"I was so inspired by your presentation! Now I finally understand what I need to do to start my own business," Cynthia said.
This was just one of many comments I heard after delivering my presentation at the Glazer/Kennedy Info Summit a while back.
My presentation was called "Perception vs. Reality: Year One in Business." My goal was to share with the audience the reality of starting (and running) your own information publishing business while eliminating the pervasive business lies that set fledgling entrepreneurs off on the wrong track... and even put their success in jeopardy.
Let's start with the biggest falsehood of all.
Critical Business Lie #1: You can make millions instantly.
Have you ever heard of the following?
"I just made $5 million this week on my killer launch. So now I am going to hop in my Lamborghini, drive down to the pier, board my yacht, cruise down to the Island, and bury my money." ~ Infamous Internet Marketer
This is not real life or real business. This example, unfortunately, is from one Internet Marketer who took his results from the first 10 minutes of a launch and extrapolated them over 12 months. Most of these numbers are exaggerated in order to get inexperienced entrepreneurs excited... and ready to spend money.
In fact, most of these numbers are distorted... or they're straight-out untruths. This is simply irresponsible behavior.
I call this IMM or Internet Marketer Math.
Reality #1: You can NOT run your business with IMM. You must run your business with real math. Real dollars in the door minus expenses/items like:
- Affiliate payouts
- Copywriting advances and royalties
- Product hard costs
- Content development
- Employees' salaries
- Health benefits
- Travel expenses
- Consulting fees
- Office rent and utilities
Bottom line: You do not put IMM in the bank. You do not even put gross revenue in the bank. You put profits in the bank and invest them back into your business. And when planning and launching your business, this is more important than ever.
The Planning Stage of Business
Critical Business Lie #2: Planning a business begins the second you decide to start a business.
Most of the entrepreneurs I know didn't get their start in Internet marketing. I sure didn't! But if you think that the planning stage begins with simply waking up one day and saying, "Well, I guess I'll start a business today!"... you're dead wrong.
Reality #2: The planning stage of business begins long before you ever dream of starting your own business. Years before "entrepreneurship" is even a part of your vocabulary. And this stage lasts every single day of your professional career.
Because the planning stage of business is also known as the...
"Relationship and reputation building, competitive intelligence gathering, industry knowledge gaining, technology learning, and humble-lization phase."
Every relationship you make... Every client you meet... Every project you undertake... All of it affects your business even before your business exists.
This means that everything you do counts. And I mean everything!
- Every email
- Every phone conversation
- Every missed deadline
- Every deadline made
- Every rude remark
- Every insightful comment
- Every time you dismiss someone as not as important as you
- Every act of respect
- Everything you do!
I have written about how relationships are your most important asset in business and how relationship building is the most important skill you can master in business (and in every other area of your life).
Yet many people fail to see how a small action now can affect a partnership or investment in the future. It repeatedly surprises me that so many entrepreneurs are so unconcerned about burning bridges. This is particularly upsetting because not only is relationship building the foundation of your business, it really is one of the easiest (not to mention most fun) parts of your business.
At the end of the day, business is so much easier when you have people who want to help you -- people who have excellent contacts and dependable resources. And you want these people to be glad to offer to help.
This was a tremendous asset to me when starting Working Moms Only. I had built my Braggable Network long before I ever dreamed of starting Working Moms Only. And I built it by becoming a braggable asset to my network.
What Is a Braggable Network?
Critical Business Lie #3: All it takes to have a Braggable Network is meeting or speaking with the industry Big Guns. Period.
Reality #3: A Braggable Network does not develop because you meet someone at a conference, take a photo with that person, and post that photo on Facebook. It does not develop because you attend a teleseminar and ask an expert a question on the phone. Nor does it develop when you send an expert an email praising her work.
When people claim that an expert they met once or spoke to in passing is part of their network... it drives me crazy! This practice is no different than name-dropping: using someone's accomplishments for your own gain without EVER delivering value to that person. Because at that point all you have done is gained an introduction to that person. You have not delivered value at any level.
A Braggable Network is a group of people for whom you have CONSISTENTLY supplied extraordinary results. These are the people who talk about you when they talk about greatness. The people you'd gladly speak to anytime, night or day.
Your goal every single day is to add to your Braggable Network. The easiest place to start is simply by operating from a place of respect. Then strive to deliver extraordinary results.
Sometimes people are scared off when I speak of extraordinary results. But here's the deal...
Ninety-five percent of people are ordinary. If you're trying to be ordinary, you've got a lot of competition. But when you strive for extraordinary, you actually have less competition. This gives you the opportunity to not only achieve better results, but to stand out and become recognized for your contribution.
You should take action immediately to form a Braggable Network. Keep a journal of who you have/would like to have in your Braggable Network and what you did/can do to gain that person's trust and admiration. You will find over time that your actions will bring you extraordinary results.
Take a look at the Critical Business Lies we've uncovered today. You'll notice that all of them have something in common: The lies make success as an Internet entrepreneur seem effortless.
The reality is that you must expend effort to succeed.
And why wouldn't you want to? This is, after all, your dream. Your name. Your reputation. If those things aren't worth working for... what is?