketing and personal branding techniques. As a professional speaker, he delivers energetic and humorous keynote speeches and workshops to audiences worldwide.  To discuss booking  a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or call (402) 637-9300.

You are welcome to forward this article (with author citation) to anyone who might benefit from it.