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Onward Nation

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: 2016
Mar 21, 2016

Christine is the president of Idea Agency located near Boston. She is driven to unleash her clients’ greatness to build amazing brands. As the only Certified Brand Strategist in New England, Christine is uniquely qualified to help her clients put their stake in the ground for their teams and customers to rally behind. Christine is an expert workshop facilitator and a sought-after speaker on brand development, integrated marketing, and ideation.

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

On her best day, Christine gets up and goes for a run, showers, eats a good breakfast, checks her email at home -- try to do the things in the morning that set you up for your best day. ONWARD!

Favorite quote or lesson?

"Believe in what you do."

How do you define success?

Big picture success is creating and running a business where I get to help people solve their problems -- and Christine shares more kinds of success in this episode.

What strategy do you use to combat fear?

Christine reads writing from Seth Godin -- and Christine tells the reasons why here.

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

An "A player" is passionate.  

Final Round – “Breaking Down the Recipe for Success”

How can we become better mentors?

  1. Lead by example -- be who you are -- own up to your mistakes
  2. Be transparent -- share with your employees
  3. Bring your learning inside your agency

How can we build an audience?

  1. Understand what you have that others want
  2. Pick the platform that fits your audience -- don't try to be everywhere
  3. Cultivate your superfans -- they will help your spread your platform

How can business owners reach that elusive next level?

  1. Make sure you have a clear brand definition
  2. Deliver your brand day in and day out
  3. Make sure what you have to offer is desired by your audience
  4. Make sure the three above are all in alignment

How best to connect with Christine:

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

Mar 18, 2016

Matt McCoy is the co-founder and COO of Scanalytics Inc., a software company focused on presence detection and customer engagement. Scanalytics proprietary offering is the SoleSensor, an intelligent floor sensor, which anonymously measures real-world foot traffic. Matt is an entrepreneur, Internet of things (IoT) expert, experienced research consultant, and public speaker. Matt has worked closely with Fortune 500 brands to deliver consumer insights through big data. His enthusiasm for technology and the art of storytelling has helped drive Scanalytics success as a top-ranked IoT company.

Secret – timesaving technique

Matt takes the time to have conversations -- talk to people to get the information you need right away. ONWARD!

Daily habit that contributes to success

Check in with clients every day -- Matt keeps over 80% of his clients by doing this.

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

Matt had to say no to an opportunity that could have grown his business immensely -- and Matt tells the whole story here.

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

"Go back to the basics of communicating with other people."

Most influential lesson learned from a mentor

"Don't worry about the things you can't change."  

Final Round – “Breaking Down the Recipe for Success”

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

I would have taken more notes and documented more.

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

Underpromise and overdeliver.

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

  1. Understand that you're going to make mistakes
  2. Ask for help -- get mentors and advisors

How best to connect with Matt:

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

Mar 17, 2016

Heather Ann Havenwood is a serial entrepreneur and regarded as a top authority on Internet marketing and business strategies. Heather Ann has been named by a few as an “Icon Creator” or the “Wizard Behind the Curtain”. In 2006, she started, developed, and grew an online information marketing publishing company from zero to over $1 million in sales in less than 12 months. Starting without a list, a product, a name or an offer, Heather Ann molded her client into a successful guru now known as an expert in his field. She has instructed, coached and promoted hundreds of entrepreneurs leading them down the path to success. She has produced and managed over 350 seminars and events.

Secret – timesaving technique

Heather Ann "eats the frog" -- figure out quickly what the priorities are. ONWARD!

Daily habit that contributes to success

Be really structured with your time -- Heather Ann lives on her calendar.

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

Heather Ann's business partner emptied their bank account -- and Heather Ann tells the whole story here.

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

"Mindset. Mindset, mindset, mindset."

Most influential lesson learned from a mentor

"Does this feed my confusion or strengthen my clarity?"  

Final Round – “Breaking Down the Recipe for Success”

 

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

I would have had an email marketing system and been consistent with it.

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

  1. Focus on who you are -- and focus on who your clients are
  2. Being a marketer is a good thing
  3. Have consistent communication with your customers

How best to connect with Heather Ann:

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

Mar 16, 2016

Stephen is the CEO of Predictive ROI and the 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 -- and I hope you are having a rock solid awesome, Wednesday. And that your week has been a blend of some amazing wins...some exciting surprises...even some difficult challenges so that you can be pushed to dig deeper. Because sometimes it is the challenges that force us to leap off our current plateau -- and then to reach onward to that next level. Like Scott McKain shared in our encore interview -- episode 136 -- you need to realize that in order to get to that next level in your business -- the next rung up -- you have to be willing to let go of the rung you are currently on. Otherwise -- you’re stuck!

Oddly, Onward Nation...some of my best weeks are the weeks where we experience a loss or two. Hopefully nothing devastating -- but a loss can oftentimes wake us up -- knock us out of a trance. Or help move us off our infatuation with a recent success -- or -- the danger or arrogance of our own ego if we fall into the trap of believing our own headlines and forgetting how attractive humility is and how polarizing arrogance is.

So sometimes a loss or a challenging moment in our past can be the perfect instrument to lead us to greater levels of success. And attempting to define that word -- SUCCESS -- will be my focus in today’s solocast. It is a deeply personal word -- a deeply personal definition -- unique to each of us. But sometimes, having models or mentors share their definition of success can help us look inside ourselves to reflect and think about how we would define it. Defining success for yourself should not feel like something you should be pressured to do. What would be the point in that? Instead...crafting your own definition will help you define the path you are on -- what is right for you -- and how you can become the best version of yourself.

So to get this lesson moving in the right direction...I am going to share with you a definition of success Amy Anderson was kind enough to pass on to me. It is her personal definition -- and -- something she shared with me during our recent encore interview. (Amy was also my guest on episode 27).

But, you won’t be able to listen to the interview just yet because Amy was my special encore guest for episode 200, which doesn’t air for a couple more weeks.

True to Amy Anderson form -- she was -- again -- off-the-charts amazing. Can’t wait to share episode 200 with you -- but for now -- here is how Amy defines success.

Success at the core for Amy is Freedom. And freedom feels like being free enough from fear to act on her own intuition.

Freedom feels like being free from the prison from her own perspective that used to tell Amy that she was nothing but a victim and that the world was her enemy.

Freedom is also being financially free to travel, to spend time with her loved ones, and having the ability to secure the future for her family.

Freedom for Amy also means being able to give time and resources to charitable groups she cares about and the causes she believes in.

Freedom for Amy also means being able to speak what is in her heart and in her mind to others. The freedom to love herself as her creator loves her.

In a word, Onward Nation, success for Amy Anderson is freedom.

When she shared this deeply personal and beautiful definition of success with me...I was really taken back. A bit breathless actually. In fact, when you listen to the episode in a couple of weeks you might even hear me gasp a bit. But that is why I love conversations with Amy -- that is the depth of discovery you need to be prepared to have -- because she doesn’t hold back -- and she freely shares it. One of the many reasons I am such an Amy Anderson fan.

I think one of the reasons why Amy’s definition of success was so impactful for me -- or on me -- is because I share her definition. Line by line. In unison. Loved every word and every syllable she shared. But it wasn’t always that way for me. There was a time and place early in my career where my definition of success looked nothing like what Amy was generous enough to share with us.

As you know, Onward Nation, I rarely tell personal stories during our episodes -- but today I will because it directly relates to the definition of success -- and oddly -- it is a story of epic failure. And it is because of that epic failure -- my perspective has changed. Even though the story I am about to share with you happened back in 1999 to 2001, the first time I ever shared the story during an interview was with John Lee Dumas during episode 648 for his EOFire podcast. EOFire is a brilliant podcast -- highly recommend it.

What I am about to share with you is a time when I failed so huge that my wife and I could have lost it all. To say we were all in is a major understatement.

We were left with nearly zero. But we fought our way back -- and through that struggle I learned a lot about myself -- I grew -- I changed -- and was prepared to lead the business I am leading today. But it took me eight long years to recover, Onward Nation, before I could even discuss what happened. I was that devastated by it.

So, let’ go back...to the summer of 1999. It was the height of the dot com bubble. But I didn’t realize it was the height and the tide would soon be turning. I was 28 years old -- a young man in a hurry. I was a partner in a small advertising agency in La Crosse, Wisconsin -- my wife and I had bought our first house five years earlier, we had saved our money, and I had the urge to do more -- to accomplish more -- to earn more.

I was frustrated reading the headlines of dot com company after dot com company receiving millions of dollars in venture capital on the east coast and west coast while I was working day to day in a small midwestern city out of the action.

Silly -- but that was the message my ego drove home to me every day. I felt like I was missing out.

Until finally, I had had enough and joined forces with two partners and we began the long process of building FortifiedNutrition.com.

And on a shoestring budget -- we actually did it -- and it was miraculous. The website worked and it worked well. So well, that we attracted the attention of Wells Fargo in town and I convinced them to provide us with a $100,000 line of credit. Yes, I said $100,000. Based on some very loose financial pro formas and my personal guarantee. Insane.

And then we attracted the attention of two private investors who invested $60,000 contingent upon us finalizing our spokesperson endorsement deal we were negotiating with Lou Ferrigno. Yes, Lou Ferrigno -- the Incredible Hulk. During my first phone call with Lou...I’m not sure that I heard a word he said because I kept saying to myself over and over again, “Oh my word...oh my word...I’m on the phone with the Incredible Hulk! The INCREDIBLE HULK.”

An amazing man, by the way, Onward Nation. I thoroughly enjoyed every meeting and interaction I had with Lou and his wife, Carla. Top notch people of integrity and professionalism.

So while we are working out the deal points with investors and Lou -- we then attracted the attention of a digital marketing agency in San Francisco who agreed to perform all of our design work in exchange for 7.5% of our common stock.

I couldn’t say yes fast enough.

I was on cloud nine...it was all coming together, Onward Nation.

Are you kidding me? An agency in San Francisco, two investors, a line of credit, and Lou Ferrigno.

Just when I couldn’t imagine it getting any better -- we met with our attorney at Ernst & Young’s office in Akron, Ohio to discuss our plans for an initial public offering. Yes, an IPO. Again, insane.

But wait -- trust me -- it gets even more ridiculous.

We all sat around a very large conference room table and looked at what had to seem like the most baseless valuation ever put on paper.

Why do I think that?

Because I created it the night before and had zero experience in doing anything remotely similar. Our attorneys and Ernst & Young team looked at the valuation I had prepared, and said, yep -- looks good to us. I’m sorry -- what?

And now -- now, Onward Nation -- my partners, investors, and I were the proud owners of a $10 million company. I was worth nearly $3 million at 28 years old. I couldn’t wait to show my wife my stock certificate.

She calmly looked at the certificate and said, “Ahem, can we take this piece of paper and go buy a new house?” I said, “Well, no, but…” And she followed that up quickly by asking, “Could we take this certificate and go buy a new car?” I said, “Well, no, but you see…” And she again followed that up quickly by asking, “Could we take this certificate and go buy some groceries?” And I said, “Well, no” and now squarely getting her point. And then Christine said to me, “Yeah, so, come back and see me when this is actually worth something.”

And wow...she was so right. The truth is...I was worth $3 million on paper but chasing my dream of success had meant that we were living on her income -- and that was it. I had not taken a grand total of $1,200 out of FortifiedNutrition.com over the course of 18 months, Onward Nation.

Why? Because at the time of my master valuation presentation...we had not sold one customer -- made 1 sale -- had any revenue -- I mean literally nothing.

We were still four weeks away from even going live and our valuation was $10 million. Brilliant.

So let’s fast forward to March 2000.

I was in San Francisco trying to present Fortified to more investors.

Except the market had started to tighten and tighten. What was that you said? A bubble bursting? Ha...that couldn’t happen!

Well, we all know it did and I happened to be in San Francisco, on the ground floor if you will, when it did as I shared with John Lee Dumas during our interview.

The NASDAQ started its slide and I went from trying to sell 20 percent of my company for $7 million to as much as you want for as little as you will give me. It became the FortifiedNutrition.com fire sale.

The $10 million valuation of our company evaporated just as quickly as it has risen. I immediately lost the value of the stock -- no big deal -- that was just paper.

But what really hurt, was that my wife and I lost all of our savings in trying to save the business. We invested nearly every penny of the equity in our home. I nearly had to sell my car just to keep our heads above water.

All totaled...I lost $100,000 of my own money, Onward Nation. Real cash -- that was literally sucked right out of my pocket and gone. Our life’s work up to that point -- destroyed. I felt like a complete failure -- my definition of success, which had been solely financial up to that point had been shattered.

Christine and I went to work and picked up the pieces. I found another advertising and marketing job in town...got my butt back to school to finish my bachelor’s degree and went on to get my masters...scored some good wins in business...began saving some money...started investing again...started a couple of side-preneur ventures...did well...then accepted a full-time academic staff position at the University of Wisconsin at the La Crosse campus...started teaching digital marketing classes to business owners throughout the Wisconsin system...and wrote a couple of books. So that over 12 year period -- I built up enough experience, an influential network, and enough courage to launch Predictive ROI, the company I have run with my team for the past 7 years.

I now have a completely different view of success.

Do I still have financial goals? Yes. Are they big? Yes, they are huge!

But the purpose behind the goals is completely different.

I now subscribe to Andrew Carnegie’s philosophy to building wealth. He said...you should spend the first half of your life making a fortune so you can spend the second half of your life giving it all away.

I like that -- a lot.

Again -- I am now so aligned with Amy Anderson’s definition of success that I shared with you a few minutes ago. For me...and maybe for you, too...success feels like freedom. The freedom to choose what feels right for you. To do what you want to do...not what you feel pressured to do. To be the person -- the whole person -- you were created to be.

You are more powerful, more amazing, more gifted, more talented than you could ever possibly imagine, Onward Nation. You are a child of the Most High God and you were intended to live a life of freedom.

So no matter how you define success -- my hope for you today is that you will take a moment -- to find a quiet spot -- to think -- to write down your definition. Don’t compare it to anyone else’s -- it is uniquely yours. But writing it down is a powerful process -- and I hope that doing so unlocks freedom for you.

So with that...I want to thank you again for taking the time to be here with me today. It is an honor to have you here -- thank you for tuning in -- 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.

We will be back tomorrow with an incredible interview with Heather Ann Havenwood -- and she shares an inspirational story of how she got back to building again after overcoming several very significant challenges in her way. You will not want to miss this discussion, Onward Nation!

Until then, onward with gusto!

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

Mar 15, 2016

Peter Strohkorb is an international speaker, sought after consultant and the CEO at Peter Strohkorb Consulting International. He has 20 years of hands-on Sales & Marketing experience in executive sales and marketing positions for some of the largest corporations on the planet, such as SONY, 3M, and Canon. Peter is the creator of the OneTEAM Method, author of a book of the same name, and a guest lecturer in the Executive MBA program of the Sydney Business School.

Secret – timesaving technique

Peter writes out his daily task list -- carve out the time each day to complete your tasks. ONWARD!

Daily habit that contributes to success

Be disciplined about not getting to excited by the new -- Peter stays focused on the tasks he has to complete before jumping to the next thing.

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

Peter faced a market that refused to accept they had a problem -- and Peter tells the whole story here.

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

"It's so important to get out of your office and actually talk to your prospects, customers, and peers."

Most influential lesson learned from a mentor

"Be entrepreneurial, but in a disciplined way."  

Final Round – “Breaking Down the Recipe for Success”

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

I would have had an advisory board.

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

Do not look at your people as people in specific departments.

How to exceed expectations and add the most value?

An individual would use their ears and mouth proportionally -- you have two ears and one mouth.

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

  1. Internal: Look at how your business is structured and get some advice
  2. External: Try to talk to your clients and prospects and let them figure out that they have a problem that you can solve

How best to connect with Peter:

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

Mar 14, 2016

Billee Howard is the Founder & CEO of Brandthropologie, an artist collective that helps place brands at the epicenter of culture and commerce. Billee is also the author of “We-Commerce” a book designed to help companies and leaders embrace the principles of the collaborative economy in ways that improve their bottom line.

Secret – timesaving technique

Billee pushes herself to a place of discomfort -- innovation is discipline. ONWARD!

Daily habit that contributes to success

Understand the context of the environment of who you're talking to -- Billee strives to not be overly insular.

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

Billee was forced to leave her industry -- and Billee tells the whole story here.

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

"Creativity needs to be a centrality of business -- and view storytelling as a business competency."

Most influential lesson learned from a mentor

"Reward somebody who deserves to be rewarded before they ask for it."  

Final Round – “Breaking Down the Recipe for Success”

 

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

I would take the time to deconstruct what went right and what went wrong.

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

Successful business today should be able to embrace ideas no matter where they come from.

How to exceed expectations and add the most value?

An individual would push themselves every day.

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

  1. Understand that there has never been a better time to be an entrepreneur
  2. Believe in yourself -- you cannot succeed if you don't first fail
  3. Have a niche focus -- don't be all things to all people

How best to connect with Billee:

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

Mar 11, 2016

Dr. George Browne is the owner, allergist, and immunologist of Bless You Allergy & Asthma. His practices focus on caring for patients in the areas of environmental allergies, food allergies, asthma, eczema, contact dermatitis, stinging insects, and immunological defects. Dr. Browne opened his practice two years ago after being in academic medicine so he could do it his own way.

Secret – timesaving technique

George writes out his daily and weekly schedules every night -- stay on point for your week and your day. ONWARD!

Daily habit that contributes to success

Prepare your mind, body, and soul for the day ahead -- George gets up every morning and prays and works out for 30 minutes each.

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

George almost gave up on medicine because he was overwhelmed -- and George tells the whole story here.

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

"You have to be able to cut out the noise -- and carve out the time to continuously learn."

Most influential lesson learned from a mentor

"Talk to people like they're the only person that matters in that moment."  

Final Round – “Breaking Down the Recipe for Success”

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

I would have learned my electronic medical records system better.

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

Take care of your clients first.

How to exceed expectations and add the most value?

An individual would be honest -- honesty goes so far.

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

  1. Be yourself -- you can't be anyone else
  2. Don't take yourself too seriously
  3. Keep learning

How best to connect with George:

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

Mar 10, 2016

Diane Gardner is an expert tax coach, Quilly award recipient, and best-selling author whose proactive tax planning approach gives clients a leg up on Uncle Sam and helps them dodge the tax bullet. Diane saves small business clients between $5,000 and $50,000 in taxes in as little as 60 minutes! Her tax coaching prowess has resulted in a combined savings of nearly $500,000 to-date of hard-earned profits small business owners would have given to the government by overpaying taxes. Diane is the co-author of the bestselling books, “Stand Apart” and “Why Didn’t My CPA Tell Me That?” She has also authored four other books including her newest, “Stop Overpaying Your Taxes! 11 Ways Entrepreneurs Overpay and How to Stop it Now!”

Secret – timesaving technique

Diane time blocks her calendar -- if you don't put it on your calendar, it won't happen. ONWARD!

Daily habit that contributes to success

Communicate well with your team -- Diane and her team send out daily emails that outline their respective days.

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

Diane bought her building at the top of the market -- and then 2008 happened -- and Diane tells the whole story here.

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

"If you can be flexible -- you'll always come out stronger in the end."

Most influential lesson learned from a mentor

"If you are willing to be a giver -- you can't help but reap the benefits down the road."  

Final Round – “Breaking Down the Recipe for Success”

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

I would have documented the systems we use in our office -- don't carry it all in your head.

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

Break your big goals into smaller steps.

How to exceed expectations and add the most value?

An individual would be focused on meeting short-term goals.

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

  1. You can do anything you set your mind to

How best to connect with Diane:

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

Mar 9, 2016

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 -- how can this be episode 188 already? My goodness. The time has really flown by. So before I jump into the lesson -- the purpose behind today’s solocast -- want to say some brief words of thanks. What an honor it has been to be able to be here with you five days a week -- for what is now 188 episodes.

I am grateful to you, Onward Nation for listening -- for sharing all of your feedback -- all of which has pushed us to do an even better job with each and every episode. And thank you to all of our extraordinary guests -- for what our podcast -- this community of Onward Nation -- has become.

Sometimes, I do feel like I need to pinch myself in the morning when I get ready to do an interview or I read my email -- Facebook -- the kind words on Twitter -- or a post on LinkedIn.

Thank you, Onward Nation -- you help my team and I get better every day. I so appreciate your review and critique -- good or bad -- more than you will ever know. So thank you for sharing your time with me this morning.

I also grateful for my amazing team of A Players who make up Predictive ROI -- they are the ones who are responsible for every Onward Nation episode day in and day out -- since the beginning. So thank you, Katherine, thank you, Louie, thank you, Erik, thank you, Alex, thank you, Matt, and thank you, Christine. I appreciate all of your hard work more than you will ever know.

Being surrounded by my team of super committed A Players who want our business to succeed as much as I do is a wonderful feeling. But building a team of A Players didn’t happen by accident.

A Players, Onward Nation, are going to be our focus this morning -- but more specifically -- how to attract, recruit, hire, and lead a team of A Players. I am also going to include several lessons that will help you avoid expensive hiring mistakes and then provide you with a recipe for attracting, recruiting, and hiring A Players into your business to make it a fast growth, high performing company -- or Gazelles, as Verne Harnish, co-founder of Gazelles Growth Institute would describe them as.

I am going to share with you lessons I have learned during the last 23 years of working in a variety of companies, owning five businesses, and even spending six years as a full-time academic staff member at the University of Wisconsin -- at the La Crosse campus.

I will also blend in some of the most valuable lessons and expertise shared by a few of our Onward Nation guests -- including one of my most influential mentors, Darren Hardy. All of these lessons -- these ingredients, Onward Nation -- shaped the recruiting and hiring recipes we use at Predictive ROI to grow slowly -- intentionally -- and to build a team that only consists of A Players.

Does that mean that we have never made a hiring mistake? Good grief -- I wish that was the case. We definitely have those stories, too. But all in all -- our track record has been good because we have applied the lessons that I am going to share with you this morning.

One last thing before we jump in -- as a free companion to today’s solocast -- I encourage you to go to OnwardNation.com/12download and get your copy of our free eBook, The 12 Success Strategies of Today’s Top Business Owners. It is a distillation of the best lessons we have learned from our guests and I will refer to one of those lessons during today’s discussion.

Let’s start off with a definition to establish some common ground. What makes an A Player...an A Player?

In my opinion, A Players are the team members who are not threatened by other super achievers in their midst -- in fact -- it is the exact opposite -- the more super achievers the better. A Players love to learn -- they seek out new challenges to push themselves mentally and want to be intellectually pushed by their peers.

A Players are also the team members who have high emotional intelligence -- you will not typically find them caught up in unproductive conversations or at the center of some sort of office controversy.

Instead, you will find them off solving mission critical problems -- or vital priorities -- by filling their vital functions -- and delivering on their vital metrics -- while proactivity reporting back to you when the priorities are accomplished. That’s an A Player, Onward Nation. And I am proud to say that Predictive ROI is packed full of them.

Lori Highby, two-time guest of Onward Nation recently said to me, “Stephen, I think an A Player is someone who is passionate about the work being done, someone who never stops learning, and someone who is driven towards to success.” Couldn’t agree more with Lori.

The passion Lori describes is essential because -- look -- work is hard -- it is demanding -- the hours are long -- and sometimes the schedule is unforgiving. And if your team members don’t have a passion for the work, and they don’t really love it, or they don’t love you and what you stand for -- they will not stay for very long -- or if they do stay -- you will not be getting their A level work. And A Players will not tolerate that type of situation for long -- they want to work with other A Players so the passion you so loved having in your company -- will also be the same passion that pushes them to move on to a different venture. And perhaps that new venture might also provide a path for continual learning.

A Players want to be challenged by conferences, by seminars, by workshops, by other forums where they can meet their fellow A Player peers and be challenged in a fast-paced, compressed, learning environment. And when the education component is provided to an A Player -- it becomes easier for them to see how the time they are investing into your company, Onward Nation -- is contributing to their long-term success.

Don Yaeger, also a two-time guest at Onward Nation, described an A Player to me as someone who wants to work with other A Players -- but -- and this is an important distinction that I had never heard before Don shared it with me, Onward Nation -- Don shared with me that A Players don’t frighten other A Players.

A Players are not intimidated by other A Players -- INSTEAD -- they are energized by the possibilities -- they are energized by the professional competition -- by the ambitious drive to make each other better. Not to beat out the other person but in making each other better so the collective team is better, stronger, as a result. Oh, AWESOME!!!

Steve Jobs famously said, “A Players hire A Players and B Players hire C Players. We only want A Players here at Apple.” I think he was really right with this.

Can you think of a couple of A Players on your team who are doing that right now for you, Onward Nation -- or -- can you think of a time when you and a fellow A Player professionally competed with one another?

Where you cheered each other on -- you celebrated each other’s wins -- you helped each other through the losses -- and in the process -- you made each other better. That was an awesome feeling, wasn’t it? Why not create it again inside your own company -- if you’re not currently experiencing it.

And then Shane Stott -- another a two-time guest on Onward Nation -- got really specific with me and shared what he believes are four “qualifiers” that A Players fill...think of them as pre-requisites -- if you can’t put a checkbox next to each of these when thinking about a particular person -- they are likely not an A Player.

First -- they manage themselves better than you could. A Players do not need you looking over their shoulders or micromanaging their work. In fact, that type of managerial style is the perfect recipe for pushing A Players out of your company. Instead -- define your expectations -- provide the resources -- and then get the heck out of the way of your A Players. They will move heaven and earth to exceed your highest expectations!

Second -- A Players bring new ideas and direction continuously. A Players tend to be idea and solution machines. They are looking for new ways to challenge the status quo -- to push -- to move mountains.

They are proactive, Onward Nation...love that word...it is my favorite in the English language...and it is so easy to spot on an A Player!

Third -- A Players are an active study themselves -- meaning -- they are always learning like we discussed earlier. So, Onward Nation -- you need to create an education plan -- some structure -- so they know where and when you will be providing educational opportunities. If you don’t -- they may misunderstand your lack of specific direction or leadership in this area to be ambivalence -- and then your A Players will be polishing up their resumes.

And Fourth -- they don’t take things personally. A Players recognize the mission and purpose of what they are working on is bigger than them -- there is no ego in the work -- and consequently, when something fails, or an idea doesn’t work -- they don’t take it personally and their confidence is shattered in the process.

That doesn’t happen with A Players. Each win or each loss is simply a series of data points from which many things can be learned -- and applied -- so that future work is enhanced and better as a result.

So there you have it, Onward Nation -- a complete and thorough description of A Players -- a detailed avatar if you will of the elusive team members you want to hire. And as Jim Collins, author of Good to Great famously said, “The single most important thing you need to do is pick the right people and keep them. There is nothing more important than this.”

So the next step in today’s solocast that I wanted to share with you was a specific recipe for attracting and hiring A Players. How do we do this? I will give you a hint to the recipe...Jim Rohn said, “If you want to be a leader who attracts quality people, the key is to become a quality person.”

I learned this recipe directly from my personal mentorship sessions with Darren Hardy. This recipe -- although potentially painful -- will help you fill your team with A Players so your business is filled up -- wall-to-wall -- with exceptional talent.

A Player Recipe

Ingredient #1: Get out a white sheet of paper.

Ingredient #2: Brainstorm a list of 50 attributes you want to have your employees -- or future employees -- exemplify -- to demonstrate to your customers on daily basis. Just write fast as you can. Go total stream of consciousness. Quickly make the list -- fast, fast, fast. Make a full list of 50. Okay, do you have the full list ready?

Ingredient #3: Now go back through your list and give very careful consideration so you can remove the duplicates, remove anything that might be similar, and then distil the list down into what you consider to be your Vital 12 Attributes. These 12 are the attributes your ideal team members would represent and live out every day.

Ingredient #4: Let the list rest for a day -- sleep on it -- then review and critique it again in the morning. Make sure your final list of 12 is ready to be shared. But don’t share the list with your team. Instead...take the 12 attributes and use them to create survey form with a rating scale of 1 to 10 -- with 10 being the highest. You could use a paper-based survey, Survey Monkey, or another tool. Something that is easy to distribute and share.

Ingredient #5: Now ask your leadership team and all of your employees to anonymously rate YOU according to those 12 attributes. They do not rate themselves -- but YOU, Onward Nation.

Ingredient #6: Sit down and review the data. The survey results represent how you -- as the leader -- need to improve in order to attract, recruit, hire, and effectively lead A Players representing your Vital 12 Attributes. This exercise -- and your ability to authentically recruit A Players who match the 12 -- requires you to be there yourself.

Remember -- you, Onward Nation -- you -- you are the ones who set the pace within your company. The leader sets the pace -- the pace of the leader sets the pace of the pack. It is an incontrovertible fact. You can try to run from it -- to hide from it -- but in the end -- there it is.

Therefore, if you want to attract and hire A Players who represent those 12 attributes -- you need to become the living embodiment of those 12 -- if you are not already.

So with that...I want to thank you again for taking the time to be here with me today. It is an honor to have you here -- thank you for tuning in -- 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.

We will be back tomorrow with an incredible interview with Diane Gardner -- she is a tax savings superhero and she shares some insights into how she saved one of her business owner clients $50,000 in taxes. You will not want to miss this discussion -- stop overpaying taxes, Onward Nation!

Until then, onward with gusto!

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

Mar 8, 2016

Melissa is a former Wall Street executive and now the founder of The Lion’esque Group, a firm of pop-up shop experts who have produced more than 100 retail experiences in New York City, Los Angeles, and the Hamptons. Some of her clients include brands such as COTY / Marc Jacobs, CAT Footwear, J. Hilburn, and Food52. Melissa shares her experiences in her book, “The Pop-Up Paradigm: How Brands Can Build Human Connections in a Digital Age.” Melissa was awarded “Innovator of the Year” for pop-up retail experiences by Retail Touchpoints in 2015. She is the co-founder of THE MARKET at the Roger Smith Hotel, and an advisor to startups, TheStoreFront.com, and Fotofwd. She is also a guest blogger on pop-up and immersive retail strategies for various outlets.

Secret – timesaving technique

Melissa lists out her daily tasks -- calendar management is everything. ONWARD!

Daily habit that contributes to success

Step outside and go for a walk -- Melissa does this often to give her mind a rest and it often sparks inspiration.

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

Melissa invested time in training the wrong people -- and Melissa tells the whole story here.

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

"Execution -- be able to execute your ideas."

Most influential lesson learned from a mentor

"By genuinely paying it forward -- the universe brings you back some amazing energy."  

Final Round – “Breaking Down the Recipe for Success”

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

I would have focused -- you can't get seduced by opportunity.

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

Have a strong communication strategy on a daily basis.

How to exceed expectations and add the most value?

An individual would be willing to jump in and help when they're done with their own projects.

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

  1. Don't be so hard on yourself
  2. Set short and long-term goals
  3. Do your own books

How best to connect with Melissa:

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

Mar 7, 2016

Pam Friedman has over 20 years of financial planning and investment experience. Prior to partnering with Silicon Hills Wealth Management, Pam was on Wall Street in New York as well as serving in London structuring and raising capital for both public and private companies. Pam is the author of the book, “I Now Pronounce You Financially Fit” and is an expert is marital financial planning. In addition to Pam’s extensive writing, speaking, and financial planning experience, she also served six years as a member of the Finance faculty at The University of Texas at Austin.

Secret – timesaving technique

Pam writes down what has to be discussed -- preparation is 100% of your success. ONWARD!

Daily habit that contributes to success

Carve out time -- Pam blocks Tuesday and Thursday morning on her schedule for regrouping and thinking.

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

Pam gets angry calls from clients when the market is down -- and Pam tells the whole story here.

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

"Patience -- I'm a big fan of patience."

Most influential lesson learned from a mentor

"You have to take calculated risk -- you can't be afraid to take them."  

Final Round – “Breaking Down the Recipe for Success” 

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

I would have found someone who knows the technological systems inside and out if I started on my own -- but luckily our firm had someone who knew them.

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

Take things one at a time -- don't try to be all things to all people.

How to exceed expectations and add the most value?

An individual would think ahead and be present.

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

  1. Be patient -- it's going to take 10 years to build a reputation
  2. Be transparent with your partners -- and be hard on them when you have to
  3. Take a risk -- what's the worst that can happen?

How best to connect with Pam:

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

Mar 4, 2016

Michael Maher’s story is one for the movies. Born into a family living in a shack in a small town in Kansas and knowing only poverty, food stamps, and hand-me-down clothes, Michael conquered incredible challenges and a near-death experience then went on to design a system, the (7L) System, based around a philosophy of generosity. He and those who have implemented the system have found that a business based on generosity leads to reciprocity in the form of referrals, help, and good beyond anything they could ever imagine. His book, 7L: The Seven Levels of Communication has been Amazon.com's #1 bestseller in the Real Estate Sales category for 5 straight years. Michael inspires audiences with his powerful, true story and has shared the stage with President George W. Bush, Tony Robbins, and John Maxwell.

Secret – timesaving technique

Michael uses the four enriching rituals -- make yourself more efficient, more orderly, and more productive. ONWARD!

Most influential lesson learned from a mentor

"Seek advice from those who are more successful than you."  

Final Round – “Breaking Down the Recipe for Success”

 

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

  1. Commit to a "no matter what" philosophy
  2. Be specific with what you want
  3. Practice proactive generosity and appreciative receiving

How best to connect with Michael:

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

Mar 3, 2016

Michael Hauge has been one of Hollywood’s top script consultants, story experts, and speakers for more than 30 years. He coaches screenwriters, novelists, filmmakers, professional speakers, internet marketers and corporate leaders, helping transform their stories and their audiences using the principles and methods of Hollywood’s most successful movies. Michael is the author of “Selling Your Story in 60 Seconds” and the new 20th Anniversary Edition of his classic book Writing Screenplays That Sell. He has consulted on films starring – among many others - Will Smith, Tom Cruise, Reese Witherspoon, Julia Roberts and Morgan Freeman, and has presented lectures and workshops to more than 70,000 participants worldwide. According to Will Smith, “No one is better than Michael Hauge at finding what is most authentic in every moment of a story.”

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

Michael got a mediocre rating in a big magazine -- and Michael tells the whole story here.

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

"The ability and willingness to incorporate stories in any communication."

How to create a good story

  1. Identify the hero of the story -- who is the main character?
  2. Create a setup -- describe the life the hero was living before the story began
  3. Present the hero with opportunity (and create empathy in the process)
  4. Put the character in a new situation based on the opportunity
  5. Create a clear, visible goal with a clear finish line in the end
  6. Create conflict
  7. The climax of the story -- paint a picture of what success was like
  8. The aftermath -- paint a picture of the new life because of making the journey

The three kinds of stories business can tell

  1. Autobiographical -- the story about you
  2. Case study -- take someone who has benefited from your product or service and talked about how you and your product or service has changed their life
  3. The "Wise Man" story -- repeat a story and how you or your audience can learn from their lessons

Most influential lessons learned from a mentor

  1. "The seat of the pants to the seat of the chair."
  2. "Don't get it right, get it written."
  3. "You've got to reject rejection."

 

Final Round – “Breaking Down the Recipe for Success”

 

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

I ask myself if whatever I'm going to try sounds like fun -- and if it does, I'll try it.

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

  1. Don't be afraid of telling stories
  2. Ask yourself where you draw the line -- and then take small steps toward confronting you fear

How best to connect with Michael:

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

Mar 2, 2016

Steve Rodgers is a business, lifestyle consultant, author, and leader who helps others discover, maximize, and increase their highest good and purpose in life and business. Steve’s extraordinarily successful career spans being the CEO of a real estate firm generating $25 billion in annual sales, almost 40,000 transactions, managing a team of 4,600 agents, and starting and running his own real estate company. One of Steve’s career highlights was meeting and working for Warren Buffett for many years. His inner circle includes leaders such as John Assaraff, Brian Tracy, Marshall Goldsmith and Mark Thompson.

Secret – timesaving technique

Steve scores himself on his body, bond, being, business -- hold yourself accountable for the things that have to get done every day. ONWARD!

Daily habit that contributes to success

Take time for yourself -- Steve meditates multiple times a day to stay tuned into life.

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

Steve had to close 40% of his offices -- and then he got fired -- and Steve tells the whole story here.

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

"Become an expert in your field -- as quickly as you can."

Most influential lesson learned from a mentor

"Don't underestimate people -- sometimes people disappoint you -- but sometimes they surprise you."  

Final Round – “Breaking Down the Recipe for Success”

 

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

I would have utilized the "stop -- start -- continue" strategy -- a strategy to use to analyze what is and isn't working in the business.

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

Prospect, prospect, prospect, and prospect some more.

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

  1. Find out your true personal legend is as soon as possible
  2. Be curious

How best to connect with Steve:

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

Mar 1, 2016

Lori Highby is the owner of Keystone Click, an interactive marketing agency in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Since 2008, her agency has seen consistent growth. Lori is the 2013 recipient of the "Bravo! Entrepreneur Award" from BizTimes Media. She has been helping businesses market themselves online for nearly 15 years. Lori speaks and blogs on the topics of social media, e-commerce, online marketing, and entrepreneurship.

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

Lori uses the six strategies found in "The Miracle Morning" under the acronym SAVORS -- silence, affirmations, visualization, exercise, reading, scribing. ONWARD!

Favorite quote or lesson?

"I dream my painting, then I paint my dream." - Vincent van Gogh

How do you define success?

Success is a lot of things -- I have a lot of different definitions -- celebrate the little victories.

What strategy do you use to combat fear?

Lori believes in doing a "power stance" and positive affirmations -- and Lori tells the reasons why here.

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

An "A player" is passionate, never stops learning, and is driven towards to success.  

Final Round – “Breaking Down the Recipe for Success”

How can we become better mentors?

  1. Always be teaching -- approach everything as a learning opportunity
  2. Do what you're telling others to do
  3. Never stop learning

How can we build an audience?

  1. Be consistent in frequency and value

How can business owners reach that elusive next level?

  1. Get out side of your comfort zone
  2. Join a mastermind group and hire a coach

How best to connect with Lori:

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

Feb 29, 2016

Susan RoAne was a teacher, laid off in a massive budget cut, then created a career change workshop, started her business and authored the book, “How To Work a Room” and 7 other books. Susan now speaks globally for Fortune 20 to Fortune 500 companies, universities, and associations…plus she doesn’t have to grade papers anymore!

Secret – timesaving technique

Susan meets her deadlines -- you get more done when you give yourself deadlines. ONWARD!

Daily habit that contributes to success

Hire someone to do what you don't want to do -- Susan focuses on what she's good at -- like social media -- and delegates the rest.

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

Susan had to take a lot of time off to write a book -- and Susan tells the whole story here.

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

"The buck stops with you."

Most influential lesson learned from a mentor

"My mentor told me to get out from behind a lectern."  

Final Round – “Breaking Down the Recipe for Success”

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

  1. Know what you're going to do -- know your expertise
  2. Have a kitchen cabinet

How best to connect with Susan:

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

Feb 26, 2016

Lee Caraher started Double Forte in 2002 as a new kind of communications firm designed to provide the best service in the business. Previously Executive Vice President at Weber Shandwick, president and founder of Red Whistle, and Vice President of SEGA, Lee has managed multiple offices and hundreds of people of all ages and was named in the 40 under 40 by PRWEEK Magazine. She holds a bachelor’s degree in medieval history -- which she finds useful every day. She lives with her husband and two sons on the San Francisco Peninsula.

Secret – timesaving technique

Lee starts every day by looking at her calendar -- batch your work as much as possible. ONWARD!

Daily habit that contributes to success

Move every day -- Lee moves around if she's been sitting still for more than 45 minutes.

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

Lee lost her biggest client who represented a third of her income -- and Lee tells the whole story here.

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

"The most important thing business owners need to be good at is listening."

Most influential lesson learned from a mentor

"Reset every day so that you don't walk into it with false expectations and assumptions." 

Final Round – “Breaking Down the Recipe for Success”

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

I would have put in more discipline reporting -- even though we had nothing to report.

How to exceed expectations and add the most value?

An individual would ask for help because they know that their work can be improved on.

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

  1. Understand what your special gifts are
  2. Spend your time where it's most viable
  3. If you told yourself that it's too hard -- it's time to do it

How best to connect with Lee:

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

Feb 25, 2016

Matt spent the first nine years of his career as an Air Force pilot before entering the private sector to work in both the medical device and advertising industries. While a top performer in the corporate world, his long-term desire was to be his own boss. A good friend one day mentioned the gumball machines he and his young daughters owned, and that conversation began a 10-year business quest that has brought Matt's company, School Spirit Vending, to the cutting edge of both the vending and school fundraising industries. Today, School Spirit Vending's franchising program provides a proven and profitable business system for busy professionals and their families looking to develop secondary income streams with a limited time commitment.

Secret – timesaving technique

Matt uses an Excel spreadsheet to manage his priorities -- look at your priorities in 90-day increments. ONWARD!

Daily habit that contributes to success

Get up early -- Matt starts focusing on his priorities by getting up before everyone else in his household.

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

Matt had his commission and bonuses cut by $80,000 -- and Matt tells the whole story here.

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

"Hands down -- it's communication."

Most influential lesson learned from a mentor

"There's value in building and maintaining relationships."  

Final Round – “Breaking Down the Recipe for Success”

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

I would have begun promoting and marketing what we do much, much sooner.

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

No doubt about it -- it's keeping your pipeline full.

How to exceed expectations and add the most value?

An individual would have an entrepreneurial mindset themselves.

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

  1. Get started immediately -- stop thinking about it

How best to connect with Matt:

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

Feb 24, 2016

Craig Cody is a Certified Tax Coach and the owner of the New York Accounting Firm, Craig Cody and Company. As a Certified Tax Coach, Craig belongs to a select group of tax practitioners who’ve undergone extensive training and continued education on various tax planning techniques and strategies. Craig is passionate about helping business owners understand the difference between tax planning and tax paying and helping them save significant money. Craig is the co-author of the Amazon bestseller, "Secrets of a Tax Free Life."

Secret – timesaving technique

Craig turns off his email service off at certain times in the day -- take time and turn off the outside world. ONWARD!

Daily habit that contributes to success

Protect your schedule -- Craig blocks out time to do certain tasks.

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

Craig had to fire a very valuable client -- and Craig tells the whole story here.

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

"The ability to multitask but prioritize."

Most influential lesson learned from a mentor

"One word: systems."  

Final Round – “Breaking Down the Recipe for Success”

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

I would have gotten an all-encompassing piece of software.

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

Integrate marketing into your everyday ideas -- marketing is like breathing -- if you stop, you die.

How to exceed expectations and add the most value?

An individual would have a focused team approach.

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

  1. Keep more of what you make

How best to connect with Craig:

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

Feb 23, 2016

Nathan Latka is the host of the brilliant and top ranked podcast The Top and continues to take iTunes by storm. He grew up in Northern Virginia where he learned to love to build things, and he went to Virginia Tech to study architecture. After realizing that nobody was hiring architects after the financial crash of '08-'09, Nathan quickly pre-sold $70,000 worth of Facebook fan page tabs at $700 each. He then learned to code, launched Heyo, raised $2.5 million and increased the revenue to $5 million, grew the team to 25 people, and just sold the company.

Secret – timesaving technique

Nathan pays for people to do tasks that aren't worth his time -- delegate the tasks that you don't need to do yourself. ONWARD!

Daily habit that contributes to success

You have to batch like tasks -- Nathan records 15 podcasts a day, two days a month.

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

Nathan got major backlash for an email he sent -- and Nathan tells the whole story here.

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

"Delegation."

Most influential lesson learned from a mentor

"Ask good questions and trust that you're going to learn something important."

Final Round – “Breaking Down the Recipe for Success”

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

None -- I think I am maybe the smartest in the world at building systems.

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

You can't build systems around the things that you're doing unless you know what you're doing.

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

  1. Don't invent a problem just to be an entrepreneur -- focus on a problem that you face

How best to connect with Nathan:

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

Feb 22, 2016

Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, professional speaker, and bestselling author who works with companies and organizations who want to build loyal relationships with their customers and employees. His articles have been read in hundreds of publications, and he is the author of "Moments of Magic, The Loyal Customer" and the Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestsellers, "The Cult of the Customer" and "The Amazement Revolution," which was also recognized as a New York Times bestseller, and, his latest book, "Amaze Every Customer Every Time." He is also the creator of The Customer Focus program which helps clients develop a customer service culture and loyalty mindset.

Secret – timesaving technique

Shep is handed tomorrow's schedule today -- have a daily plan -- and delegate the creation of that plan out to people better at creating it than. ONWARD!

Daily habit that contributes to success

Use a "daily reflector" -- Shep uses a daily planner and writes down something good that happened to him today, both personally and professionally.

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

Shep's company was sold and his job was gone -- and Shep tells the whole story here.

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

"Delegation."

Most influential lesson learned from a mentor

"The job isn't doing the speech -- it's getting the speech."  

Final Round – “Breaking Down the Recipe for Success”

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

I would have written a book much sooner -- I don't know if I was capable at that time -- but it would have helped my credibility.

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

Get everyone into alignment through communication.

How to exceed expectations and add the most value?

An individual would love their job.

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

  1. Love what you do
  2. Surround yourself with really, really smart people -- both mentors and employees
  3. Create a 10-year plan

How best to connect with Shep:

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

Feb 19, 2016

Shawn Casemore is the President and Founder of Casemore and Co Inc., a management consultancy helping business owners and executives enable their teams to participate in accelerated growth. Shawn is the author of “Operational Empowerment: Innovate, Collaborate and Engage to Beat the Competition” from McGraw Hill. He travels the globe speaking on topics related to improving business performance -- and -- capitalizing on employee empowerment.

Secret – timesaving technique

Shawn notes his three most critical priorities every day -- make sure you've got your priorities straight. ONWARD!

Daily habit that contributes to success

Exercise, call people you don't know, and have a meaningful conversation with someone -- Shawn does all these activities daily to work on his health -- both physical and mental.

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

Shawn parted ways with a company he was doing business with -- his income slowed way down because of it -- and Shawn tells the whole story here.

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

"You need to become adept at prioritizing time."

Most influential lesson learned from a mentor

"Build and sustain confidence -- be comfortable being bold."

Final Round – “Breaking Down the Recipe for Success”

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

I would have been much more diligent at sustaining and keeping in touch with relationships that I've built -- as well as being bold and reaching out directly to people that I could help.

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

Communication is missing in most organizations -- keep the communication flowing by having regular meetings.

How to exceed expectations and add the most value?

An individual would demonstrate caring for the customer.

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

  1. Always be clear on what the fundamentals are for growing your business -- and make sure someone is always focused on them
  2. Be genuine
  3. Be persistent -- you can never, ever, ever give up

How best to connect with Shawn:

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

Feb 18, 2016

Stacy Tuschl is a speaker, business coach, and the owner of The Academy of Performing Arts in Wisconsin. She is the author of “Is Your Business Worth Saving” where she reveals proven strategies for pulling entrepreneurs out of a rut and launching them toward business success. She is the host of the brilliant podcast Business Rescue Road Map.

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

Stacy wakes up before her husband and kids, eats breakfast, drinks tea and an apple cider vinegar drink, does her morning stretches, listens to a podcast, and dives into priority #1 -- take care of yourself physically and mentally right away each morning. ONWARD!

Favorite quote or lesson?

"Work like there is someone working 24 hours a day to take it away from you." - Mark Cuban

How do you define success?

Success is the ability what you want, when you want -- the more successful you are, the better your work-life balance will work for you.

What strategy do you use to combat fear?

Stacy believes realizing that things are harder than we realize is a good thing -- and Stacy tells the reasons why here.

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

An "A player" is smarter than you in their specific area -- and extremely loyal.  

Final Round – “Breaking Down the Recipe for Success”

How can we become better mentors?

  1. Give mentees the skills to help them long-term, not just right now
  2. Lead by example

How can we build an audience?

  1. Practice and get proficient in video -- it's the easiest way to connect
  2. Collection, engagement, and conversion -- these three steps are key for platform building

How can business owners reach that elusive next level?

  1. Get out of your comfort zone -- go somewhere new by yourself
  2. Go somewhere to clear your mind -- take some time to think

How best to connect with Stacy:

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

Feb 17, 2016

Good Morning Onward Nation...this is Stephen Woessner, host of America’s best podcast for learning how today’s top business owners Think, Act, and Achieve. And when I am not interviews today’s top business owners -- I am serving as the CEO of Predictive ROI.

I am thankful, Onward Nation, that you have made the decision to be here -- with me -- right now.

Why?

Because we all have the same 86,400 seconds in a day -- we all have the same number of sacred seconds -- so I consider you being here a sacred exchange of time for value. And I know that I need to be excellent during each and every solocast. In order to be excellent, Onward Nation -- I have to put in the effort -- because it is only through effort can I hope to deliver enough value necessary for you to consider this to be a worthwhile exchange for your time.

But let me share a secret with you. There is an additional motivation -- an additional force that pushes me -- that drives me to be excellent during each and every episode. Working hard -- demonstrating what it takes to be excellent -- not only provides you with value -- but it publicly sets a standard of what is acceptable here at Onward Nation and Predictive ROI. My team sees that -- our clients see that -- and they see what it means to be commitment to being outstanding, every day, without exception. A standard of excellence -- a standard of awesome.

That is how committed I am today solocast topic -- how to be a great mentor.

My most vital priority within Predictive ROI is mentorship -- I am fully committed, Onward Nation, to being the mentor our team members need each day. My greatest gift that I can offer my team is mentorship. To be there to praise them when they need to be praised. To be there to kick them in the pants when they need to be kicked. To be there to hug them when they need to be hugged. To be a friend -- to be a motivator -- to ask them hard questions -- to help them see they can be more powerful than they could ever possibly imagine. To help show them the abundance of God given talent they already possess.

And Onward Nation -- that is your role as a business owner, too. So we are going to focus today’s discussion toward the critical topic of mentorship.

Because whether you want to be one or not -- whether you have accepted the tremendous responsibility that mentorship represents or not -- whether you focus on mentorship as your most vital priority -- you are one, Onward Nation.

Just like in parenting -- right now -- there is someone on your team who is watching your every move -- and your actions -- your actions are showing them your standard -- your standard of you deem to be acceptable. Are you setting excellence as your standard -- or something else? Are you showing them how to become more? Or are you showing them how to become or remain average?

With all of that said -- I don’t consider myself a great mentor -- but I am striving to get better every day. How or from whom do I learn from in order to make this pursuit of excellence a reality?

I work hard and learn every day by studying the incredible wisdom shared by our amazing Onward Nation guests. And during today’s solocast, I am going to share with you several very specific ingredients I have learned from our guests so you can be a great mentor. Please take and apply these ingredients within your company -- so you can create Mentorship Excellence with your team.

Over the past several weeks, I have conducted eight ENCORE interviews with Onward Nation alums. So far, eight guests have already come back to Onward Nation to share their insights on how to be a great mentor. I am grateful for their extreme generosity and demonstration of what it means to be excellence. I love that.

So, my special thanks to...

  • Scott McKain, episodes 1 and 136
  • Don Yaeger, episodes 2 and 160
  • David Long, episodes 5 and 139
  • Shane Stott, episodes 8 and 150
  • Marty Wolff, episodes 7 and 143
  • David Mammano, episodes 17 and 145
  • Larry Broughton, episodes 18 and episode 166
  • Nancy Marshall, episodes 19 and 135
  • Drew McLellan, episode 32 and 167
  • Dr. Marcie Beigel, episodes 82 and 144

Thank you, Onward Nation alumni -- you inspire all of those around you each and every day -- and it is an honor to call you friends -- to call you “mentor.” You have taught me so much.

Okay, Onward Nation -- without further adieu -- let’s dig in. Here’s how to become a great mentor.

Ingredient #1: “Be willing to have difficult conversations” -- Drew McLellan

We as mentors need to have the courage -- be brave enough -- to ask better questions. Don’t be dispensers of advice -- instead -- resist the temptation to give your mentees all of the answers. Ask open-ended questions. Press them to think and find their own solutions.

Drew has taught me that a great mentor is present. A great mentor is present to celebrate. But it is easy to be great when it is all sunshine and rainbows -- when there is something to celebrate. But greatness is also having the courage to be present to commiserate -- to share in the losses -- to show your team how to bounce back into the light. To climb out of defeat -- even if it is one inch at a time, Onward Nation.

Drew also taught me how to be regular -- to be consistent with your mentorship. Mentorship is not a part-time vital priority. It is your most vital priority, Onward Nation. It is not a sometimes thing -- it is an all the time thing.

Ingredient #2: “You have to have a mentor to be a mentor” -- Larry Broughton

In order to be a great mentor -- you have to humble yourself and realize that you in fact need a mentor. Every great business leader -- every great person -- is able to point back to the mentor or mentors he or she had to push them along their journey. And one of the most important skill that we as leaders -- as mentors must possess -- is the drive -- the hunger -- to keep learning. Your ongoing education from podcasts, books, conferences, mentors, represent a body of knowledge and experiences you can then share with your mentees.

And lastly, Larry taught me the importance of just starting. Don’t allow yourself to get sucked into the mistake of thinking there are people who are better than you and that you don’t have anything to offer as a mentor. Those thoughts, Onward Nation, are the imposter syndrome rearing its ugly head. Don’t listen -- press on!

Ingredient #3: “Your mentees must be active participants” -- Don Yaeger

Don has been one of the most influential mentors in my life. During our encore interview, he shared how he frequently receives requests for his mentorship. He always replies to each request with the framework and expectations he has for an excellent mentee. And then majority of people never reply. Why? Because being an excellent mentee is hard work -- but most prospective mentees have the perception that getting a mentor is a way to find someone to do the work for you. No! A great mentors will force their mentees to be an active participant in the mentor-mentee relationship — otherwise you can’t mentor them, Onward Nation!

Ingredient #4: “Be the change you want to see” -- Carl Wright

Carl taught me how great mentors are fully transparent with their team -- they allow their team members to see the wins and to see the losses. We should alway strive for excellence -- 100 percent of the time. But winning 100 percent of the time will never happen. Each loss can be used as a wonderful learning experience -- to give us that pit in our stomach -- that bitter taste in your mouth -- that you never want to experience ever again. And part of being transparent with your team is consistent communication with your entire team -- your entire business -- Carl taught me to allow your team to see your mindset -- to let them behind the green curtain -- or better yet -- raise the curtain. And let your team inside -- they will love you for it.

Ingredient #5: “Set the example” -- Shane Stott

I have seen first hand how Shane leads his team. I have spend many days on-site with him and his team -- watched as he facilitated meeting with his team -- watched as he committed the resources necessary to achieve big goals within his companies. Inspiring to watch. Leading and making the initial decisions is the easy part, Onward Nation. But Shane showed me the critical importance of staying connected with those who you are mentoring -- it is a consistent process of checking in -- mentoring up -- making adjustments -- and continual guidance.

Ingredient #6: “Your mentees are watching your every step” -- David Mammano

Dave stressed to me the importance of being cognizant of what you’re doing -- just like in parenting. Your teammates, Onward Nation, are watching your every step. So if you are not committed to excellence -- and you do it half-way -- don’t be surprised when you get a half effort. If you are not willing to take out the trash -- don’t be surprised when others on your team don’t think it is their responsibility either. If you are not willing to work late -- you are setting an example. Dave taught me the critical importance of not just saying what your mentees should do -- but -- be the example -- by doing it yourself.

Ingredient #7: “Be clear on how your mentee can do it better” -- Dr. Marcie Beigel

Dr. Marcie’s two interviews were powerful. She is a behavioral expert so our conversations along with the lessons learned dug deep into the psychological motivations of mentees and mentors alike. For example...one of Dr. Marcie’s principles is to say what you mean and mean what you say -- which is one of the best ways to ensure you are being clear with your expectations of mentees. How can you expect to hold your mentees accountable when you have not provided clear expectations? If you have not done that, Onward Nation -- you need to know that is on you -- not your mentees. And yes, it will be scary to work through the details -- to provide that level of precise mentorship when you may have never done it before. But, as Dr. Marcie so eloquently said to me, “Stephen -- be scared and do it anyway.” BAM!

Ingredient #8: “Model the behavior you expect of others” -- Marty Wolff

Marty taught me how to be a great mentor from the perspective of integrity. How can someone be a great mentor without integrity -- without being the shining example of what is ethical? And yet, business leaders attempt to do it -- yet -- eventually it catches up to them. Marty stressed to Onward Nation that a great mentor needs to be of high integrity all the time, always look for an opportunity to help someone, and help their mentees see all their possibilities. Help them, Onward Nation, see how they can become more -- and -- are capable of just that. That they have been blessed with an abundance of God given talents -- and your greatest gift to them as their mentor -- is to help instill in them the guts and courage to apply all of their gifts and talents.

Ingredient #10: “Be the mentor you’d want to mentor you” -- David Long

I absolutely love this lesson from David. If you want to be a great mentor to your mentees -- think about the kind of mentor you would want to mentor you. What would he or she do -- teach you -- how would that person push you -- encourage you -- and help you grow? Part of being great is to analyze -- diagnose -- identify all of these points -- and then you push yourself to become more to embody those things. Being a great mentor is also the perfect opportunity to groom your team to take over for you -- so you can exit the day to day operations of the business giving you the time to focus on your most vital priorities -- like being a great mentor.

Ingredient #11: “Walk the talk — so people know whether or not you can do it” -- Scott McKain

Scott teaches us the ultimate in credibility indicator. This lesson of greatness is more than being willing to perform the day-to-day tasks in your company as a good leader -- or a good example should. Instead, it is about you holding your team accountable by walking the talk. For example, great mentors beget great mentors. You must encourage and push your mentees to also be great mentors -- to get out there and find mentees of their own. That is how they learn a completely different level of awesome then they could have learned from you. They need to be in the trenches all on their own. I have several mentors who hold me accountable to walk the talk -- and I walk the talk with my mentees every day -- and I hold them accountable so they walk the talk with their mentees. So walk the talk, Onward Nation.

Ingredient #12: “Spend time with your employees — both in and out of the office — this is how they’ll learn” -- Nancy Marshall

And bringing us home with this very important discussion is the lesson from Nancy -- how can you expect, Onward Nation, for your team to learn from your when your on-boarding process is a baptism by fire. When on their first day at your company -- they have a client meeting that afternoon? That is not setting your team up for success -- that is setting them up for horrible failure. Instead, take them under your wing -- show them how it is done -- that is how they will learn your standards of excellence -- and your employees want your time. The time you can spend with them -- one-on-one is treasured and can be special opportunities for not just mentorship -- but also relationships. If you don’t invest in your team -- don’t expect them to invest their hearts and minds into your business. Spend the time, Onward Nation -- being a great mentor is not something you do as you run past someone’s office -- or the occasional high five in the hallway. Nancy’s emphasis on teaching is an excellent principle -- because being great requires that we teach -- everything we know. That is how you help create A Players, Onward Nation.

So with that...I want to say thank you again for taking the time to be here with me today. It is an honor to have you here -- thank you for tuning in -- 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.

We will be back tomorrow with an incredible ENCORE interview with Stacy Tuschl, the author of the book “Is Your Business Worth Saving?” and the host of the amazing brand new podcast Business Rescue Road Map.

Until then, onward with gusto!

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

Feb 16, 2016

The Wall Street Journal calls Chad Hymas one of the 10 most inspirational people in the world! In 2001, at the age of 27, Chads life changed in an instant when a 2,000-pound bale of hay shattered his neck leaving him a quadriplegic. But Chad’s dreams were not paralyzed that day he became an example of what is possible. Chad inspires, motivates, and moves audiences, creating an experience that touches hearts for a lifetime. Chad is a best selling author, president of his own Communications Company, Chad Hymas Communications, Inc. and is a world-class wheelchair athlete. Chad’s speaking in the areas of leadership, team building, customer service, and mastering change has brought him multiple honors. He has graced the stage of hundreds of professional and civic organizations including Wells Fargo, Blue Cross Blue Shield, AT&T, Rainbird, IHC, American Express, and Prudential.

Secret – timesaving technique

Chad puts his daily tasks into four different categories -- organize your tasks so that they'll get completed at the right time. ONWARD!

Daily habit that contributes to success

Start the day off right -- Chad says a prayer every morning and reads verses from the bible.

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

Chad's dad walked away from him -- and Chad tells the whole story here.

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

"You need to realize you have the ability an influence over other people."

Most influential lesson learned from a mentor

"Go find someone to serve without being asked to do so and watch what happens."  

Final Round – “Breaking Down the Recipe for Success”

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

I would have taken more risks.

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

Have a strategic plan, make it simple, and break it into parts.

How to exceed expectations and add the most value?

An individual would realize the people we serve are our greatest assets.

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

  1. Hang out with people more successful than you
  2. Focus on what you have, not your losses

How best to connect with Chad:

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

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