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Onward Nation with Stephen Woessner | Interviews with today’s top business owners | Careers

America's best podcast for learning how today's top business owners Think, Act, & Achieve. Onward Nation is a five-day-a-week podcast hosted by Stephen Woessner, CEO of Predictive ROI. Business owners share the most influential lessons learned throughout their careers, including insights into their daily habits, their most vital priorities that have contributed to their business and personal success, and the most challenging time or situation that could have devastated or even ruined their businesses or careers. Business owners share their "recipes for success" including those systems they wish they had put into practice inside their business when first starting out. Each episode concludes with guests sharing two or three practical and tactical strategies they would recommend to brand new business owners in order to best ensure success in their new business and careers. Onward Nation provides business owners with the strategies and tactical step-by-step "recipe" that will help anyone make their business more systematic, predictable, measurable, and repeatable.
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Now displaying: 2015
Dec 29, 2015

David Long is a Speaker, Author, Successful CEO and Student of the Game of Business. Founder/CEO of MyEmployees, a 26 year-old firm in the Top 1% Worldwide in the Employee Engagement and Recognition industry.

What do you do in the first 60 minutes of your day?

David wakes up between 5:45 and 6 AM -- with no alarm. He also reads -- both The Bible and other books -- you have to constantly seek out learning. ONWARD!

Favorite quote or lesson?

"Is the highest and best use of my time right now?"

How do you define success?

Success is finding the will of God for your life -- and doing it. David learned powerful lessons on success from his father.

What strategy do you use to combat fear?

David believes you can't wait for all the answers before you start -- and David tells the reasons why here.

What makes as "A player" an "A player"?

An "A player" has to be all in.  

Final Round – “Breaking Down the Recipe for Success”

How can we become better mentors?

  1. Be the mentor you'd want to mentor you
  2. Groom the people in your business that you want to take over from you
  3. Hold your mentees responsible -- the relationship goes two ways

How can we build an audience?

  1. Do more than you're paid for -- make people remember you
  2. Be remarkable -- you can't afford to be normal boring

How can business owners reach that elusive next level?

  1. What got you here won't get you to the next level -- you need to adapt
  2. Hire people that want to achieve so much that they'll die if they don't

How best to connect with David:

  • Email: davidlong@top10manager.com
  • Company website: myemployees.com/
  • If you buy David's Book "Built to Lead" on Amazon, email David and he will send you a free copy of the Kindle version as well as a workbook that he created so you can maximze what he teaches in the book

  You can also find us here: ----- OnwardNation.com -----

Dec 28, 2015

Becky McKinnell is an entrepreneur who loves design and believes that building a company should be fun. She started her first company, iBec Creative in 2006 the day after graduating from the University of Southern Maine. She taught herself web development, design, and digital marketing and was able to grow to over $1 million in revenue in 6 years by bootstrapping. She currently has 14 amazing, kind, and talented full time employees, and 200 happy clients around the country who are growing their businesses. Becky has been featured Business Week's Top 25 Entrepreneurs 25 and Under, awarded the Small Business Administration's Young Entrepreneur of the Year, and a recipient of the Stevie Women in Business Award.

Secret – timesaving technique

Becky brings her paper and pencil to-do list to bed -- plan tomorrow today -- and know what you're going to do right when you wake up. ONWARD!

Daily habit that contributes to success

Be timely in your communication -- Becky returns emails immediately -- even if she doesn't have an immediate answer.

Could have ruined your business – but now – an invaluable learning experience

Becky had two employees leave her business right after the birth of her daughter -- and Becky tells the whole story here.

Most critical skill you think business owners need to master to be successful

"Be able to write your own vision -- and -- plan the vision for your own company."

Most influential lesson learned from a mentor

"Once you start measuring things you automatically improve."  

Final Round – “Breaking Down the Recipe for Success”

What systems would you go back and put into place sooner?

I wish I had spent more time on training -- you can't assume that an employee knows something.

What one strategy or “recipe” would compound into big wins for business owners?

Start off your day with your team -- have a morning meeting that everyone attends and shares what they're doing today.

How to exceed expectations and add the most value?

An individual would have high emotional intelligence.

What strategy would you recommend new business owners focus on to best ensure success?

  1. Do the things that unsuccessful people are unwilling to do
  2. Just start something -- and fail often -- and improve
  3. Work on getting things to DONE -- complete one thing then move to the next thing

How best to connect with Becky:

  You can also find us here: ----- OnwardNation.com -----

Dec 23, 2015

Stephen is the CEO of Predictive ROI and host of the Onward Nation podcast. He is the author of two bestselling books, speaker, trainer, and his digital marketing insights have been featured in SUCCESS, Entrepreneur, The Washington Post, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, and other media.

Good Morning Onward Nation...I’m Stephen Woessner.

Before we jump into the topic of today’s solocast -- I wanted to take a moment to wish you, your family, and your friends a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

My hope for you is that you will be able to take some time away from your business to celebrate all of the wonderful blessings in your life -- and to take this opportunity to plan for 2016 and to gain even more clarity on your most vital priorities for the coming year.

How will you make 2016 your best year ever?

I can tell you for certain -- that becoming your best and achieving more -- will not be the result of you working harder -- or even as a result of you working smarter as we often hear.

Nope.

You need to add more scale and leverage into your business -- to make your business more systematic, more predictable, repeatable, and measurable.

All of which are key ingredients we talk about with today’s top business owners here at Onward Nation.

With that -- again -- I wish you, and all those in your life, a very Merry Christmas and Happy 2016.

Our Onward Nation and Predictive ROI families are taking a break as well. We will not be airing new episodes tomorrow or Friday so our team can spend time away from the business on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

We will follow the same schedule next week by not airing new episodes on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day.

Have a wonderful holiday week -- and take some time to practice Habit #7 -- or “Sharpen the Saw” from the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Everything you need to make 2016 your best yet -- the year of your dreams -- is already in your midst.

So let’s keep this momentum of 2016 going by focusing on a key ingredient that can propel your business onward to that next level.

Hiring “A Players” -- but -- I don’t mean adding several high salaried or highly commissioned positions to your team. Instead, I am referring to the opportunity of hiring “A Players” who also happen to be unpaid interns.

Yes, I did say unpaid interns.

On the Predictive ROI side of our business, we have built an outstanding internship program and have provided over 20 unpaid internships over the last several years to students in their senior year of study at Purdue, Duke, Ohio State, University of South Florida, University of Northern Iowa, and several other universities throughout the country. I decided to focus today’s solocast on how to recruit rock star interns because last week, I was on-site with a client leading a 2-day intensive on SMART Search Engine Optimization and Lead Gen.

And like in many companies, the marketing manager was responsible for everything -- new content development, generating qualified leads, optimizing content, email campaigns, print collaterals materials, trade show analysis, trade show displays, PPC campaigns, coordinating all of the in-house experts for any technical writing, the blog, video production, and the dizzying list goes on and on. My word.

Toward the end of our first day -- I asked him if he had access to any interns who could provide some additional production capacity and support so he could focus more of his time toward his most vital priorities.

He quickly said no -- but then went on to share some insights about their corporate culture, its view of interns, and actually needing permission to hire a full-time employee even if he only wanted to hire an intern -- because they wouldn’t hire an intern unless there was a pathway to employment.

And since budget was tight -- no funds were available for recruiting and then paying interns.

So I asked… “What about unpaid interns?”

And I received the reaction that I am very used to seeing or hearing when I mention unpaid internships.

The typical objections are that you will only be able to recruit the unmotivated...the people who are just looking to check the box off the list...they are there to do the bare minimum...and nothing more.

And I suspect that has been the experience for most companies.

But not at Predictive ROI...our sister company to Onward Nation.

In fact...our recipe for recruiting rock star interns is so good...I am going to share all of the ingredients during this episode. I am going to give you the exact recipe so you can take it and apply it into your business right away.

But before I do...I want to take this opportunity to pull back the green curtain and take you behind the scenes at Onward Nation for a minute so you can meet some of the rock star members of our Predictive ROI team who pull all the levers regarding the day-to-day production behind Onward Nation as well as the other podcasts we produce for clients.

I should also point out that not everyone on our Predictive ROI team is part of the Onward Nation team. For example, Alex Krupski, Whitney Puent, and Hagan Whiteleather are interns and assigned to other teams. I will be sure to introduce you to them during a future solocast where we focus on search engine optimization and content development. Because all three of them are absolutely rock stars -- and their expertise is deep!

So for Onward Nation...let me introduce you first to Katherine Bartlett -- yay, Katherine! Katherine is our full-time multi-media producer and the wizard behind all of our episodes -- how they sound -- and how they look out on social media. Anything audio and visual related is all orchestrated by Katherine.

Katherine began her career at Predictive ROI as an unpaid intern. She was one of those people who raised her hand and said -- “Um, I know that I am only required to do 10 hours per week for this internship. But, could I do more?” And our response was...oh my...yes, please.

When her internship was complete...we transitioned Katherine to what we call “Super Intern” during her final semester at the University of Northern Iowa. She received a very small stipend of compensation while she focused on her remaining education. And when she graduated, she became a full time salaried employee. Katherine is a rock star.

And then there is Louie Schuth...who is in-charge of all our show notes, email campaigns, blog posts, our Twitter strategy, and LNKD articles.

Louie is an amazing writer and a graduate of University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. Louie finished his unpaid internship today and will begin his super internship on Monday, January 4th.

We are thrilled to have Louie as a member of our team…because he and Katherine are cut from the exact same cloth of -- “Yes, please -- I can do more.”

We started Louie off with a variety of writing projects and he quickly excelled. And then he asked if he could allocate a portion of his time to WordPress and managing some of our websites.

Uh, yes please!

And he excelled there, too.

And Louie is the one who stays up late with me Tuesday nights before my solocasts air to make sure the show notes and audio file are set correctly.

We are excited for Louie to complete his super internship and then become a full time member of our Onward Nation and Predictive ROI teams.

Then there is the trailblazer...Christian McCauley. Christian was a critical part in the launch of Onward Nation. It was Christian who created the framework of our Show Notes -- and our daily ONE email system was his invention.

Christian also took over the editing of our daily episodes from me so I could focus on other vital priorities.

He built a system -- a process -- a recipe -- that later, Louie picked up and ran with.

Christian provided scale to Onward Nation and we provided him with an opportunity to sharpen and refine his marketing education that he received from Walsh University in North Canton, Ohio.

Following his internship with us, Christian went on to work full-time at Waggoner’s Chocolates and is building a career in the confection industry and using what he learned at Predictive ROI every day.

We are thrilled to watch his success. You’re a rock star, Christian -- thank you!

And last but not least...I’d like to introduce you to Erik Jensen, our vice president of client services for Predictive ROI and he also oversees our entire production team for Predictive and Onward Nation.

I first met Erik while I was a part of the academic staff at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. I served at the Small Business Development Center on campus. One day, the chair of our marketing department suggested to Erik that he come see me regarding a business plan that Erik and his business partner were developing for a competition at Duke University. We met and I was blown away by his professionalism and grasp of so much detail. Later that night -- I said to my wife, wow...this guy is amazing -- I hope some day there is an opportunity to work together on something.

Years later...Erik became our first intern at Predictive ROI...he then became full time employee #3 as an associate...we then promoted him to engagement manager...then the leadership team...then vice president of client services...and within the next several months...Erik will become an equity partner in Predictive ROI. Erik is a rock star in the truest sense of the word.

Erik helped set the standard by which we evaluate and measure all interns.

He invested a full-time schedule toward his internship even though it wasn’t required. And that is the type of heart you are looking for, Onward Nation, in your interns.

You need to treat your unpaid interns exactly as full-time members of your team and you will get a higher level of production and proactivity.

So with that...I am going to share the complete recipe for how we recruit rock star candidates to our unpaid internship program.

Please note:

We only take students in their senior year of school. We have had positive experiences with juniors (but that is often not the case) and we have had positive experiences with interns post graduation (but that is often not the case as well).

So we decided to focus on seniors and have found them to be the most motivated, eager to learn, and hungry to gain experience because graduation is looming and so is their job search.

Ingredient #1: Define your culture with your leadership team, employees, and post a page on your website for candidates to study.

On our culture page for Predictive ROI, we define with the following phrases (and more):

"We promise to provide our clients with the very best, most outstanding consulting and training services available.

"We are so committed to being outstanding that we deliver a minimum of 200 percent financial return on investment to clients. We take it further by guaranteeing each client’s ROI.

"And refund our fee if we do not deliver what we promise.

"We demand a standard of excellence of ourselves and are committed to delivering that standard to clients 100 percent of the time. No excuses or exceptions.

"We are a team. We work hard. We rise together – because as our clients succeed – we succeed."

You can find our full culture description here: http://predictiveroi.com/culture/

Ingredient #2: write a position description that is in-line with your culture and post on your website.

We clearly define who and what we're looking for in our position descriptions. Here's how we begin our description of what we do -- and -- who exactly we are looking for:

"Predictive ROI is a growing digital marketing consulting agency that works with an array of visionary businesses in many industries. We work with our clients to help them achieve explosive growth by reaching their digital goals. This includes increasing their ROI and enhancing their brand across many platforms/mediums. We are looking for candidates who embody our standard of excellence, our culture of teamwork, and who are enthusiastic about learning while delivering their best work. We offer the flexibility of working remotely, a robust on-boarding program, training through our Predictive ROI Institute, a team of like-minded high achievers and opportunities for advancement.

"If you are a member of the Predictive team, or a client, you are family. We work together to achieve our goals, we care and we go all in to get it done."

You can find full position descriptions here: http://predictiveroi.com/digital-marketing-careers/

Ingredient #3: post testimonials / social proof on your website because “A Players” want to work with other “A Players” -- or -- where other “A Players” have worked.

“The team at Predictive ROI is incredible. They are so talented and passionate about this industry, and that really makes such a difference. I feel like I have learned much more through this internship than I ever expected. With every step of the way, I felt involved in the process and that my thoughts and ideas mattered. Through the help of some pretty great mentors, I was able to not only learn more about this industry, but was able to apply what I was learning first-hand.” — Whitney Puent

“There's one word that comes to mind when looking to describe the Predictive ROI internship: special. Predictive ROI gives you the opportunity to do great work that has an impact. But, more importantly, at Predictive ROI you work with the greatest team you could ever ask for, a team that will have your back and guide you so that you're better prepared for the working world, and better prepared for life. If you're willing to put in the hard work, don't think twice about applying for an internship with Predictive ROI. You won't regret it.” — Louie Schuth

“Applying for an internship with Predictive ROI was the best decision I've made in a long time. Going into my final semester of college, I knew I wanted an internship that would allow me to hone and develop my professional skills by making impactful contributions within an organization. An internship with Predictive ROI gives you exactly that. At Predictive ROI, you are given the opportunity to work with an unbelievable team that will teach you the the tools and skills needed to be successful in your career.” — Alex Krupski

Ingredient #4: weed out B and C players by sending a pre-qualifying email with challenging thought provoking questions to each candidate.

We send the following email immediately after receiving someone's application / resume:

[Candidate's First Name]...thank you for your interest in our internship!

As the first step in our process...please review the following questions and email us back your thoughts for each.

Your answers to each question will give our team an opportunity to: 1) understand how we can create the right internship experience for you and ensure you learn everything you want to learn, 2) evaluate your written communication skills, and 3) assess your depth of interest in joining our team.

  1. Please introduce yourself (beyond what we can learn by reading your resume) and why our internship is of interest to you.
  2. Please describe the top three things you would like to learn during this internship. And we encourage you to be as specific as possible.
  3. Tell us about your digital marketing experience up to this point (and if it is zero...that is okay).
  4. Things we cannot teach are work ethic, commitment to teammates, integrity, and excellence. Please share an example of when you consistently demonstrated excellence in your work.
  5. Please share an example of when you demonstrated integrity.
  6. What are the attributes or qualities you look for in teammates?
  7. How can we help support your growth and development during this internship?

This is my direct email address -- please feel free to reply here.

We look forward to talking with you.

Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

Sincerely Yours,

Stephen Woessner Host of The Onward Nation Podcast CEO of Predictive ROI

Ingredient #5: conduct initial call to assess cultural fit and subject matter expertise deep dive

If the answers provided back are at our standard of excellence -- I will schedule a subject matter expertise-focused phone call in order to assess:

  1. cultural fit
  2. depth of current knowledge.

Their current knowledge is not a deal breaker because we train and teach all we do -- but it is good to have a baseline. I also make a decision -- along with the candidate -- on whether or not there is a good enough of a fit to move on to Step 3.

Ingredient #6: conduct team interview with the candidate.

Team interview with the candidate, Katherine (former intern, now our multi-media producer), Erik (former intern, now our vp of client services and co-owner), and me. Our focus during this interview is to answer any questions from the candidate about Predictive, the internship, and where the company is headed. And we ask a lot of questions about teamwork, proactivity, independent working / thinking, etc.

Ingredient #7: make a go or no go decision -- then send “Congratulations” email

Good Morning [Candidate's First Name]...thank you again for your time yesterday afternoon!

I am excited to give you a very warm welcome to the Predictive ROI team.

Katherine, Erik, and I thoroughly enjoyed our time with you yesterday and look forward to having your contribution to the work we are all doing.

I am preparing a formal acceptance letter that will detail initial responsibilities, internship duration, etc. I will email it to you on Friday for your review and approval.

But at this point...would Monday be a good start date for you?

And would you be able to attend our 8:45 am kick-start meeting via Zoom?

Onward with gusto!

Ingredient #8: kick-off the semester long internship.

After they've accepted the internship, we bring them into our daily kickstart meetings at 8:45 am where we all answer four questions:

  1. My three most vital priorities for the day are…
  2. What I didn’t get done yesterday but should have (not a judgement question -- but an ask for teamwork)
  3. This is where I need some help…
  4. I do / don’t have available time today

Take vital projects off your plate and give them to your interns -- not filing projects -- put them on the front lines with meaningful work. They will love you for it if you do.

You will recruit "A Players" -- rock star unpaid interns -- just like Predictive ROI and Onward Nation has if you apply these 8 ingredients.

So with that said...

I want to say again, thank you for taking the time to be here with me today. It is an honor to have you here -- thank you for tuning in -- your time is sacred and I am delighted you chose this episode to be what you listen to, study, and take with you on your morning run, or maybe Onward Nation has become part of your daily commute, or in some other way has become part of your morning routine.

However our daily podcast fits into your daily routine -- I want you to know how much I appreciate you sharing some of your invaluable 86,400 seconds you have in your day with me and the strategies we learn and share each day from today’s top business owners.

And please continue to let me know what you think of Onward Nation...good or bad...I always want your feedback. My direct email address is stephen@onwardnation.com -- and yes -- that is my actual Inbox. No fancy filters or filing system and I read and reply to every single email.

So please let me know how you think we are doing. I look forward to hearing from you.

Merry Christmas and we will be back on Monday with an incredible interview with Becky McKinnell -- she is off the charts amazing. Don’t miss it.

Until then, onward with gusto!

You can also find us here: ----- OnwardNation.com -----

Dec 22, 2015

Scott McKain’s keynote presentations benefit from three decades of experience, combined with his innate talent for articulating successful ideas. McKain has spoken before and consulted for the world’s best companies.

What do you do in the first 60 minutes of your day?

Scott begins his day with stretching -- your body and mind both need warm ups in the morning. ONWARD!

Favorite quote or lesson?

"That which is easy to do is also easy not do -- which is why most people won't do it." - Jim Rohn

How do you define success?

It's the progressive realization of a worthy goal -- Scott learned this lesson from the late Earl Nightingale.

What strategy do you use to combat fear?

Scott looks at every decision as a trade -- and Scott tells the reasons why here.

What makes as "A player" an "A player"?

An "A player" has to be willing to do the work, is open to change, and has a sense of purpose.  

Final Round – “Breaking Down the Recipe for Success” 

How can we become better mentors?

  1. Walk the talk -- people know whether or not you can do it

How can we build an audience?

  1. Clarity is the beginning -- where is your flag in the ground?
  2. Be creative -- you need to find a way to make people interested

How can business owners reach that elusive next level?

  1. Define what makes you truly unique -- why would the customer choose you?
  2. Define what it feels like to do business with you -- what is so compelling about your experience that you'll get referrals?

How best to connect with Scott:

  You can also find us here: ----- OnwardNation.com -----

Dec 21, 2015

Nancy Marshall is known as The PR Maven(R), after having worked in public relations for 30 years. She recently published her first book called PR Works!

What do you do in the first 60 minutes of your day?

Nancy begins each day with a swim -- exercise, meditation, and time to think about the day ahead are building blocks of a successful day. ONWARD!

Favorite quote or lesson?

"Whatever you want to do, if you want to be great at it, you have to love it and be able to make sacrifices for it." - Maya Angelou

How do you define success?

It's all about the relationships -- Nancy gets such a feeling of accomplishment from being able to keep up with the people in her life.

What strategy do you use to combat fear?

Nancy sought out a hypnotherapist to overcome her fear of public speaking -- and Nancy tells the whole story here.

What makes as "A player" an "A player"?

An "A player" has to have a deep rooted desire to be a continuous learner, a leader, and a follower.  

Final Round – “Breaking Down the Recipe for Success”

How can we become better mentors?

  1. Spend time with your employees -- both in and out of the office -- this is how they'll learn
  2. Take an employee with you as much as possible -- you need them to be your ears

How can we build an audience?

  1. I put out two monthly e-newsletters
  2. I'm really active on social media -- it's important to maintain relationship
  3. Write a book -- it'll open up doors for you

How can business owners reach that elusive next level?

  1. Let people talk about themselves -- listen to them -- they'll think you're super smart

How best to connect with Nancy:

  You can also find us here: ----- OnwardNation.com -----

Dec 18, 2015

Marc Mawhinney has a passion for entrepreneurship, having started a number of businesses in his life and growing one to 100 employees. Marc is now on a mission to help coaches build stronger businesses! After becoming a coach, he saw the struggles that coaches face while trying to build a successful business, and decided to do something about it! He launched “Natural Born Coaches”, a daily podcast where he interviews successful coaches to share their advice with listeners, and he has created a number of innovative programs to help coaches get more clients and less stress, including his 6-week “Seize Your Niche” program!  

Secret – timesaving technique

Marc time batches -- schedule certain tasks at certain times so you're at your best and most efficient. ONWARD!

Daily habit that contributes to success

Journal and read on a daily basis -- Marc ends every day by reading and journaling in a moleskine notebook.

Could have ruined your business – but now – an invaluable learning experience

Marc's real estate business had to shut down in 2009 -- and Marc tells the whole story here.

Most critical skill you think business owners need to master to be successful

"You have to have persistence and grit."

Most influential lesson learned from a mentor

"Keep moving forward."  

Final Round – “Breaking Down the Recipe for Success”

What systems would you go back and put into place sooner?

I wish I had sat down each week and planned out how my ideal would look like.

What one strategy or “recipe” would compound into big wins for business owners?

Delegate -- get everything off your plate that you can.

How to exceed expectations and add the most value?

An individual would know and understand our mission.

What strategy would you recommend new business owners focus on to best ensure success?

  1. Be prepared -- but just jump in and do it
  2. Stick with it -- lightning doesn't strike in a bottle

How best to connect with Marc:

Marc Mawhinney:

Natural Born Coaches:

  You can also find us here: ----- OnwardNation.com -----

Dec 17, 2015

Monica Wofford has been seen on CNN and Fox News. They have quoted her in Forbes, Bloomberg, and Investor’s Business Daily. She has spoken in all 50 states, 27 different countries, and began her speaking career 25-years ago. Monica is a former corporate training executive, author of six books on leadership topics, and CEO of the training firm, Contagious Companies. Monica has trained and coached thousands of managers on how to become better leaders, even if they are faced with difficult barriers, employees, bosses, or people. In fact, she wrote the book “Make Difficult People DISAPPEAR.”

Secret – timesaving technique

Monica keeps a list with four quadrants -- continuously get the information out of your head. ONWARD!

Daily habit that contributes to success

Connect regularly with people you want to do business with -- Monica makes phone calls to five people at least three times a week.

Could have ruined your business – but now – an invaluable learning experience

Monica got stabbed in the back by an employee -- and Monica tells the whole story here.

Most critical skill you think business owners need to master to be successful

"The ability to lead yourself as well -- if not better -- than you lead other people."

Most influential lesson learned from a mentor

"Keep trying -- even in the face of the failure -- success sometimes requires failure."  

Final Round – “Breaking Down the Recipe for Success”

What systems would you go back and put into place sooner?

I wish I had set up a system for calling five people, three days a week sooner -- the human touch is so important.

What one strategy or “recipe” would compound into big wins for business owners?

Clearly and quickly understand the people that surround you in your workplace.

How to exceed expectations and add the most value?

An individual would show self-leadership, self-acceptance, and understanding of others.

What strategy would you recommend new business owners focus on to best ensure success?

  1. Make three different lists -- What don't you want? -- What do you want? -- What would occur when what we want happens?
  2. Keep trying -- even if you hit a brick wall
  3. Take note of how far you've come

How best to connect with Monica:

  You can also find us here: ----- OnwardNation.com -----

Dec 16, 2015

Stephen is the CEO of Predictive ROI and host of the Onward Nation podcast. He is the author of two bestselling books, speaker, trainer, and his digital marketing insights have been featured in SUCCESS, Entrepreneur, The Washington Post, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, and other media.   Good Morning Onward Nation...I’m Stephen Woessner.

Since the advent of the commercial Internet, I have collected tens of thousands of data points that have given me the ability to identify what I call the 8 Money Draining Mistakes. These are the things -- the simple mistakes -- that can cause of business to leak serious money every single day. Cash being sucked right out of the company. I devoted last week’s solocast...episode 127...to taking you on a deep dive into the 8 Money Draining Mistakes.

But say you studied last week’s solocast -- and have taken corrective action and you have plugged all of the holes in the bottom of the boat. All of the leaks -- the money draining mistakes have been solved. Awesome!

The next step is to master and apply what I call the 8 Money Making Opportunities. These 8 opportunities are like a big outboard motor that you put onto the backend of the boat you just fixed -- and then you can zoom across the lake. These 8 opportunities are where ROI in your online marketing gets turbocharged.

So in today’s solocast, I am going to take you on a deep dive into the 8 Money Making Opportunities. But why take you on that journey?

On the Predictive ROI side of our business, I see it all the time: many business leaders feel overwhelmed by digital marketing or the strategies being applied by the people within their company. Business owners have told me that they often worry they’re not keeping up with the latest advances but fear looking foolish if they ask for help. After 20-years of academic research and private sector experience at Predictive ROI, we’ve developed proven and reliable ways to increase website traffic, leads, and sales. I am going to share the best of what we have with you right now.

And if you go to predictiveroi.com/3download you can get access to a private VIP video training series that I created -- it walks alongside of this solocast and provides and even deeper step-by-step process to follow. Each video is 100 percent free training -- I am standing at the whiteboard -- sketching out the recipes so you can put that into practice in your business straightaway.

So let’s dig into 8 Money Making Opportunities.

Money Making Opportunity #1: HARMONIZE OFFER WITH NEED.

The first money maker is adapted from what SUCCESS Magazine publisher Darren Hardy calls “the white knight strategy”.

Essentially, you take your X-Y-Z statement (for more on the X-Y-Z exercise, see Money Draining Mistake #2 in last week’s solocast) and then blend it with what you know about your client avatar (again, see Money Draining Mistake #5 for more on the client avatar strategy), and create a statement that shows prospects you have the solution to all their pain points.

That makes an empathetic connection with your clients and prospects.

Serve up your offer in a way that will inspire an emotional response from your client. For example, many of our clients have been burned by so-called experts, so we include a money back guarantee in our statement.

This gives people a sense of relief at the low risk involved in their decision to engage our team.

Use your new white knight statement in presentations, articles, proposals, books, training videos, or wherever you make an introduction to your company’s value.

Money Making Opportunity #2: BUILD YOUR LIST.

The most valuable asset of any business is the client list.

To build your list you’ve got to develop a screaming cool offer, such as a free pdf, video series, or exclusive audio insights podcast. The value you create must be massive.

Don’t hold back.

Share your expertise and keep it focused in the area of your XYZ statement. Then, feature this offer throughout your site for maximum distribution. One of the best tools for maximizing distribution is WP Popup Magic. It's very simple to use.

If your value exchange is truly valuable enough, 6 to 13 percent of the visitors to your site will give you their email address just to access what you’re offering.

Money Making Opportunity #3: NURTURE RELATIONSHIPS AND INCREASE SALES.

Once you have someone’s email, you can guide them into what John Jantsch, in his book "Duct Tape Marketing," calls “the know, like, and trust funnel.”

Email marketing is the most effective way to build trust relationships with prospects. By giving, giving, giving to your list through content distribution, you create well-prepared prospects.

Then when you offer something really awesome, like a discounted training program for a very limited time, you get immediate and intense conversions for huge revenue.

Make your list members feel like they’re in on an exclusive conversation, like they’re sitting around a campfire among only a select few.

When you send these Campfire Effect Emails™, you’ll be amazed at the response. Be sure to base your content on your client avatar’s pain points and your white knight statement.

campfire effect

Money Making Opportunity #4: NO-FRICTION LEAD GENERATION.

The form that visitors use to enter their email addresses needs to be in an environment that encourages trust.

What is your form next to on your homepage? Ads? Your blog roll?

Put that lead generating form next to a value exchange, such as an offer for a free download or video. You can even put your credentials adjacent to the form to help instill a sense of security in your qualifications as prospects hand over their contact information.

Dr. Flint McGlaughlin, my guest for episode 41 of Onward Nation, taught me a very valuable lesson about friction and lead generation. Flint is the director of MECLABS and Marketing Experiments -- the leading researchers in online marketing for the past 15 years. During our interview...he explained that in your optin forms -- every field you include beyond just email -- will reduce your conversion rate by 50 percent. Every field, Onward Nation.

Money Making Opportunity #5: CREATE ANTICIPATION.

You need to continuously seed and open loops to your sales message within your email funnel, blog posts, webinars, and presentations.

Within value based emails, be sure you’re not trying to sell anything. Just offer a tip—for example, one of 47 tips you have for increasing the value of your home. Deliver awesomeness one small piece at a time while mentioning that there are 47 tips total.

That opens a loop in their minds, and they’ll be more inclined to read your email next time to learn the next tip. You can also tease your upcoming events, planting a seed that you’ll expand on in a later email dedicated to promoting the event.

Money Making Opportunity #6: SOCIAL MEDIA DONE RIGHT.

When visitors come to your website from Facebook, Twitter, or other social network, your conversion rate increases dramatically.

In fact, social media visitors are 780 percent more likely to buy from you because they’re already social followers. This remarkable finding was part of my thesis at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. I later took the data set, methodology, and result outcomes and had them published in the Journal of E-business...a peer reviewed academic journal. And then I included it in my second book, "Increase Online Sales through Viral Social Networking."

But why 780%? Because your connections -- your social media followers -- are further along in the know, like, and trust funnel than someone who finds you through a Google search.

We’ve found that if you post twice a day, morning and afternoon, you’ll get and retain the most followers.

Use our six to one ratio for posts: six professional or life posts for every one product or sales post. So create six posts related to events you’ve attended, awards you’ve received, blogs you’ve written, or vacations you’ve taken with your family. Let people get to know you.

Then write one post that invites followers to buy now, download an offer, or attend a webinar. Our studies show that this strategy will increase site traffic by 23 percent.

Money Making Opportunity #7: MULTIPLY CONVERSION RATE BY 200 TO 800%.

We strongly encourage our clients to use Adroll.com, the leaders in ad retargeting, or re-marketing as it’s oftentimes called. Retargeting your site visitors means that after someone has visited your site but not converted, they’ll see your ads as they click around to other sites.

These retargeted ads increase your conversion rates by 600 to 800 percent because they build on the familiarity prospects already have with your website.

But here is the most often made mistake when marketers create a retargeting campaign. Don’t use retargeting to sell. Instead, use retargeting to give! Promote the screaming cool value exchange that leads to an optin. You will experience a much higher conversion rate and your list will grow so you can develop a relationship over time.

Money Making Opportunity #8: AND FINALLY…CONDUCT A/B TESTING TO FURTHER INCREASE CONVERSION RATE.

Before you make any major change to your site code, conduct A/B testing to see which changes produce positive results in your conversion rate. Online programs like?

Visual Website Optimizer help you create a test in a few minutes. We have increased conversion rate by 200 percent through one A/B test. Remember to make one improvement at a time and see how your results change.

By incorporating the 8 Money Making Opportunities, you’ll increase leads, conversions, and revenue. A consistent, test-as-you-go method will allow you to see the power of various strategies and start seeing results right away.

None of these strategies require specific expertise—you can do this.

So with that...

I want to say again, thank you for taking the time to be here with me today. It is an honor to have you here -- thank you for tuning in -- your time is sacred and I am delighted you chose this episode to be what you listen to, study, and take with you on your morning run, or maybe Onward Nation has become part of your daily commute, or in some other way has become part of your morning routine.

However our daily podcast fits into your daily routine -- I want you to know how much I appreciate you sharing some of your invaluable 86,400 seconds you have in your day with me and the strategies we learn and share each day from today’s top business owners.

And please continue to let me know what you think of Onward Nation...good or bad...I always want your feedback. My direct email address is stephen@onwardnation.com -- and yes -- that is my actual Inbox. No fancy filters or filing system and I read and reply to every single email.

So please let me know how you think we are doing. I look forward to hearing from you.

I will be back tomorrow with my interview with Monica Wofford -- another one of today’s top business owners.

Until then, onward with gusto!

You can also find us here: ----- OnwardNation.com -----

Dec 15, 2015

Bill Jelen is the host of MrExcel.com and the author of 49 books about Microsoft Excel including “Excel Gurus Gone Wild”, “Pivot Table Data Crunching”, and “Power Pivot Alchemy”. He has made over 80 guest appearances on TVs “Call for Help with Leo Laporte” and was voted guest of the year on the Computer America radio show. He writes the Excel column for Strategic Finance magazine and has produced over 1,900 episodes of his daily video podcast “Learn Excel from MrExcel.” Before founding MrExcel.com in 1998, Jelen spent twelve years "in the trenches", as a financial analyst for the accounting, finance, marketing, and operations departments of a publicly held company. Since then, his company automates Excel reports for hundreds of clients around the world. The website answers over 30,000 questions a year for free for readers all over the world.

Secret – timesaving technique

Bill gets his one or two most vital priorities before he ever opens his email -- email is a huge time-waster. ONWARD!

Daily habit that contributes to success

Write a book in pieces -- Bill writes a book in 120 pieces so that he can write a book in just four months.

Could have ruined your business – but now – an invaluable learning experience

Bill had to go broke printing extra copies of his fast-selling books -- and Bill tells the whole story here.

Most critical skill you think business owners need to master to be successful

"You need a $20 item."

Most influential lesson learned from a mentor

"You have to simplify."  

Final Round – “Breaking Down the Recipe for Success”

 

What systems would you go back and put into place sooner?

I wish I had realized that I didn't need to convert everyone into a customer -- you just need 1 out of every 100 or 1000.

What one strategy or “recipe” would compound into big wins for business owners?

Build content that answers someone's problem -- it's the beacon that allows them to find you.

How to exceed expectations and add the most value?

An individual would be passionate -- they need to create a following for themselves.

What strategy would you recommend new business owners focus on to best ensure success?

  1. Don't be afraid to conduct an informal survey -- your customers know what they want -- listen to them

How best to connect with Bill:

  You can also find us here: ----- OnwardNation.com -----

Dec 14, 2015

With more than 25-years of experience in the marketing field, Lori Jones brings top retail, consumer product, business-to-business and non-profit organizations knowledge and experience in all aspects of integrated marketing. Her experience with Fortune 500 brands and entrepreneurial start-ups, enable her to contribute a keen understanding of the intricacies today's businesses. She has presented at numerous industry sales and marketing meetings and small business forums on topics such as "Selling on the Trade Show Floor, “Tips on Growing a Small Business in a Down Economy”, "Brand Differentiation", and more.   

Secret – timesaving technique

Lori gets up every morning at 4 AM -- schedule yourself alone time to think and strategize. ONWARD!

Daily habit that contributes to success

Have a synchronized approach to everything you do -- Lori has specific daily team meetings that help each team member do their work.

Could have ruined your business – but now – an invaluable learning experience

Lori had to fire her gorilla client -- and Lori tells the whole story here.

Most critical skill you think business owners need to master to be successful

"Be a leader -- not a boss."

Most influential lesson learned from a mentor

"I learn each and every day -- I never want you to stop learning."  

Final Round – “Breaking Down the Recipe for Success”

What systems would you go back and put into place sooner?

I wish I had not lost sight in the value I bring in selling our business -- no one has my passion for this.

What one strategy or “recipe” would compound into big wins for business owners?

Integrate marketing solutions -- you can't put your eggs in one basket.

How to exceed expectations and add the most value?

An individual would be innovative and gutsy -- they have to think outside of the box -- and the box is huge today.

What strategy would you recommend new business owners focus on to best ensure success?

  1. Define what the end game is
  2. Make sure you are budgeting for marketing
  3. Surround yourself with loyalty

How best to connect with Lori:

  You can also find us here: ----- OnwardNation.com -----

Dec 11, 2015

Randy Long grew up in a family of 6 kids. His dad was a pastor and his mom took care of the kids. His father pastored small churches and so Randy’s family had very little. That encouraged all of the family to work from early ages to buy what they needed, help out the household, and give back to the Lord. Randy worked for many self-employed people and this gave him a great respect for business owners and made him also want to become self-employed. So Randy went into business to provide services to business owners and their families. Randy has also practiced law but his primary focus today is running a business consulting company called Long Business Advisors, where Randy and his team coach business owners, provide BraveHeart Planning, and manage the sale of businesses for those who do not desire to transition their company to the next generation.

Secret – timesaving technique

Randy makes a list of the top three or four things he needs to do each day -- prioritize and do these things first. ONWARD!

Daily habit that contributes to success

Don't leave out the important parts of your life -- Randy spends quality time with his wife and kids every day.

Could have ruined your business – but now – an invaluable learning experience

Randy had to split in a business and it drove away a huge portion of their clients -- and Randy tells the whole story here.

Most critical skill you think business owners need to master to be successful

"Business owners need to be continuous learners -- and the need to encourage continuous learning."

Most influential lesson learned from a mentor

"Specialists make more money than generalists."  

Final Round – “Breaking Down the Recipe for Success”

 

What systems would you go back and put into place sooner?

I wish I had invested in systems that I could plug other professionals into so that they could see things the way I saw them.

What one strategy or “recipe” would compound into big wins for business owners?

Understand and discover the unique abilities of yourself and your team -- and exploit those abilities.

How to exceed expectations and add the most value?

An individual would be self-managed, self-motivated, want to make the entire team successful, and think like an owner.

What strategy would you recommend new business owners focus on to best ensure success?

  1. Work in a business that utilizes your own unique ability
  2. Build a team that utilizes that uses the team's unique abilities
  3. Realize that you and your team continuously need education

How best to connect with Randy:

  You can also find us here: ----- OnwardNation.com -----

Dec 10, 2015

Rick Enrico is the CEO and Founder of SlideGenius Inc., a presentation design agency with over 500 clients around the world. He is also a marketing and technology serial entrepreneur, having founded companies like Twenty6 Red, Jubaloo, RamAir International, SlideSuite, ShopStir, HF USA, and Juice Media.

Secret – timesaving technique

Rick optimizes his time by having his assistant handle the scheduling of his phone calls -- utilize what Rick calls "telephone efficiency." ONWARD!

Daily habit that contributes to success

Stop during the day and focus on your breathing -- Rick does this in five minute segments during the day as well during morning meditation.

Could have ruined your business – but now – an invaluable learning experience

Rick was heavily leveraged with his own personal capital in his company when the market collapsed -- and Rick tells the whole story here.

Most critical skill you think business owners need to master to be successful

"Learn to pause -- business owners say 'yes' too often."

Most influential lesson learned from a mentor

"It's all about the people -- behind every CEO is tens or hundreds of thousands of good people."  

Final Round – “Breaking Down the Recipe for Success”

 

What systems would you go back and put into place sooner?

I wish I had pursued my business full time -- don't wait to put full energy into your business.

What one strategy or “recipe” would compound into big wins for business owners?

Create an environment where employees can be themselves and have fun -- in a fear-based environment you'll never win.

How to exceed expectations and add the most value?

An individual would be persistent and hyper-focused on attention to detail.

What strategy would you recommend new business owners focus on to best ensure success?

  1. Carve out a specific niche -- don't try to be everything to everybody
  2. Know your ideal your customer -- be equipped for them
  3. Focus on marketing first -- scale sales second

How best to connect with Rick:

You can also find us here: ----- OnwardNation.com -----

Dec 9, 2015

Stephen is the CEO of Predictive ROI and host of the Onward Nation podcast. He is the author of two bestselling books, speaker, trainer, and his digital marketing insights have been featured in SUCCESS, Entrepreneur, The Washington Post, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, and other media.

Good Morning Onward Nation...I’m Stephen Woessner.

In today’s solocast I am going to take you on an even deeper dive of the 8 Money Draining Mistakes than we have ever taken before. In previous solocasts I have singled out a mistake or two -- and gone pretty deep with the recipe on how to fix the mistake -- but today I am going to address all 8 mistakes.

On the Predictive ROI side of our business I see it all the time: Businesses that miss opportunities and waste money online.

Over the past 20 years of conducting academic research and working with clients in the private sector, we have collected tens of thousands of data points that show there are 8 areas where most companies misunderstand online consumer behavior.

These money draining mistakes cost you visitors, leads, conversions, and massive return on your online investment -- but rest assured, Onward Nation -- they are fixable.

So let’s dive into what I mean by the 8 Money Draining Mistakes -- and why they are fixable for any business.

I also created a free 3-part video training series that walks alongside of today’s episode that you can download at predictiveroi.com/3download.

Mistake #1. NO BASELINES OR S.M.A.R.T. GOALS.

Do you use Google analytics? If not, start now. It’s a dashboard that’s easy to understand, and best of all, it’s free. You’ll discover how many visitors are finding your site, how they’re finding it, and what they’re doing once they get there. From those

statistics, create a baseline for metrics like unique visitors and lead generation. Next, establish S.M.A.R.T. predictives. In Living Your Best Year Ever, Darren Hardy recommends setting goals that are S.M.A.R.T.— specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-sensitive. Apply these qualifiers to your goals for measurements like lead generation and site traffic.

Mistake #2. LACK OF DISTINCTION.

What are you uniquely qualified to provide, and who are you providing it for? We walk all of our clients through an “XYZ exercise” to help them flesh out their value to potential clients. If you can’t clearly articulate why someone should visit your site and buy from you, how can you expect them to take any action?

Fill in the blanks of this XYZ statement: We do ____(x)_____ for _______(y)______ so they can ______(z)_____. Here’s a simple example for a bakery: “We bake quality, gluten-free treats for cookie lovers in University Park so they can enjoy sweets without getting sick.”

Now, post this statement on the left side of your homepage above the fold. (Only about 10 percent of visitors will scroll below that fold on any content page.) Visitors to your site will self-select, saying, “Yes, that’s me, and you have just what I’m looking for!”

Mistake #3. HIGH BOUNCE RATE.

When a visitor arrives at your site and immediately leaves without making a single click, that’s a bounce. The typical business website has a bounce rate between 50 and 60 percent. Your goal should be 30 percent or less.

A high bounce rate is the most expensive money drainer. Why? Let’s say you have the standard conversion rate of 2 to 4 percent, and your bounce rate is 50 to 60 percent. If you lowered your bounce rate to 30 percent and still converted 2 to 4 percent of your now 70 percent of visitors, you’d increase your revenue by 42 percent!

Getting your XYZ statement right will help reduce bounce rate. So will reducing visual clutter on your homepage to only three main elements. The Harvard Business Review recently published a story that said more choice results in less action by consumers.

So when you want them to act, be sure you have a clear call to action. Whether the next step is to sign up for a newsletter, register for a webinar, or buy now, make it easy to take. Think of the opt-in or buying process like leading someone down a garden path in the dark. You’ve got to point out each stepping stone as you go.

One of the free videos I prepared for you focuses specifically on bounce rate and the recipe for reducing it. You can access the video series at: predictiveroi.com/3download.

Mistake #4. SEO DONE POORLY.

Good SEO requires expanding your site’s meaningful content with these principles in mind:

Select predictive keywords that relate to your site’s themes and have proven performance on search engines. You can create a free account on SEObook.com and use their Keyword Selector Tool for keyword guidance. Look for a variety of niche keywords with 1 million or fewer competitors.

Then include keywords in your page titles, which are the links to your site in Google search results, in your meta keywords, and in your 23-words or less meta description (that sentence or two that runs under your page title on a Google results list).

Limit each page’s content to a single, meaningful topic and keep it between 500 to 1,000 words. Fewer than 500 words will prevent you from including enough keyword mentions, and more than 1,000 will lose visitors’ attention.

Mistake #5. NOT KNOWING YOUR CUSTOMER.

We’ve created two client avatars we call Sally and Harry. They’re ambitious business owners who are active learners. However, sometimes they feel like they don’t know what they’re doing — especially in the area of digital marketing. They’ve been burned in the past by self-proclaimed experts, and they yearn to trust someone who will deliver on promises.

Knowing this professional and emotional information about my clients has helped me serve them better and tailor my site content to meet their needs. To create your own client avatar, think of your best clients and then imagine their fears, worries, and needs.

Mistake #6. POOR CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE.

Use your new client avatar to evaluate your website. Is it easy to navigate for someone unfamiliar with your product, service, or industry? What is your visitor hoping to do the first time they visit? What about returning visitors? Insert easy-to-follow instructions, buttons, and other cues to guide visitors.

Mistake #7. TOO MUCH INSTITUTION SPEAK.

People want to do business with people. Avoid institutional language or industry jargon. Rather than impress your visitors, you’ll alienate them. Aim to make an emotional connection with your prospects, and let them know you’re human.

Mistake #8. AMBIGUOUS CALLS TO ACTION.

Have you been to a website and wanted to buy something but you can’t figure out how to give them money? It’s ridiculous. Customers shouldn’t have to wonder what the next step is or have to spend time searching for how to take it.

We’ve found time and again that by eliminating these 8 Money Drainers from your site, you’ll see improved analytics data and significant increases in revenue.

So with that...

I want to say again, thank you for taking the time to be here with me today. It is an honor to have you here -- thank you for tuning in -- your time is sacred and I am delighted you chose this episode to be what you listen to, study, and take with you on your morning run, or maybe Onward Nation has become part of your daily commute, or in some other way has become part of your morning routine.

However our daily podcast fits into your daily routine -- I want you to know how much I appreciate you sharing some of your invaluable 86,400 seconds you have in your day with me and the strategies we learn and share each day from today’s top business owners.

And please continue to let me know what you think of Onward Nation...good or bad...I always want your feedback. My direct email address is stephen@onwardnation.com -- and yes -- that is my actual Inbox. No fancy filters or filing system and I read and reply to every single email.

So please let me know how you think we are doing. I look forward to hearing from you.

I will be back tomorrow with my interview with Rick Enrico -- another one of today’s top business owners.

The discussion with Rick is amazing -- and how they have built their company -- SlideGenius to 65 employees serving over 700 clients.

Until then, onward with gusto!

You can also find us here: ----- OnwardNation.com -----

Dec 8, 2015

With a dream to become the next Bill Gates, Kevin Kruse started his first company when he was just 22 years old. Despite big dreams, his company failed after just one year. But after discovering the power of leadership and extreme productivity, he went on to start, build, and sell several multimillion dollar companies that have won both an "Inc 500" award for fast growth and a "Best Place to Work" award. He is a New York Times bestselling author and his new book is “15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management” based on interviews with over 200 self-made billionaires, millionaires, and successful entrepreneurs.

Secret – timesaving technique

Kevin time-blocks his day with 50-90 minute Jam Sessions of uninterrupted time -- don't fall prey to to-do lists. ONWARD!

Daily habit that contributes to success

Prepare your body and mind every morning -- Kevin wakes up, drinks a lot of water, gets 30 grams of protein by the time he's been up 30 minutes, gets 20 minutes of exercise, thinks of three things he's grateful for, meditates, and -- if there's time -- hops on the treadmill for an additional 20 minutes.

Could have ruined your business – but now – an invaluable learning experience

Kevin killed his first couple companies in just two years -- and Kevin tells the whole story here.

Most critical skill you think business owners need to master to be successful

"Communicate clearly and persuasively -- become a ninja at communication."

Most influential lesson learned from a mentor

"The power of dreaming big and being outrageous."  

Final Round – “Breaking Down the Recipe for Success”

What systems would you go back and put into place sooner?

I wish I had established a cadence for my communication -- have regular, specific meetings with your teams.

What one strategy or “recipe” would compound into big wins for business owners?

Have a system for providing regular free content -- people that know and trust you are more likely to buy from you.

How to exceed expectations and add the most value?

An individual would take ownership of their position -- they know how to take care of our customers.

What strategy would you recommend new business owners focus on to best ensure success?

  1. Write and publish a book -- the key word in authority is author

How best to connect with Kevin:

  You can also find us here: ----- OnwardNation.com -----

Dec 7, 2015

After a successful career in mutual fund operations as the Assistant Vice President of Corporate Quality, Jodi Flynn set off on a new adventure and founded Luma Coaching. Her specialty is partnering with business leaders who experience self-doubt and overwhelm in order to overcome stress, get organized, and start creating the business and the lifestyle they dreamed of having. Her podcast, Women Taking the Lead, inspires women from humble beginnings to overcome self-doubt and lead with confidence, integrity, and a sense of humor. The podcast hit #1 in 3 categories of iTunes New and Noteworthy: Business, Careers, and Society and Culture.

Secret – timesaving technique

Jodi carefully curates a list of project and tasks that are time-locked by day -- spend time making sure the right items get done on the right days. ONWARD!

Daily habit that contributes to success

Start your day from a calm place and get in a state of gratitude -- Jodi meditates and journals each morning.

Could have ruined your business – but now – an invaluable learning experience

Jodi made 30% of her projected income – and Jodi tells the whole story here.

Most critical skill you think business owners need to master to be successful

"Listen -- listen on many levels."

Most influential lesson learned from a mentor

"Overwhelm is a choice."  

Final Round – “Breaking Down the Recipe for Success” 

What systems would you go back and put into place sooner?

I wish I had started small and gone from there.

What one strategy or “recipe” would compound into big wins for business owners?

Take care of your current customers and referral partners – the most powerful referral tool you have is inside your business.

How to exceed expectations and add the most value?

An individual would be innovative -- they help me think outside the box.

What strategy would you recommend new business owners focus on to best ensure success?

  1. Understand the value of what you're offering -- and find out more about what your clients and customers want
  2. Pay attention to what's working -- and do more of it
  3. Find time to play and have -- this restores the rest of you

How best to connect with Jodi:

  You can also find us here: ----- OnwardNation.com -----

Dec 4, 2015

Mark Hanson is a lifelong entrepreneur and pioneer in the outdoor lighting industry. As president and founder of TouchStone Accent Lighting, Mark develops, manufactures, and markets their proprietary line of outdoor lighting products and the iDzyn iPad app.

Secret – timesaving technique

Mark uses several task tablets -- keep your task lists organized by when things need to be done. ONWARD!

Daily habit that contributes to success

Review your previous day's to-do list -- Mark understands that you have to keep yourself accountable.

Could have ruined your business – but now – an invaluable learning experience

Mark spent all of his capital on a product that didn't sell – and Mark tells the whole story here.

Most critical skill you think business owners need to master to be successful

"Understand technology."

Most influential lesson learned from a mentor

"Plan -- follow the plan -- and be willing to adjust as you go."  

Final Round – “Breaking Down the Recipe for Success”

What systems would you go back and put into place sooner?

I wish I had focused diversification.

What one strategy or “recipe” would compound into big wins for business owners?

It might sound repetitive -- but -- make a plan -- follow the plan -- and be willing to adjust as you go.

How to exceed expectations and add the most value?

An individual would listen to what we are, what we have, and what we're doing -- and build off their contacts to build us.

What strategy would you recommend new business owners focus on to best ensure success?

  1. Leverage your contacts -- use the people around you
  2. Follow your gut
  3. Remain focused

How best to connect with Mark:

  You can also find us at: ----- OnwardNation.com -----

Dec 3, 2015

Bill Hoagland is the founder of company called Squid Ink. He started the business 25-years ago in his garage with just 2-½ gallons of ink he developed. Fast forward two and half decades and Squid Ink does business in 61 countries, operates six manufacturing facilities, employs 130 people, and has distribution points in 87 countries around the world.

Secret – timesaving technique

Bill makes an "AB" list every morning -- prioritize your day, every day. ONWARD!

Daily habit that contributes to success

Figure out problems before they arise – Bill talks to as many people in his company on a daily basis as he can.

Could have ruined your business – but now – an invaluable learning experience

Bill went into debt and then the recession hit – and Bill tells the whole story here.

Most critical skill you think business owners need to master to be successful

"You need to understand strategic thinking."

Most influential lesson learned from a mentor

"Hone your listening skills – listen to what people are telling you."  

Final Round – “Breaking Down the Recipe for Success”

What systems would you go back and put into place sooner?

I wish I had a capital raising system to hire the employees I need rather than those I could afford.

What one strategy or “recipe” would compound into big wins for business owners?

Hold everyone accountable – there needs to be common goals throughout the company.

How to exceed expectations and add the most value?

An individual would accelerate the learning curve.

What strategy would you recommend new business owners focus on to best ensure success?

  1. Make sure you're using your listening skills
  2. Go out and seek help – you can't go it alone
  3. Get up early – being an entrepreneur is not an eight hour a day job

How best to connect with Bill:

  You can also find us here: ----- OnwardNation.com -----

Dec 2, 2015

Stephen is the CEO of Predictive ROI and host of the Onward Nation podcast. He is the author of two bestselling books, speaker, trainer, and his digital marketing insights have been featured in SUCCESS, Entrepreneur, The Washington Post, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, and other media.

Good Morning Onward Nation...I’m Stephen Woessner. Before we jump into today’s topic...I just want to say thank you for all the feedback...the emails...the text messages...the Facebook posts...the tweets...and the comments on LinkedIn. I am so grateful for you being here and being part of the every growing community that is Onward Nation.

Please continue to let me know what you think of Onward Nation...good or bad...I always want your feedback. My direct email address is stephen@onwardnation.com -- and yes -- that is my actual Inbox. No fancy filters or filing system and I read and reply to every single email. So please let me know how you think we are doing. I look forward to hearing from you.

Now, during today’s solocast, I want to focus your attention on one four letter word that we all hear quite often -- or at least the manifestation of the word -- when we are in conversations with other business owners, friends, family, or even in the self-talk we have with ourselves...and that four letter word is FEAR!

To feel fear is of course natural. Everyone feels it whether in business or in life -- it is a human emotion that is as much a part of us as breathing.

But the key is to be able to recognize that fear is all in your mind -- it doesn’t actually exist -- therefore it has no real power over you unless you let it. But oftentimes people are embarrassed to admit their fears -- or that they are feeling fearful about something. So they try to mask it by saying “Oh no...I’m not scared...or I’m not afraid...I’m just stressed.”

And as I learned from Tony Robbins...anytime someone says to you that they are just “stressed”...that is code for… “Help, I’m afraid or fearful about something going wrong.”

To help illustrate these important points about FEAR...I am going to share a deeply personal story with you, Onward Nation...a story that I have not shared during in a solocast before. Maybe I have been afraid to, because I am always self-conscious about an episode being too much about me...and then missing the mark with being relevant.

It’s a story from way back...23 years ago to be exact...the summer of 1992.

I was the ripe old age of 20. I was an airman in the United States Air Force stationed at Ellsworth Air Force Base just outside of Rapid City, South Dakota. My job was like 100 percent pure adrenaline nearly every day. You see...I had the honor of working on the Minuteman II Intercontinental Ballistic Missile System -- or ICBMs for short...yes, nuclear missiles. So for about 3-½ years...my office...was deep inside missile silos...and I loved every second of it. And I got pretty good at troubleshooting systems, fixing the systems, and my curiosity for bigger and more complex challenges grew more and more insatiable. Then one day -- I met my match.

Listen to the rest of the story in the episode.

Onward Nation, I had a choice that day in the silo. I could have chosen to be paralyzed by fear, which would have caused us to lose critical time, and then that could have cost me my life, or perhaps the lives of my teammates. Or, I could decide to push through the fear and do what I knew MUST be done.

I have never been scared. I was fearful. I thought there was the distinct possibility might die inside that silo.

And it was also exhilarating -- I felt blood pumping into areas of my body that I didn’t know existed.

But where did the power and energy to move forward through the fear come from?

It is because finding a solution was a MUST...it was not a SHOULD...and we were prepared to take action and make the result outcome so.

Steve -- who you will meet inside the full story in the episode -- and I did not look at each other and ask, “What do you think...should we find a solution to this problem?” No! We were all in. We were PREPARED and fully committed to finding a solution. It was a MUST because our lives depending on finding a solution. And we made it so.

So how does all of this relate to you inside your business, Onward Nation?

Most of us when we are fearful in our business — or in relationships — we are not afraid because we don’t know what needs to be done. Instead, we are afraid to do what we DO KNOW needs to be done. The only reason we are afraid is because we haven’t made that opportunity, that decision, that new venture, that new hire, that need business partner...a MUST. It is still a SHOULD...and we are asking ourselves questions like, “Should I do this?” “Should I consider this instead?” “Should I wait a little while longer?” Should I ask the advice of a couple more people?”

And then what happens is that we “SHOULD” all over ourselves.

JUST DECIDE...make it a MUST...and move forward with gusto, Onward Nation!

Let’s take this deeper by bringing in some insights and wisdom from several of our Onward Nation guests.

Aaron Walker, my incredible guest on episode 108, said to me, “You need to fear missing an opportunity more than you fear failure.” Just think about that for a moment. “You need to fear missing an opportunity more than you fear failure.”

You will miss all of the shots you never take...you will fail at all of the new product introductions you never introduce...every high performing employee you never hire and take a chance on, will be lost opportunity. And the list goes on.

The NBA legend Michael Jordan once said, “A loss is never a failure until you make an excuse.” So stop making excuses, Onward Nation and instead pursue all of those opportunities with gusto...with proactivity...with all of the energy and enthusiasm that pursuing a MUST requires. As if nothing else matters.

And then there was the powerful message I learned from the wisdom of Kara Ronin, my guest on episode 96. She said to me, “Stephen, you can only grow as far as your biggest fear – there’s always going to be fear that will limit you if you let it.”

BOOM, Onward Nation.

Fear will drag you down and keep you there if you let it.

But realize...it is you who is allowing that to happen because you are manufacturing the fear. It is your creation. But if we follow Kara’s advice...and we do not let fear limit us...then we can rush into that missile silo and diffuse the situation...or we can rush into our businesses, Onward Nation and ignite the sales forecast, we can hire the team members you know you will need, we can have the courage to invest in R&D, or have the guts to fire the destructive customer that Scott McKain in episode 1 warned us about.

And last but not least...I want you to thoughtfully consider the wise words of Leanne Pressly, my guest for episode 48. “Fear can be crippling in a business — learn to slay the dragon and keep it at bay.” So when you are finished listening and studying this episode...take 10 minutes...sit quietly...without distractions...and thoughtfully consider this question, “Who or what is the dragon in my business right now that I need to slay in order to move to that next level?”

And then realize that any of the fears you have associated with that dragon -- or the slaying of that dragon -- are completely made up in your own mind. They are all in your mind.

Just DECIDE to slay the dragon, Onward Nation, and make it a MUST! Don’t be paralyzed by fear.

You are more beautiful…more amazing…more powerful than you could ever possibly imagine. You have an abundance of talents and God given skills within you that you haven’t even begun to reach for yet. Sometimes we all need someone to help you uncover those things so you can see and realize you are powerful beyond measure. My hope for you is that you have realized some of that today while listening to this.

I learned several important lessons that day in the silo. First...that anything is possible -- and I -- you -- we all have the power to make it so. Second...I learned that leadership and mentorship can unleash a person’s true potential. Had Steve, my team chief on that day in the silo, shown me fear — I too would have been even more afraid.

Had he acted hastily, I would have acted hastily.

Had he hesitated, I would have hesitated.

He did not stand up and say… “Follow me because I am your leader…I am your mentor.” He earned that position and respect from me through his actions. He showed me talents and abilities I didn’t even know I had.

Onward Nation...you need to do the same things for the employees you lead in your business every day.

So with that...

I want to say again, thank you for taking the time to be here with me today. It is an honor to have you here -- thank you for tuning in -- your time is sacred and I am delighted you chose this episode to be what you listen to, study, and take with you on your morning run, or maybe Onward Nation has become part of your daily commute, or in some other way has become part of your morning routine. However our daily podcast fits into your daily routine -- I want you to know how much I appreciate you sharing some of your invaluable 86,400 seconds you have in your day with me and the strategies we learn and share each day from today’s top business owners.

I will be back tomorrow with my interview with Bill Hoagland -- another one of today’s top business owners. And the discussion is off-the-charts amazing. Until then, onward with gusto!

You can also find us here: ----- OnwardNation.com -----

Dec 1, 2015

Jeffrey Hayzlett is a primetime television host of C-Suite with Jeffrey Hayzlett and Executive Perspectives on C-Suite TV, and business radio host of All Business with Jeffrey Hayzlett on CBS on-demand radio network, Play.It. He is a global business celebrity, speaker, best-selling author, and Chairman of “C-Suite Network”, home of the world’s most powerful network of C-Suite leaders. Hayzlett is also the author of three bestselling business books, “The Mirror Test,” “Running the Gauntlet,” and “Think Big, Act Bigger.”

Secret – timesaving technique

Jeffrey uses an app called To-Do -- makes lists every day. ONWARD!

Daily habit that contributes to success

Focus on the most important thing – Jeffrey on "killing squirrels," a valuable metaphor he learned from the Pixar movie Up.

Could have ruined your business – but now – an invaluable learning experience

Jeffrey had an employee murder three other employees – and Jeffrey tells the whole story here.

Most critical skill you think business owners need to master to be successful

"Listen. Be observant. What I mean by that is 'I don't know what I don't know.'"

Most influential lesson learned from a mentor

"I've never had a formal mentor. I've always networked with people that I've considered to be very very successful. By observing, I've learned a great deal from these people."  

Final Round – “Breaking Down the Recipe for Success”

What systems would you go back and put into place sooner?

I would go into my new business and completely clean the place – a clean boat is a happy boat.

What one strategy or “recipe” would compound into big wins for business owners?

Crawl, walk, run. Take the steps needed to get to where you're going.

What strategy would you recommend new business owners focus on to best ensure success?

  1. Man up – get over it
  2. Don't accept anything but the best
  3. Remember the "Caitlin Rule" – each employee gets 21 question – they better use them wisely

How best to connect with Jeffrey:

  You can also find us here: ----- OnwardNation.com -----

Nov 30, 2015

Dr. Tony Alessandra helps companies turn prospects into promoters. His focus is on how to create instant rapport with prospects, employees & vendors; how to convert prospects and customers into business apostles who will preach the gospel about your company and products; and how to out-market, out-sell and out-service the competition. Tony is CEO of Assessments 24x7, a company that offers a variety of online assessments, including the widely used DISC profile, the Hartman HVP, Motivators assessment, and several 360º effectiveness assessments. He is also a prolific author of 30 books translated into over 50 foreign language editions and is featured in over 100 audio/video programs and films.

Secret – timesaving technique

Tony goes through the progression of the "four D's" -- drop, designate, delegate, do -- use these four steps to save yourself time. ONWARD!

Daily habit that contributes to success

Focus on what is most important – Tony puts on his blinders and works on one task to completion.

Could have ruined your business – but now – an invaluable learning experience

Tony's divorce had a big impact on his business – and Tony tells the whole story here.

Most critical skill you think business owners need to master to be successful

"Hire, onboard, motivate, and engage good employees."

Most influential lesson learned from a mentor

"You need to let yourself come out on stage – stop trying to be someone else."  

Final Round – “Breaking Down the Recipe for Success”

What systems would you go back and put into place sooner?

I wish I had a system for marketing, sales, and service and one for employee selection and engagement.

What one strategy or “recipe” would compound into big wins for business owners?

Try to focus more on your current customers vs. trying to find new customers.

How to exceed expectations and add the most value?

An individual would have great people skills, be proactive, and be a creative thinker.

What strategy would you recommend new business owners focus on to best ensure success?

  1. Make sure you can develop or improve a product or service that has a uniqueness that customers value
  2. Make sure you have the right team behind you – you need employees that can deliver

How best to connect with Tony:

  You can also find us here: ----- OnwardNation.com -----

Nov 25, 2015

Stephen is the CEO of Predictive ROI and host of the Onward Nation podcast. He is the author of two bestselling books, speaker, trainer, and his digital marketing insights have been featured in SUCCESS, Entrepreneur, The Washington Post, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, and other media.

Good Morning Onward Nation...I’m Stephen Woessner.

Thank you for taking the time to be here with me for today’s solocast -- especially today -- the day before Thanksgiving. It’s a special time of year for all of us to consciously consider all we have to be grateful for in our lives.

And no matter the season your business is in -- whether it’s growing -- whether it’s slowing -- or maybe you’re in the fight of your life as you consider whether your business is worth saving -- I want you to know -- all of your fellow business owners who make up Onward Nation have all been there before.

We have all experienced those moments when we cried as we held our head in our hands...sobbed at the same bad decisions we made for more than the first time...or grappled with how we would make payroll the next day...and the only solution is to not take a paycheck...yet again. Awesome.

But through it all...you continued to have hope...you continued to believe in your dream...you continued to push through and not give up. And for that...there is much for all of us to be thankful for.

You should be thankful for your courage...thankful for your blessings of family and friends who have been your shoulder to cry on when you needed it and the ones to kick you in the hind-end when you have needed that, too.

Thankful for all of your mentors and the lessons they shared that helped lead you to where you are and the next levels to come.

Thankful for all of the goodness in your life outside of your business -- and it is because of that goodness that we do this crazy thing called owning a business, right?

And let’s even challenge ourselves to be thankful for the dark times because they force us to grow -- they force us to be strong. The dark times put us in seemingly unimaginable situations where we are doomed to fail -- and yet -- we find the will to fight, the will to push on, the will to survive, and these times show us the power of humility and being humble. That we don’t know it all -- not even close. And to be better -- not bitter -- because if we choose to be better, we will move on to reach that next level and to move our business onward. And we can do all of that if we approach life with a sense of humility.

In fact, humility is one of the themes of today’s solocast. I ask each of our guests to share their perspectives regarding “the most critical skill they think business owners need to master in order to be thrive today.” So I am going to use this solocast to focus our attention toward three of these critical skills shared by our outstanding guests...the top business owners in the country.

In episode 116, the amazing Wendy Keller joined me as my guest. I asked her the question about critical skills...she answered me with one word at first...“humility.” She paused and then took her thoughts deeper by sharing that it is only through humility that we become teachable. Until we are humble enough to set our ego aside and realize the answer we need in order to get our business back on track, or to that next level, may lay outside our expertise -- the answer will allude us.

Our ego prevents us from seeing the solution even if it is staring us right in the face. It is only through humility can we begin to learn. I am grateful, Wendy -- thank you for sharing such a critical skill with Onward Nation.

I am also grateful for all the lessons shared by David Long, my guest for episode 5. When I asked David the critical skills question, he reinforced that business owners need to “tap minds that are greater than your own.” We went on to have a deep discussion about the power of masterminding and how the collective force can and will propel a business for growth. Onward Nation...if you are not currently a member of a mastermind...I highly encourage you to find one...or create one. The proper mastermind can be the ignition to growth in your business. Thank you, David -- you are a powerful mentor.

Then in episode 27, Amy Anderson shared her perspective of the most critical skill as being a “business owner has to have resilience in order to survive the bottomless pit that is entrepreneurship.” As Amy shared deeply during our discussion...it was resilience that was necessary for her to make it through several challenging moments...one of them life altering...and had it not been for her resilience...she would not have become the incredible business owner she is today. Thank you, Amy for being so generous with your expertise and so transparent -- letting us inside your story -- so we could learn from all of your experiences. I am grateful.

Onward Nation… these three critical skills...humility, tapping minds greater than your own, and resilience are also interdependent with one another. For example, in order to tap minds greater than your own -- one must be humble enough to learn from the experiences shared by those around us -- and humble enough to apply the newly found knowledge into our businesses.

And when times are tough...it takes resilience to get you through to the other side -- but often times -- our resilience can be strengthened by what we learn from others while in the place of humility.

So Onward Nation…I am grateful for you being here. Each day is an opportunity to spend time with you and today’s top business owners. I approach each episode with humility and eagerness to learn by tapping into minds and experiences greater than my own.

But why do I do this?

Because I know that when times get tough -- the knowledge I have learned from our guests and all of these collective experiences will fuel my resiliency. So I have the courage to stand in the storm -- to see it through to the other side -- and shout, “I will not give up until I WIN.”

We will all face storms, Onward Nation...and my hope for you is that these three skills will serve you well during your storm.

You, Onward Nation...you...have 86,400 seconds today -- and I encourage you to dissect the three skills I just shared with you and quickly apply them into your business and into your life.

And lastly, I just want to say thank you...thank you for being here, Onward Nation, and thank you for giving me the privilege to be with you each morning -- to share strategies to help you move your business onward to that next level.

I will be back on Monday -- following a two-day break for Thanksgiving. On Monday, we will share my recent interview with Dr. Tony Alessandra -- another one of today’s top business owners.

Until then, please know how grateful I am you are part of the ever growing Onward Nation. I wish you and your family a very Happy Thanksgiving.

Onward with Gusto!

You can also find us here: ----- OnwardNation.com -----

Nov 20, 2015

Wendy Keller is an award-winning former journalist, a respected literary agent, an author, speaker and acclaimed book marketing consultant. She got her first job as a newspaper reporter as a 16 year old college freshman. Since then, Wendy worked for PR Newswire; the Knight-Ridder newspaper chain; as managing editor of Dateline magazine. She founded what is now Keller Media, Inc. in 1989. She has sold an astonishing 1,200 rights deals worldwide, including 16 New York Times best sellers and 9 international best sellers.

Secret – timesaving technique

Wendy is obsessively focused on lists – and she also blocks out all distractions. ONWARD!

Daily habit that contributes to success

Focus every morning on detachment, service, and love – Wendy starts every day with meditation.

Could have ruined your business – but now – an invaluable learning experience

Wendy was dealt the worst personal tragedy imaginable – and Wendy tells the whole story here.

Most critical skill you think business owners need to master to be successful

"Humility is so important – be teachable."

Most influential lesson learned from a mentor

"Nobody gives a [bleep] what you want to write about – they are only interested in what interests them."  

Final Round – “Breaking Down the Recipe for Success”

What systems would you go back and put into place sooner?

I would have had hired a fulltime, live-in nanny (especially if you're a single mom) – don't live with constant mother guilt.

What one strategy or “recipe” would compound into big wins for business owners?

Respect and pay attention to your employees – trust them and allow them to grow.

How to exceed expectations and add the most value?

An individual would be equipped to succeed – and you have to work with them to get them there.

What strategy would you recommend new business owners focus on to best ensure success?

  1. Don't cut corners – you are responsible for the quality of your service
  2. Find an environment where you can focus
  3. Make sure that any contract you are involved in has been vetted by an attourney
  4. Get a DBA – you really do need it

How best to connect with Wendy:

  You can also find us here: ------ OnwardNation.com ------

Nov 19, 2015

Dr. Pamela Dennis has helped some of the world’s top leaders successfully build their organizations from global Fortune 100 companies such as GE, Merck, JPMorgan, and GM to emerging companies and closely held partnerships in private and public sectors for the last 30-years. She successfully founded and ran a consulting firm for over 20 years, which was consistently recognized as one of the 100 fastest companies in Colorado and in the top 25 women-owned business for size and revenue. This experience also provided her with all of the invaluable insights necessary to publish the book “Exit Signs: The Expressway to Selling Your Business with Pride and Profit.” She speaks to international and national organizations on leadership and change, with the emphasis on leading transitions. Pamela is also affiliated with the Women’s Council of the Leeds School of Business, which supports developing women in leadership at the University of Colorado.

Secret – timesaving technique

Pamela thinks in terms of bifocals – you need to be able to see in the distance clearly and also have a very short focal point to see what needs to be done today, this week, this month, this year. ONWARD!

Daily habit that contributes to success

Make lists – Pamela believes in having a organized daily, weekly, monthly, yearly agenda.

Could have ruined your business – but now – an invaluable learning experience

Pamela made a major client very unhappy – and Pamela tells the whole story here.

Most critical skill you think business owners need to master to be successful

"Have a great sense of what you're looking for in a person – and have your sense of when to let go f your illusion of control."

Most influential lesson learned from a mentor

"You have to face reality – as hard as it."  

Final Round – “Breaking Down the Recipe for Success”

What systems would you go back and put into place sooner?

I would have had a better system for revenue generation – don't waste time elsewhere.

What one strategy or “recipe” would compound into big wins for business owners?

Be clear about where you're headed – and have a plan to get there.

How to exceed expectations and add the most value?

An individual would have the same values as we do – hire values over resume.

What strategy would you recommend new business owners focus on to best ensure success?

  1. Begin with the end in mind – you need to know where you're going
  2. Build an equity based business – you need to build the business so that you can leave it

How best to connect with Pamela:

  You can also find us here: ------ OnwardNation.com ------

Nov 18, 2015

Stephen is the CEO of Predictive ROI and host of the Onward Nation podcast. He is the author of two bestselling books, speaker, trainer, and his digital marketing insights have been featured in SUCCESS, Entrepreneur, The Washington Post, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, and other media.    

Good Morning Onward Nation...I’m Stephen Woessner.

Thank you for taking the time to be here with me for today’s solocast. It is an honor to have you here -- thank you for tuning in -- your time is sacred and I am delighted you have chosen Onward Nation and this episode to be what you listen to, study, and take with you on your morning run, or maybe Onward Nation has become part of your daily commute, or in some other way has become part of your morning routine. However our daily podcast fits into your daily routine -- I want you to know how much I appreciate you sharing some of your 86,400 seconds you have in your day with me and the strategies we learn and share each day from today’s top business owners.

During today’s solocast, you and I are going to dive into a topic area that I just mentioned...and that’s morning routines -- sometimes we call these habits, maybe even rituals. But whatever name, title, acronym, or description we put on them...they represent the things we do every morning consciously or sometimes unconsciously that guide our success for the day.

What I have discovered after interviewing over 100 of today’s top business owners is that they do not leave their mornings to chance. In fact, if you were to ask them, most would say that their mornings -- or the night prior -- are the most important parts of their day for a couple of key reasons.

The night before is when they take time to reflect on the day that just was...perhaps add to their gratitude journal...and prepare their list of priorities for the next day. And by doing this, they consciously take the time to acknowledge all the good that happened that day and to get their mind into a peak state before bed, so that while they are sleeping, their brains are processing, thinking, solving, and getting ready to be at their best when they wake up.

I first learned this principle way back in my senior year of high school. My Senior Math teacher said to us one day in class...if you’re struggling with a problem and you cannot find a solution...then do your absolute best to solve it right before bed. Thinks of all the possibilities, think of all the solutions, give it your very best effort. And if you solve it before bed...great. But if you don’t, you will have loaded your brain with all it needs to be able to solve it while you are sleeping.

I thought to myself -- “Okay, this could be awesome because this class is really kicking my butt and I need all the help I can get.” So I tried it that night. I saved my math homework for last...I followed the specific recipe he had outlined in class earlier that day when I got stuck on one particular problem. I did exactly as he had taught us to do. And then I went to bed while hoping the recipe would work.

The next morning...I got up...went over to my desk where I had kept all of my work, my notes, my scratch sheets...all of my frustration from the night before. And no joke, Onward Nation...honest...I reviewed the problem again and the correct solution was as clear as day. I was stunned.

Here’s what I learned. Your brain is a very powerful tool -- a supercomputer -- the best ever invented. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come with an owner’s manual so we need to learn along the way from others who have faced similar struggles or who are knocking it out of the park. People who are operating or living life at a completely different level than we are...but where we know we can be if we apply the right recipe.

So here we go...let’s go deep into dissecting the morning routines, the morning rituals, the morning habits of today’s top business owners so you can apply a similar recipe to your morning.

The owners I have interviewed are strategic about what they do each morning, about how they prepare for each morning, and how they understand that what they do each morning sets them up for success the rest of the day.

I am going to share five morning habits shared by some of our most recent guests. But what has been fascinating to listen to -- and to discover along this journey of learning -- is the commonality shared across all of our guests.

For example...you could go all the way back to Episode 1 with Scott McKain and listen to his powerful morning routine and daily habits.

In fact, if we were to take a survey of our Onward Nation guests...I suspect over 90 percent of them share some aspect of a morning ritual designed to kick-start their day -- and in some instances -- the days of their employees, customers, and other stakeholders.

With that...let’s dive into the morning habits of today’s top business owners. These habits are simple and can be easy for you to apply into your business.

Habit #1: Focus on One Most Vital Priority

Episode 98 with Larry Winget (despite the fiasco I had with my microphone that day -- so sorry about that Onward Nation!) was an exceptional discussion with one of the most motivating and inspirational business owners I have had the joy of interviewing. Which is a bit counterintuitive because Larry does not consider himself a motivational speaker -- nor does he subscribe to any of today’s popular personal development mumbo jumbo. But that does not mean he is not focused on personal development or getting better every day...his approach is just radically different and a refreshing change from the sea of others out there.

Larry’s success -- the root of all that makes him so powerful at what he does every day and the value he delivers to his customers -- is that he does the one thing each day he knows he MUST get done. He only allows himself to focus on his number one most vital priority each day. That’s it. Just the one.

Where did that singular focus come from? If you listened to Larry’s, you heard him talk about how he went from rich to poor in a single day through no fault of his own. He had bills to pay and had to make money. How did he work through the devastation of losing his business? He distilled everything down to selling a training course that we quickly developed -- and he started with the As in the phone book and started selling. He knew that his most vital priority -- his one thing that had to get done that day was selling. Nothing else mattered...it was his singular focus for the day...and every day.

So maybe yours is not selling...maybe it is leadership...maybe it is hiring the best talent...whatever your most vital priority is...how you move the needle...it deserves all of your attention...today and every day.

Joining Larry in his focused pursuit of one most vital priority each day is John Gumas...my guest on episode 92.

John is the founder of Gumas in San Francisco, an incredible advertising agency that helps challenger brands take on larger, more well-funded competitors. And they are excellent at it.

John Gumas sets one goal a day – accomplishing the daily keeps him positive and moving forward.

Habit #2: Create a Priority List

Adam Carroll, our amazing guest on episode 113, starts every day by creating his Power Priority List. And he only focuses his time around completing the task or priorities on the list.

Adam even separates the priorities into multiple categories, such as income producing, or business development, etc. But the key about his time management or Power Priority List system is how he assigns the time for each task.

We have all felt this before -- that if we have an hour to do something -- oddly, it takes us about an hour to get it done. But if we are leaving that afternoon for a two week vacation -- it is amazing how productive we are that morning, right?

So Adam brilliantly uses the same principle by assigning the amount of time he thinks each task on his list will take to get done -- and then he races the clock to beat the estimate. Then checks the items off the list as he goes, and in the process due to his efficiency, he is creating more time in his day because he is now running ahead of schedule. Wow, Onward Nation!

Habit #4: Get Up Early

I recently had a thought provoking conversation with Joe Calloway during episode 112 of Onward Nation. Joe shared and taught us several valuable lessons that revolved around the fact that value never goes out of style. And how part of being at his best for customers, and getting ahead of competitors, is to get up early -- no later than 5:00 in the morning. This of course requires discipline, Onward Nation but the rewards are substantial.

And then Aaron Walker during episode 108 shared how he blends getting up early with the power of prayer during his first 60- to 90-minutes of his day to get centered and ready to tackle his most vital priorities.

Aaron’s morning habit of prayer and centering is shared by over 80 percent of the most elite athletes, high performing business owners, leaders, etc. The best in the world all have some form of daily meditation, reflection, centering, or prayer. And I share the same practice of daily prayer, as Aaron described, and it is the most powerful part of my day and an invaluable part of my morning routine. I smiled a big smile when Aaron shared it during our interview.

Habit #5: Get Focused and Eliminate Distractions

Gene King, my guest during episode 107, shared some specific, practical, and tactical recipes with Onward Nation -- including patience and persistence -- but what was so compelling about our conversation was how he approached each day with the attitude of “you have to get up and go, no matter what.”

And sure there will be days, Onward Nation that you don’t want to...there will be days when you would prefer to hit the snooze button. But, if you get up early like Joe Calloway and Aaron Walker and you apply Gene King’s outlook on life with the Get Up and Go mentality...your productivity and success will soar to new heights...you will push through the fears...you will push through self imposed obstacles (because most obstacles are self-imposed) and you will move your business onward with gusto!

And combine Gene’s Get Up and Go attitude with Jim Cathcart’s (episode 106) strategy of starting your day by eliminating external distractions -- you will be part of the uncommon few. You will be among the top business owners in the country. You will be able to, like Jim, start your day with a fresh mind so you can focus on doing the things he needs to do in order to become the person he wants to be.

And that is what it is all about, Onward Nation...so you can be the person you want to be -- so you can live the life you want to live -- and you don’t waste your precious time living someone else’s dream, life, or building someone else’s business.

You, Onward Nation...you...have 86,400 seconds today -- how will you apply your time toward making your dreams come true and leaving a lasting legacy in this world -- making someone else’s life better as a result of you being you.

Onward Nation, I just want to say thank you...thank you for being here and for giving me the privilege to be with you this morning -- to share some strategies and recipes for success. I wish you the best of success as you move your business onward to that next level.

I will be back tomorrow with my interview with Dr. Pamela Dennis -- another one of today’s top business owners. Until then, onward with gusto!

You can also find us here: ------ OnwardNation.com ------

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