You will see and hear a great deal about how to make 2016 your best year ever, how it’s gonna be so awesome, and you’re gonna be so great! Oh, dare I forget famous : )

I’ll assume you’re sensing my sarcasm. I do like new beginnings, I do find the beginning of a new year some what fascinating, I get a small charge internally. My welcoming 2016 has very little to do with me, having said that, I will accept anything positive and good that comes my way. But the truth is, some things will not be good, and some things will not go the way I wish or want them to. The same will most likely happen for you. So learn from the negative and teach your positives, and maybe even give it away.

We do tend to apply the new year thing to our personal desires, dreams, and sometimes goals. After all, we all want more, we all want many good things to happen, so we have this overwhelming amount of hope and the turn of each year, and we should! But not for personal reasons, I believe we have huge problems to solve, not just for me, but for all of us, we need to think terms of all, just you or me. If we focus on the great good, how all can benefit, the odds are many of the dreams and desires will come to us, because we took our eyes off us and put them on those around us.

Today we think of the future in terms of technology rather than in real-time, hands on things, helping those less fortunate than ourselves, sacrificial giving, putting others before yourself. I remember my parents telling me that when they were teaching me about sharing with others. When I speak of the future, or the future of business, the core value in my heart is about how we all benefit, we all gain a greater sense of worth from whatever is being built, designed, invented, and that we all have some sense of an ROI (Return On Investment). So let me begin….

This year, this new year called 2016 will be the year of Virtual Reality, many will be consumed by it. It will be a huge draw for sure, the amusing side of it will keep you coming back for more. The unknown, and the possibilities will be the bigger deal. Like most things, for every equal good, there is an equal bad. Much of that will reveal itself before the year’s end. There will some really interesting applications for VR, Real Estate comes to mind immediately, it will be the end of QR Codes.

I also plan to continue my studies on the future of business, what does it look like, what does it mean to you the business owner, and how can you truly apply and understand the Open & Free Business Model. I have said it many times, the Open & Free Business Model is not about working for free or giving away everything, it’s a much bigger way of thinking. The idea is about the future, your future clients and customers, and yes many have told me it will never work…..many are proving me right, and I have shared many stories here on this blog of how many are participating in the model without realizing that’s what they are doing.

There is so much to share, and so much to talk about, it will never ever be put to paper or a blog fast enough, or clear enough….you have to get involved, and learn how to change the way you think about business in 5 – 10 years, more importantly, in the next 3 – 5 years. You already know there is a shift taking place, and many of you are resisting it, fighting tooth and nail to keep doing what you’ve always done, and thinking the same way year in and year out. Enough of me lecturing, I encourage you to take baby steps, learn something new about the Open & Free Business Model everyday, I’ll help you wrap your brain around it. I’m planning webinars, workshops, public speaking events, and if all goes well a book you can sit down and work through.

So welcome 2016, but do it for everyone that is a customer of yours, a client, and friend, a neighbour, do it for others, not just for you. Use your influence and hope for others, that’s what it’s truly for, you’ll be just fine if you practice. Always ask yourself the question, How many people are better off because you lived? Imaging the great things you’ll invent, the great things you will do to make the world a better place. I challenge you to welcome 2016 with that mindset, with that heart.

Welcome 2016!

 

I was thinking how fast the years seem to fly by, I turned 58 in November, and that’s why I babble alot more these days, please indulge me. It boggles the mind how fast the world is moving, including mine. Oh I’m grateful, and I’m even a little excited, and I have been really excited for many, many years. Each year we praise the year that was, and we anticipate the next year that will be, without really knowing what we plan on doing.

Most of us don’t really have a plan, most of us tend to act by emotion, and that’s where we get into trouble. I’m not suggesting a plan solves the problem of not getting into trouble, but I am suggesting you actually give some thought on what goals you would like to achieve. Maybe even make a bucket list instead of a goal list, they’re both the same to me.

I started doing something this year I NEVER thought I would do, I went and got a gym membership…I know right? Now I’m the kind of guy who loves sports, so….exercise always involved a sport, it’s a law right? Well, I never thought I would enjoy going to a gym, but I do! I go 5 to 6 times a week, go figure!

Why did I do that? In March of 2001 I had a heart attack, that’s old news. But this year, my health was bothering me, I wasn’t….I hadn’t changed anything in my routine or structure to improve my health. I just lived my life, year in and year out thinking I’ll get to it eventually. As a young man, I was an athlete, I mean I played Hockey, Baseball, Football, Soccer (did I mention I hate soccer), I just loved playing sports, and I was always in good shape….until I stopped playing sports. It’s funny how those of us who call ourselves athletes can go into denial almost immediately when it comes to how good of shape we may or may not be in. But I won’t get into that : )

So a few months ago (2), my wife and I dropped into the Club 16 Trevor Linden Gym for a tour….no reason, just a spur of the moment drive-by. We went in, got the tour, and I said sign us up, I also said, hurry up before I change my mind. I knew if I didn’t sign-up on the spot, I would never do it.

This morning I was staring out my kitchen window thinking how we start and stop things every year, some we finish and some we don’t. We begin, and we end….it’s a process of life really, there’s life, and then there’s death, there’s an end, and there’s a beginning. What we never really do is, evaluate what’s good for us when we think about our goals, we always gravitate to what feels good over what’s good for us. We handle our entire lives that way, we handle our finances the same way, so we get into the cycle of ending and beginning, never really stabilizing, never really getting our bleep together, just drifting and wandering, thinking it will all work out fine. I used to believe that, now at 58….I don’t…you have to have purpose in your life, you have to make people your business, you should put order to your beginnings and ending.

So here we are at the end of 2015, in a few weeks. A new year is coming, do you have a healthy outlook of what’s ahead, do you have some goals in mind, a bucket list if you will. How will you begin? In the sporting world there is an analogy, it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish, but you MUST start.

As Seth Godin says, go out and make a ruckus, make a mess, life is moving far too fast, before you know it, you will run out of time. And the real issue, we are ALL running out of time, I am running out of time. Consider  time before setting your goals / bucket list, and then challenge yourself, not how will you start, but how will you finish….and then ask yourself one big question, “How many people will be better off because I lived?”

 

 

 

Is loyalty important to you? Is loyalty necessary in business? Does loyalty make you feel safe? Is loyalty the definition of success in your business? What happened to loyalty?

Most business owners want customers to pick them, to only buy from them, to only talk about their business in a positive way to others, and then send those they tell, and those new customers have to do the same thing. It’s a pipe dream of course, but in a perfect world, your customers would stay yours, they would shop no where else but with you’re business. It’s also not realistic. Let’s be honest, you go where you get the best deal, not because you felt it was the right thing to do, like shopping locally instead of out of country. There’s some moral thing happening there, but people are people, they mostly think about themselves, what they want, not what the business owner wants, and eventually needs.

If we’re speaking truth, and nothing but the truth, business owners do one thing, some do it well, and most don’t, they gear everything to getting as much of your money as possible on that visit. Why? Because they know you’re not loyal, you probably won’t be back! You, the frugal shopper you are, are looking for the best deal, not a relationship. But what if you built a relationship with that business owner, and you kept coming back, what do you think would happen? The problem isn’t the relationship, it’s the time you would have to invest to bring it to a place where you felt like you were getting more than you paid for.

As I look out 5 years from now, what does loyalty look like, will it exist? There is such abundance today, a plethora of places to get what you’re looking to buy, I would be hard pressed to say loyalty will be in the equation. Having said that, something old is going to happen, we will go back to our old habits, we tend to get lazy eventually don’t we. We tend to go back to the places we bought from before, places we think we trust, and we never have to leave the house! That’s what it used to be like for bricks & mortar business, you had to go to them, there was no online choice. Today, just a click of the mouse gets the result you’re looking for, without the physical effort.

So, will there be loyalty for the future of business? Sure. But it will be because we dealt with that business online before, not because we looked long and hard for another better deal. Digital does two things, it gives you a false sense of security, and you don’t have to deal with a particular business if you don’t want to. The security only comes from a positive experience with an online business, nothing went wrong, so you place your trust there be it right or wrong, that’s what we tend to do. And as far as looking, searching for a better deal, you might…but we are lazy, and we’ll default to where we dealt with before.

That’s if we’re being truly honest with ourselves, you know, speaking truth. Loyalty in the future won’t be as earned like it used to be, and that relationship will be shallow, it will based on whether something went wrong or not. It will become about availability, on a moments notice, when you need or want a specific thing, not because you won’t buy somewhere else because you have a loyalty to a person or business.

Business owners who preach and truly believe that extreme, over the top customer service is the way to a customers loyalty button. This I know is true, I have customers, clients….no, friends, that have been with me over 7 years. They stay because they know, I’m going to be there, I’m looking after them….everything just works. So it’s possible, it takes tons and tons of work, are you ready for that kind of investment business owners? Just saying.

 

 

RIP Social Media – you’ve become mainstream media – what was unique & useful, has become another traditional advertising channel : (

I think the Term “Social Media” or “Social Marketer” will go away eventually, we’ll call them something else – mostly because social networks are so homogenized and embedded now. Teaching Social media is really no different than teaching someone how to use the telephone, eventually…everyone will just communicate thru everything (IOT) in the matrix of The Internet Of Things.

What say you?

Break Free, Break Through Old PatternsBreak Through Old Patterns – Yesterday I had the privilege of being interviewed by Baraa Safaa, Baraa attended one of my Open & Free Business Model Workshops, he was intent and very open to hearing my message. Today he is culling smart people and is designing a Podcast show for you, he is currently interviewing people who have a clear perspective on what’s really going on in the business world, more specifically, what’s happening in his back yard.

During our chat, we talked about the stumbling blocks, and what’s the first thing someone could do to break through old patterns, the way we’ve always done things. It’s simple to me of course, but I see the world differently, in fact, I had to learn how to see…all over again. Much of what you know, and much of what you see is not real, it’s perceived. So, what to do…to break through old patterns.

How To Break Old Patterns

The first step to breaking old patterns, is to admit you don’t know….it’s not a bad thing to say out loud, just say it…I Don’t Know! Suddenly, without notice, you will be able to see things differently when you admit, you really don’t know what the hell is going on. At that point, you can step back and look at your business with a different set of eyes, still your eyes, but you can see differently.

Recently I was called by an old colleague, they wanted my advice on what their 20-year-old son should do, he wants to be in the technology sector, what should he take at college, but wants to do something different from what you normally find in your communities. I’ve shared this with you before, but….I merely told him this, hop in your car, drive down the main street of your town, then drive back to where you started, go to a coffee shop with a pen & paper, and ask your self this one question: What’s Missing? What product or service is missing, then find out if there is a market for you’re idea, taken from this exercise. Talk to people, eyeball to eyeball, find out if there is a need, if yes, you may have something, if no….keep writing down what’s missing. Once you’ve narrowed it down, it becomes clearer on what educational development track you should consider.

There’s only one way to break old patterns, stop using them, open your mind to new ways of doing things, more importantly, be willing to do what customers are looking for, sometimes for free! No matter how much you give away, especially online, there will always be an opportunity to make money from practicing the art of free, giving something of value away at no charge. You want to break away from old patterns, try waking up everyday, and ask yourself what you can give away for free today, your mind will change, and you will see people differently. I’m not saying don’t get paid, I’m saying, figure out what you can give prospective customers free of charge to aid in building trust. Trust is the real issue isn’t it. Kevin Kelly once said, you only need 1,000 true fans to buy your product or service, at $100 per fan, that’s a $100,000 per year, but it’s not that easy, you will work hard for those fans.

Stop using your analog brain, and start using your visionary brain – there is a huge difference. Visionary doesn’t put limits on things, it keeps an open & free mind, for the purposes of solving problems, to make sure it’s a viable business that will be profitable. That’s where to start, to break free, to break through old patterns.