Posts tagged "Business is ART"

Are Mastermind / Peer Groups Worth It?

November 28th, 2017 Posted by Blog Post, Leadership, Mastermind Group, Peer Group, Relationships 0 thoughts on “Are Mastermind / Peer Groups Worth It?”

Are mastermind or peer groups worth it? The short answer is “Abso-friggin-lootely!” But there is a longer answer to consider.

On a recent episode of the Business is ART podcast on the TrueChat Network, podcast host and Plan Canvas founder Jon Umstead spoke with business coach Steve White and Entrepreneur Christina Walters about the value of a mastermind, and we wanted to summarize a few of their points here.

Steve discussed from the point of view of someone who has led a mastermind group. Christina discussed from the point of view of someone who has been a member of a mastermind group.

Need a more flexible, budget friendly mastermind/peer group option?

We have an online option that follows a proven process.

In-person mastermind groups are great. But they do require a significant investment of time and, often, money. That isn’t always possible for everyone. We have a lower priced option that with more flexibility because we do it online.

Learn More…

What is a mastermind group?

Mastermind groups consist of peers who come together to receive help and help others with their issues and challenges – be they personal or business related. They are typically facilitated and can be industry/topic specific or they can be open to any type of business or organization – profit or non-profit.

Masterminds are built on two premises:

  1. It’s lonely at the top.
  2. None of us is as smart as all of us.

It’s lonely at the top

When you lead your business or organization, from an organization structure point of view, you sit at the top. As they say, it is lonely at the top. What is meant by that is more often than not, it is difficult to find people to talk to about your challenges because most people cannot relate to them.

There are some challenges about which you cannot speak to your employees, family, loved ones, friends, etc. Not because they don’t care or don’t mean well, but because they aren’t in your shoes, they don’t have that experience, and they can’t empathize. Their feedback can often, unintentionally, be based in their own emotions and what’s in it for them.

A mastermind group is made up of individuals who have or are walking in your shoes. They can directly relate because they have been there or know they very well could be. They can offer feedback in an unemotional manner because they have no emotional skin in your game (other than they just want to see you do well).

What makes for the most effective mastermind group?

In order to maximize effectiveness, a mastermind group has to be facilitated by someone. Here are a few more things to look for:

  1. Be sure that the group is about the members and NOT the facilitator.
  2. Be sure that the mastermind group follows a defined process so that it is not the equivalent of a coffee clutch.
  3. Be sure that the group is about resolving issues/challenges as opposed to selling and marketing to each other.
  4. Be sure that you and all other members make the group a priority – don’t find reasons to miss meetings, be present in the meetings, actively participate in the meetings.
  5. Be accountable – follow-up on any assigned action items from the group and expect that others will do the same.

See the Benefits of a Mastermind Group Yourself!

None of us is as smart as all of us.

Join a group of peers for monthly, facilitated, on-line meetings where you can help others and be helped by others. Join now…

None of us is as smart as all of us

This is an old Japanese proverb – sort of the old adage “two heads are better than one” except in this case, you are bringing several heads together.

The major challenge in any group setting is to ensure that group-think does not enter into the equation. That is when the strongest personality in the group begins to take over and suddenly, everyone winds up agreeing with everything that individual has to say, with no real exploration of alternatives.

Avoiding group-think is a major reason that for a mastermind group to be successful, it has to be facilitated, preferably by a professional facilitator.

So are they worth it?

If you find the right mastermind group for you that minimally has the characteristics described in this post, mastermind groups are definitely worth it. There are numerous studies that show how effective they can be depending on what success, in terms of a mastermind group, means for you.

Christina is clearly biased when it comes to the value of a mastermind group. While participating in one, her business grew by over 30% in just a few months.

On the podcast when asked who should join a mastermind group, her response was, “Everyone.”

We agree.

I Don’t Really Need a Business Plan – Do I?

October 18th, 2016 Posted by Business is ART 0 thoughts on “I Don’t Really Need a Business Plan – Do I?”

book-coverWhat really is the value of a plan? It drives me a little crazy when I hear people say things like, “Things change so much around here, it doesn’t make any sense to have a plan.”

Let me alter that statement in a couple of ways and then you can be the judge.

“My plans never work out because they never reflect the changes that take place after I write the plan.”

…and…

“Every day I just wake up, see what happens, and respond accordingly.”

If you’re good with these two statements, stop reading. Go back to motivational posts on Twitter. You know, the ones like, “Only you can tell you you can’t do what you do for you.” But if you know or are wondering what is wrong with those statements, thanks for sticking around.

What’s the Point of a Plan?

Let’s begin with two of three primary purposes of a plan. The first is to articulate what it is you want, how you envision getting there, and how you will measure progress along the way. A plan has to evolve and adjust to the realities that impact its potential for success – positively or negatively, inside your control and outside of your control. Which leads to a second primary purpose of a plan – to anticipate and mitigate against those very things.

Here’s What’s Wrong

So here’s what’s wrong with the two statements. The first one assumes a plan should be static. It shouldn’t be. Of COURSE things change. We change our diets, our hair-dos, our minds, our underwear and yes…we have to change our plans.

The second one assumes that everything happens by chance. On the surface you might think it’s an optimistic point of view. I don’t need a plan because it’s just going to turn out good. But really, it’s a pessimistic way of looking at things. It is the equivalent of saying it really doesn’t matter what you do because things re just going to happen the way they are going to happen.

Let’s Play

Can you imagine a sports team whose coach says, “OK, kids. Just get out there and play and we’ll see how it ends up.”

That’s what running a business without a plan is like. If that’s the way you want to play it, knock yourself out. But if you want to take a more cerebral approach, a great place to start is with my book Business is ART, on sale now. With this book, you’ll learn the ins and outs of creating your vision, forming strategies, and measuring success. Click here to order it today. While you’re at it, please check out my on-line video training designed to teach you the processes and templates described in the book. Clear here to view.

Is Your Customer Your Advocate?

October 11th, 2016 Posted by Inspiration, Strategy 0 thoughts on “Is Your Customer Your Advocate?”

Customer LoyaltyWhen I was responsible for call center operations, our customer service reps did not greet callers by identifying OUR company name. Instead they used our CLIENT’S company name. We always told our clients and prospective clients that in whatever we do, we operate as an extension of them. We didn’t want them thinking of us as a service provider. We wanted them to think of us as an organization within their own.

I carry that same philosophy through to my consulting clients. When we discuss plans, strategies, tasks, etc., I say things like “When WE do this…” and “OUR targets are…”

Customers as Advocates

Last week, I had the pleasure of being part of the presentation team for a client preparing to launch a new business venture. My role was to present OUR plan for moving forward. In that moment, I was not an independent business consultant, I was just part of the team.

During the presentation I said, “We want our clients to be our advocates for our services.”

If they heard nothing else of my portion of the presentation, the attendees heard that statement because multiple people mentioned it directly to me during breaks or referenced it during their own presentation.

Satisfied Customers are Fickle

At the end of the day, our host gave a book to everyone present. The two of us had not colluded on this at all but, as if by design, the book is Customer Satisfaction is Worthless – Customer Loyalty is Priceless, by Jeffrey Gitomer, whose basic premise is the same. You don’t want a satisfied customer. A satisfied customer is fickle and prone to go to a competitor next time.

You want a loyal customer because a loyal customer would rather fight than switch. A loyal customer will be your advocate, providing you with referrals, testimony, word-of-mouth marketing and repeat business.

The “Aha Moment”

The revelation for me personally is not so much that. I knew that. I strive for that. But what is eye-opening for me is that not only do I function as an extension of my clients, I want them to function as an extension of my business as well. It is a completely different perspective.

The Tools You Need

The Customer is one of 4 major goal categories identified in my simple, 1-page strategic plan template. Get the book Business is ART or subscribe to my online video training and receive a free, downloadable copy of the template.

Really think about how to create loyal customer advocates as opposed to satisfied customers. Build that in to your strategy and plans. Then do it.

Advice for Creating a Shark Tank Worthy Pitch

September 26th, 2016 Posted by Entrepreneur, Owner 0 thoughts on “Advice for Creating a Shark Tank Worthy Pitch”

Pitch your businessIf you can’t articulate the value of your business, it’s very hard for anyone else to see and understand the value of your business. They may just assume that your business holds no value. That’s one reason the savvy business owner likely has a 30-second elevator pitch on hand. This is great for chance encounters, small talk, meeting people at special events, and of course talking to someone in an elevator.

To bring on investors (or seek a business loan), however, you’ll need something a little meatier than a 30-second pitch.

The hit-show Shark Tank has its name for a reason. Investors devour weak pitches, leaving no remnants behind. While real-life, off-camera investor pitches (hopefully) look nothing like those on Shark Tank, the end-results are similar. Either you sufficiently show the investor there is value in your business or you don’t. To survive these dangerous waters, you’ll need a pretty fantastic pitch. In this post we give you a few tips on how to do that, but no matter what, keep this in mind – brevity is your friend.

Even if You Never Plan on Pitching to Investors, This Can Be a Great Exercise

Not planning on bringing in investments? It is still valuable to look at your business the way an investor would. It will push you to evaluate your true worth and growth potential. You might see weak points. You will be able to sell your services/products/etc. better.

So, how can you see if your business is Shark Tank worthy? Here are some tips:

Break it Down to the Most Basic Level

Many strong-willed entrepreneurs on Shark Tank leave both the Sharks and the viewers scratching their heads by asking for much more than they need or for being unwilling to accept what seemingly everyone else believes is a fair offer. When establishing your business, you need to start with the core concept. The basic idea. The minimum viable product. And you have to be brutally honest with yourself.

Now, once you have that, what’s the next growth point? Where could a shot of additional cash flow take you?

We all think we want explosive growth, but a natural, organic progression is generally much healthier, easier to manage, more attainable and more sustainable.

So press pause on a few of the crazier future ideas. Cut down on features/capabilities you don’t need. Simply put, remove the fat.

Ideas are Not Investable – Executed Plans Are

Want to get investors in on a business? You need an actual business. Everyone has ideas. The majority of those ideas will never become reality. That’s why investors generally only care about the concepts that have already been put into action.

That way, they can see that it works on some level. If something can’t work on a small scale, it can rarely work on a large scale.

Be an Expert About Your Business

You know who should know more about your business than you? No one. You should be the foremost expert about what your business is, what you do, where you’re going, how you react to situations, what you’re ultimately chasing after, and etc.

This means you’ll have to think through a lot of situations. You’ll need a great a business plan and key performance indicators (KPIs) to control and track progress.

It should go without saying that you should also care more about your business than anyone else.

Learn Humility

Though you may be an expert when it comes to your business, you can’t be an expert on everything. There will be people out there who know more about business in general. They may know more about your industry. They’ll be better at some things than you are.

As a business owner, you need to learn humility – especially if you’re seeking investors. If you were the best at everything and smarter than everyone else in any given room, you wouldn’t need to be pitching to investors. They’d just throw money at you.

Focus Less on the Past and More on the Future

It’s great if your business has a nice little story about how it got started, but that’s not going to get anyone to invest in your business. Anytime someone making a pitch gets too caught up in their history, you can see investors getting bored and antsy.

They generally don’t care about how you started. They want to know where you’re going. They want to see that there’s a future. That’s the only way your business holds value to anyone.

Share the Numbers

Most of the time, the Sharks want to know what kind of sales a business is generating before they even consider an offer. They want actual numbers not speculation. However, depending on your situation, you might not have much in the revenue department yet.

That doesn’t mean you’re completely down and out. After all, Facebook got hundreds of millions of dollars before they were making any revenue. Then Facebook would go on to buy Instagram for $1 billion when Instagram was making zero money.

But in both of these cases, the apps had huge, highly engaged user bases.

For your business, you need to find a metric or two that can act as your trump card.

It Starts with Starting Your Business

As we said before, most investors won’t be interested until you have a business going. How do you go about doing that? You can start by reading Business is ART, on sale now. Next, you can watch my video series “Odds Makers”, online training, based on the book, and designed to help you increase your odds by developing plans and identifying KPIs that will impress any investor.

With our guidance, you can create a healthy, investible business.

Humble Beginnings

September 21st, 2016 Posted by Business is ART, Business Plan 0 thoughts on “Humble Beginnings”

Tech companies with humble beginningsLet’s say you want to start a business, but you’re struggling to see it become successful. How can you ever reach the goals you have for your dream business?

As Steve Jobs once said, “Everything around you that you call life, was made up by people that were no smarter than you.” Often, those same people weren’t any better off financially than you either.

Earlier this week, Dan Lyons, author of the New York Times best selling book Disrupted (My Misadventure in the Start-Up Bubble), was my guest on the Business is ART podcast #45 (on the TrueChat Network). In Disrupted, Dan writes about his experience at tech start-up Hubspot. Prior to that he was the senior tech writer for Newsweek, so it seems appropriate here to talk about 4 huge tech companies with surprisingly humble beginnings.

Apple Computer

Since we already mentioned Steve Jobs, we might as well start with Apple. As most know, Apple Computer, the most valuable company in the world, began in a garage just 40 years ago. It was just two guys, one of whom could not code or engineer computers. Neither of whom had college degrees.

But with Steve Wozniak’s technical prowess and Steve Jobs’ relentless drive and perfectionist bent, they were able to turn the computer industry upside-down and pave the way for computers to be in every household.

That said, while Apple is credited for bringing computers to the home/personal market, it was another company that’s generally credited for actually putting a computer in every home.

Microsoft

Similar to Apple, Microsoft was also founded by two college dropouts. While they came from respectable families, the success of Bill Gates and Paul Allen was entirely their own. After bonding in high school over their love of computers, they began writing programs in their spare time.

They briefly went their separate ways for college, only to reunite when Allen convinced Gates they could develop software for a microcomputer he had seen in a magazine. They pitched their software to the manufacturers of the microcomputer…despite the fact that they hadn’t actually created the software yet.

The company agreed to meet with them, and so the two set out to build an idea they had implied was nearly complete for a microcomputer they didn’t actually own. And they didn’t have much time to do it.

Yet, somehow, they pulled it off, their software was purchased, and Microsoft (then spelled Micro-Soft) soon became the biggest name in computer software.

Dell Computers

Michael Dell, the son of a stockbroker and an orthodontist, was a freshman pre-med student at the University of Texas when he decided to start a part-time gig. Having always loved computers, he began assembling and selling IBM-compatible computers from his dorm room.

Seeing a larger opportunity in front of him, Michael borrowed $1000 from friends and family, dropped out of college, and launched his own branded computer: the Turbo PC. These PCs could be customized and were sold directly to customers through ads in computer magazines.

By 1986, after a year in operation, the company had $73 million in sales. Over the next two decades, they would grow to a multi-billion dollar company and outlast dozens of their competitors thanks in part to some hugely successful marketing campaigns.

Hewlett Packard (HP)

About 40 years before Apple made garage startups “cool”, William Hewlett and David Packard began a business in a glorified shed in Palo Alto with $538 (the equivalent of about $9300 today). To decide whose name would be placed first, they flipped a coin.

Of course, they weren’t building computers quite yet. Instead, they made audio oscillators. It was an area in which they found quick success, with Disney becoming their first major client a year later. HP’s equipment was used for the theatrical showings of Fantastia released in 1940, and the rest was history.

This tiny little company would grow into one of the founding forces of Silicon Valley. It makes you wonder what you could do with $10,000, a friend, and an empty garage – other than throw one heckuva tailgate party.

The Opportunities for Starting a Business Have Never Been Greater

When all of these companies began, technology was expensive, clunky, and confusing. It was niche, and there wasn’t any internet to assist.

Today, starting a business has never been easier thanks to the abundance of tools, communities, and affordable tech out there. And once you start the business, you’re able to connect with over a billion people thanks to the internet.

It doesn’t take a couple million dollars to create a multi-million (or billion) dollar company. It just takes a dream, some skill, a lot of hard work, and a plan. I can help with that last part. I’ve taken businesses from humble beginnings to huge success, so I know it’s possible.

And I know how to do it.

Check out my book Business is ART here or contact me for additional services.

4 Types of Entrepreneurs

September 19th, 2016 Posted by Business is ART, Entrepreneur 0 thoughts on “4 Types of Entrepreneurs”
Entrepreneur

Photo courtesy of gratisography.com

There are 4 types of entrepreneurs.

  1. Those who have started a company for the primary purpose of going public – getting to an IPO and getting rich “overnight”
  2. Those who have a passion for something or just don’t want to work for anyone else and start a business with little to no thought of ever going public
  3. Those who find themselves unemployed or under-employed and simply have no choice
  4. Those whose primary mission is to help solve social ills or create social opportunity and change – social entrepreneurs

Every kind of people

As a business consultant, I tend to work with the latter 3 types and not the IPO seeker. None of the above types are better or more special than the other. Diversity among entrepreneur types, as defined above, is as important as diversity among business types and actual diversity as we generally refer to it – race, religion, gender, etc.

The old Robert Palmer song says, “It Takes Every Kind of People [to make the world go ‘round]”, and the same is true in terms of entrepreneurs.

Some Differences

But there are some significant differences in how businesses for each type of entrepreneur may be managed. What makes sense for one type, may not make sense for another. It may even seem to defy logic at times.

For example, when building a business with the express intent of going public (Type 1), little things like, ohhhh, say profit, product quality and even whether a product actually exists yet may not matter. What matters is how the company is valued, which is entirely in the eyes of the investor or potential investor.

A business built out of passion (Type 2) may not be concerned with growth and the bottom line, particularly at startup. This type of entrepreneur may be more prone to investing heavily upfront and may not feel bigger is necessarily better.

A business built out of necessity (Type 3) probably needs to make money right away because the entrepreneur has no other (or limited) source of income and may not have planned ahead of time to start a business. Entrepreneurs in this scenario are under tremendous pressure to make sales almost immediately.

A business created to address social issues (Type 4) is a lot like the one built out of passion with one major exception. The bigger the business can grow, the more it can tackle its social mission.

You Can Do This

One of the common things across these diverse types of businesses and entrepreneurs is that good, meaningful and actionable business planning increases the likelihood of success. The challenge is doing it in a way that is simple, yet effective and doesn’t dominate the entrepreneur’s time.

Business is ART does just that. Check out my online training videos to find out how. To sit down with a consultant to learn what these videos teach you would easily cost $300 to $500. For just $45 you get 1 hour and 50 minutes of training divided into 25 short, easy to follow videos, as well as the simplified templates you’ll need to succeed.

It’s all based on the Business is ART book, available at Amazon.

Web Related Must-Haves for Businesses

September 11th, 2016 Posted by Business is ART, Entrepreneur 0 thoughts on “Web Related Must-Haves for Businesses”
web

Photo courtesy gratisography.com

The internet has truly changed the game for young businesses. On one hand, the bar of entry is much lower as far as getting your message in front of people goes. On the other hand, the competition is much more prevalent because of this.

There’s a lot of noise on the internet, and to stand out, you’re going to have to do things correctly.

Obviously You’ll Want a Website

That should be a given this day in age, but just in case there was any doubt, make sure you have a website. This is how people will find you, where they’ll learn what you have to offer, and who you are, and likely, it’s where they’ll contact you.

So make sure you have a good one.

That said, here are a few other things you should make sure you’re doing right on the internet.

Have a Professional Email

One of the easiest ways to spot an illegitimate or inexperienced business is their email address. The time has long past where it’s acceptable to use yourbusinessname@hotmail.com or yahoo.com or even gmail.com. Instead, your email should be at your website address.

There’s good reason for this.

For starters, a professional email just looks better. Compare Fred@microsoft.com vs microsoftfred@hotmail.com. Which of those two are you going to trust more?

You’re going to trust the first one because that second email could be from anyone. Literally anyone could have gone out and snagged that email address. And when you receive scam emails, where do they come from?

They come from generic email addresses like Live, Outlook, Yahoo, and Gmail. We’ve subconsciously trained ourselves to ignore these emails. Yours will be ignored too if you go that route.

Make Sure Your Listing Info is Accurate. Especially in Google.

There was a time when online directories (unfortunately) ruled the internet. There were hundreds of them that you’d go to and place your business in to make sure you’d be found, and people would end up on your website.

Now, there are only a handful of directories that matter, but they are very important. The major search engines keep their own directory of business information to place into their search results. It’s up to you to make sure this info is correct.

Especially in Google where 64% of searches happen. Often times, businesses will have outdated, contradictory, or incomplete information in their listing, making it difficult to impossible for consumers to find them. This is a simple thing to correct, so make sure you do.

Social Media Presence. Have One.

Social media can be a little confusing and overwhelming. Many businesses wonder if there’s a place for them on it at all.

There most definitely is.

Believe it or not, customers will look to find you on social media. A social media presence is another sign of legitimacy. Even having a professional profile image and cover photo on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn will leave people trusting you more.

Posting regularly will let them know that you’re alive and active.

And responding to customers’ posts and comments will show that you care.

Of course, You Still Need a Good Business

If your business is no good, you could do all of the internet things perfectly and still fail. Having a great business should always be your first priority. I can help with that. Check out my book Business is ART or enroll in BIA University, and set yourself up for success in the real world and the digital one.

5 Links on Problem Solving

August 31st, 2016 Posted by Behavior, Business is ART 0 thoughts on “5 Links on Problem Solving”
conflict

Photo courtesy gratisography.com

In a previous post I presented a 7-step process that works very well for problem solving and issue resolution, particularly in a facilitated group setting. In this post you will find links to 5 additional sources discussing how to problem solve.

Related: 7-Step Process for Resolving Issues

5 Links on Problem Solving

  1. It happens. Conflicts arise – at work, at home, in public, in private. How you deal with conflict is key to all sorts of things including how well you advance and how good you feel about yourself (and others). This article at Inc. discusses 3 powerful lessons from expert on conflict resolution.
  2. Do you know one? Are you one? The manager or leader that just cannot seem to remove him or herself from the weeds. This video from Nick Friedman, co-founder College Hunks Hauling Junk discusses why great managers don’t get caught up in day-to-day issues.
  3. Again, do you know one? Are you one? The manager or leader that has anger issues. If you are, at the risk of making you super mad please check out this article entitled no one likes to do business with anger issues.
  4. Problem-solving goes well beyond the notion that “I’m the boss. Everyone does as I say. Problem solved!” While this article was written specifically with start-ups in mind, the content is really universal. Check out 8-problem solving practices that see startups to success.
  5. How is your problem solving going? Working well? Not so much? If your answer is the latter, take a moment to look at 3 reasons why you are failing at problem solving.

You Can’t Run – You Can’t Hide

Whatever approach you take, the key is to face challenges head-on. Don’t run from or hide from them. Don’t be too proud to admit they exist. Acknowledge they exist and then devise a plan to overcome them.

When it comes to business strategic planning, let me help. Join me in a free webinar to discuss a simple approach that allows you to do just that. Click here to join.

Stop Using Jargon – Part 2

August 5th, 2016 Posted by Behavior, Business is ART 0 thoughts on “Stop Using Jargon – Part 2”

Slide1Jargon – Each week I identify a different theme and provide you with content, some original and some from external sources, around that theme in two separate posts.

The first post represents my thoughts, experience, advice or questions on whatever the weekly theme is. Later in the week, a second post will summarize and provide links to several articles and videos from other sources, providing additional information on the weekly theme.

This week’s theme is business jargon. In Part 1, I shared my thoughts on the use of Jargon. In this, Part 2, I provide links to the thoughts of others on the topic..

 

So get synergized and ready to bring things to the next level because we’re about to get cooking with gas!

Jargon – It’s 10% what you say and 90% how you say it

That’s probably the big reason people use jargon. It isn’t laziness. They just think it makes them sound smarter or more authoritative. I once interviewed an HR professional who threw out so much jargon in an effort to look good that when she left, the other person in the room and I looked at each other with a confused look.

He asked, “What did she say?”

I replied, “She said a lot of words and nothing at all.”

We hired someone else.

5 Links For You

  1. Like totally, for sure. This first article cracks me up a bit. 5 Pieces of Jargon We Totally Got Used To. I don’t know if it was intentional or not, but the use of the word “totally” made me laugh at the irony. Totes Mcgotes. Interesting article though.
  2. Inc. just lays it on the line in this article. Stop Using These Terrible Business Buzzwords Right Now. Interestingly, “Buzzwords” is not on the list. In fact, a lot of stuff on this list, I’ve never heard of, so it’s good to know I should stop using them before I even start. But I must say I like “The Third Wardrobe.” Check it out to see what I mean.
  3. Need a good laugh? Check out this article from Entrepreneur, offering up some jargon to add to your office vocabulary just to shake things up a bit. Funny stuff. Case in point, the very first one they provide: “Hashbag: Your hipper-than-thou, Reddit-obsessed, ironically bearded social media director. Usage: I’m sure my tweets could be better but I can’t stand getting a 20-minute lecture on it from that hashbag.”
  4. It isn’t all fun and games, is it? Time to get serious. Here is some great advice on how to transfer your company’s “About” page from jargon-filled to genuine. It begins with, “Tell a story…”
  5. Jeff Bullas at JeffBullas.com always posts good stuff. In this piece he identifies 50 business jargon fixes for bloggers and content writers. I have to admit I am guilty of several of these. But I LIKE the word “actionable”, Jeff…I LIKE it!

Case In Point

Case in point, I used the word “actionable” in a video we put up just yesterday on my Facebook timeline, the intent of which is to lead you to some free or otherwise valuable stuff to help move your business forward. Check it out here.

 

Stop Using Jargon

August 1st, 2016 Posted by Business is ART 0 thoughts on “Stop Using Jargon”

Slide1Jargon – Each week I identify a different theme and provide you with content, some original and some from external sources, around that theme in two separate posts.

The first post represents my thoughts, experience, advice or questions on whatever the weekly theme is. Later in the week, a second post will summarize and provide links to several articles and videos from other sources, providing additional information on the weekly theme.

This week’s theme is business jargon.

Jargon Used in a Sentence

2 backwoods folks sitting in the wilderness, drinking moonshine. One says to the other, “Gimme a tug o’yer shine. My jar-gone.”

Rimshot.

Business Jargon that Everyone Can Stop Using

Business jargon has a bad reputation, and for good reason.

For starters, people outside of your business or those who are new to your industry aren’t typically familiar with it. It carries no meaning to them because it’s made up by people in a specific group to be used within that specific group.

And often, it doesn’t have any meaning to anyone.

Jargon and excessive technical terms are regularly used to confuse clients and consumers, making something sound fancier than what it actually is. Essentially, you’re using a lot of words to say nothing.

That’s basically the opposite of what any writing, communication, or [good] business class would teach you. So it’s time to put a stop to the jargon.

Every industry, of course, has its own terms, abbreviations, and acronyms. Especially acronyms. They’re everywhere these days. To get you going, we’ve assembled some simple, but common terms and patterns to remove from your vocabulary.

“Next Level”

This is a classic example of using words to say nothing. Taking your business to the “next level” sounds nice, but doesn’t actually mean anything. The next level of what? Are we playing a videogame? Are you moving offices upstairs?

Instead of promising a “next level” experience, actually say what you’ll be doing or providing that will advance the status of your customers.

“Work Smarter, Not Harder”

One of those phrases people like to throw around as if they came up with it themselves, there’s a few problems with this classic quip.

First, it implies that working smart isn’t hard work. While it might make your life easier down the road, it’s often the harder option upfront. Second, it gives this connotation that “hard work” is bad. Work is work. By its very definition, work involves resistance and opposition.

Third, it might connote, “Work smarter because right now you are acting like an idiot.” Not a highly effective motivational technique.

If anything, you should aim to work harder and smarter (but remember, you and your team are not acting like idiots).

“Think Outside of the Box”

While Taco Bell was able to put creative spin on this cliché and turn it into successful slogan, the original phrase is played out. In fact, trying to put additional spins on it (like “think outside the cubicle”) is pretty played out too.

When coming up with new ideas, you don’t need a fancy term for the process. Just say you’re aiming for a unique approach.

“Solopreneur”

For those who have been fortunate enough to avoid this word, a “soloproneur” is a self-given title used by one-person startups and self-employed contractors.

The problem is, it’s not even a word, and its existence is entirely redundant. Entrepreneur is a perfectly applicable title for these people. Whether they have people working for them or not, the one term covers it all. So please, use that.

Just a fair warning, if you encounter someone labeling themselves as a ‘solopreneur’, you can expect a fair amount of additional jargon coming your way.

Any Vague Verb or Action

There isn’t a specific word for this example, but it’s jargon nevertheless. You’ve encountered people who do it. You’re probably guilty of doing it yourself. Whenever someone says “we’re pursuing additional strategies” or “we’re maximizing output” or anything like that, they’re not really saying anything.

Don’t apply generic blanket verbs to the work you’re doing. Instead, actually say the work you’re doing in ways that people actually understand.

Pretty Much All Adverbs (and a Lot of Adjectives)

If you went to college, you probably had at least one professor who hated all adverbs and adjectives. They’d say things like “You’re not ‘largely’ successful. Either you’re successful or you’re not. You don’t run quickly. You just run. If you run quickly, you’re sprinting. If you’re running slowly, you’re jogging.”

While they can have their place in the English language, adverbs and adjectives are certainly abused. Sometimes they a super abused (see what I just did there?). Use them with caution.

“Synergy”

These days, synergy is almost a running joke when it comes to jargon. If you ever find yourself using it, stop. If you hear someone else use it, run away. Do not “synergize” with them.

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