“The Dream. I saw it big.”

I met a little while ago with Martin from ZOOM! Building and Property Care.  I originally met Martin at a Surrey and Langley Business Support Network Meet-Up.  I got to know a bit about his business but not enough about him.  I asked him “When you started your business, what did you think about most each day?”  I was pleasantly surprised with his answer because it is one of the things in business and life that I believe in the most.

“The Dream.  I saw it big.” he answered.   “I know what I wanted it to look like.  I know how many clients I want each day.  I know how many staff I want to be working with each day.  I know the dollar value I want to be billing.  So that is where I spent a lot of time.  Then it was breaking it down to how do we get there from here?”

I asked him if he wrote down his dreams.  “Yes” he answered.  “I don’t have it framed up on my wall but it’s on a scratch pad somewhere on my desk.”  And of course, because it is “somewhere” on his desk, he doesn’t look at it daily “but I know very specifically what it is that I am shooting for.  It’s not complicated and it’s always on the top of my mind.”

I asked him if he had a date for his goals to be completed.  “No I didn’t   I know that’s a ‘no no’ and I can’t tell you why I didn’t  but I didn’t   I’m pretty well a connect the dots person.  I have a hard time putting a dream out there that I can’t see a line to.  I understand that there is a lot of faith in the process.  If you put it out there, it will happen but I like to see how the dots connect.”

I am a big believer in “The Secret” and what you put out there, you will manifest.  That is why I am writing this today.  I told him about a friend of mine, Meeka Caissie who is a very successful leader and partner with Vemma and a woman who is well connected to philosopher Bob Proctor.  She has been helping me with my vision and my dreams and one thing that she tells me is to set a date.  If I say it will happen next week, when next week comes, there is always another next week.

Do YOU have a dream?  Did YOU set a date?  If so, please share it with us.  Putting it out there might help it to manifest quicker.

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What marketing works best for you?

Doug Anderson of DA Top Talent

Doug Anderson of DA Top Talent

Back in June, I introduced you to Doug Anderson of DA Top Talent.  One of the things that I know about Doug is that he is a connector.  Recently he hosted a number of his Rapid Time Networks team at a Vancouver Canadians game.  We sat with him and his son so that Nathan would have someone to talk to.  As it ended up, we mostly sat with his son because Doug was jumping all over the stands connecting people.

When we met I asked him what form of marketing he did when he started DA Top Talent.

He told me that it was mainly referrals and word of mouth.  He put up a web site, got business cards, attended networking events and became members of various organizations “but a lot of it didn’t work and a lot of it was a lot of time spent without any return.”  Doesn’t this sound familiar?  “I’ve been lucky and blesses that I’ve had some great people to help along the way.  In return I usually get an unsolicited referral from most of my customers, and that has allowed me to have a very busy and successful last 10 years.”

I know Doug does a fair bit of networking.  I asked him if that worked for him.  “In some cases but I think, gone are the days of networking and just showing up to one event per week because that was the industry event.  Now there are literally 3000 Meetup groups that you can attend.  I think it has even become more difficult to get traction in a networking environment.  Especially when you are going to half a dozen different ones each week.  My advice would be to find 2 or 3 that you really like and go regularly without the expectations of getting a referral.  And to go there, make an impact and help the group with their achievements.  Then you’ll find the referrals will flow after.”

Please tell my your networking philosophy.

Finding Your Own Niche.

Clock made with a boudoir photo taken by Karen at Amber Light Photography

This is one of the boudoir photos that Karen of Amber Light Photography took. We make it into a clock for her.

Happy Canada Day to all my Canadian friends.  The last week or so have been quite busy.  Along with working on growing my Anything on a Clock business and working on this project, I have also taken on a basement suite renovation for a friend of mine.  Unfortunately my blog has suffered a bit in the last week and for that I am truly sorry.

When I met with Karen Learmonth of Amber Light Photography a few weeks ago, I asked her what was the most important quality you needed to grow your business?

“Definitely persistence.  If you have a bunch of people telling that that you can’t do what you want to do, you won’t stick with it.” Karen answered.   In the field of photography there is so much competition.  You need to be able to be persistent.  “You have to continue to look at new ways of doing things.  Continually making sure that you are staying one step ahead and finding your own niche.  You won’t do that if you aren’t persistent.”  Karen has found her niche. Along with her traditional amazing photography, Karen is known in the photography world for her  boudoir photography.

When I talked to Martin Jongejan of Zoom! Building and Property Care and Ever After Photography, he echoed Karen’s thoughts about the competition in the photography industry.  He told me that the problem is that because we are now in the the digital age, anyone with a camera and Photoshop can call themselves a photographer.  Unfortunately only the real persistent photographers will thrive.

What is the most important quality do you think you need to grow your business?

It was all about building relationships, credibility and trust

Patrick van Ponder - The Big Picture Coach

Patrick van Ponder – The Big Picture Coach

I met Patrick von Pander, The Big Picture Coach, 5 years ago.  I was going to the Self Employment Program at Douglas College and he was our networking instructor.  He taught us to leave our comfort when it came to networking. 

One of the questions that I asked Patrick was can you explain the impact, if any, that social networking to your business when you were just starting up?

“Well how do we define social networking?” he asked “If it’s live, then I would say it would be foundational for me.  If it was online, when I started my own business, it had little or no role to play.”  When Patrick first started his coaching business, there really wasn’t any online “Social Media”.  I asked him if he did most of his networking face to face.  “You bet yah.” he replied.  “I was attending two, three, four networking events a week, 50 weeks a year.  And I was building my data base like my mentor taught me to.  It was all about building relationships, credibility and trust.”

Probably the most valuable piece of networking advice I ever gotten was from Patrick.  On the first day of class he stood up at the front of the class and asked us how many people we knew.  Think about it for a second.  How many people do you know?  How many people have you met in your life? 

Then he said the one sentence that I live by when I go to a networking event.

“I know that you know a lot of people but I know a lot of people that you don’t know.” 

When I go to a networking event representing Anything on a Clock, I am not there to sell to the people that are at the event clocks.  I am there to meet people and see who in my network could possibly benefit from the product or service the person that I am talking to is promoting.

Now I would like to challenge you.  Take one online connection that you have and take it offline.  Go have a coffee with someone that you met through social media and see how you could do business together. 

But how do you measure success?

Heinz and Eric Hasselmann

Heinz and Eric Hasselmann of Century Pacific Foundry

During the first 5 months of my blog, I have talked with a lot of business owners.  Many of them are quite successful.  Some of them you will read about in this blog.  However, a lot of them are struggling and that is the reason that I am writing this blog…  To help inspire small business owners.

One of the recurring themes that I hear when talking to the struggling business owner is “the economy is killing me” or “the competition is too stiff” or…..  You get the drift.  There is always an excuse for not succeeding.

My first interview was with Heinz Hasselmann.  A German immigrant who started Century Pacific Foundry in 1968.  He had a bit of experience, very little money and didn’t speak very much English.

In the beginning…

In 1968, Century Pacific Foundry had just 10 employees.  The owner Heinz would do sales calls in the morning, and then work in the foundry, shovelling sand, or whatever he needed to do.

Jump forward to 1991, when his son Eric joined the company, they had 30 – 35 employees and on a good day they were producing less than 13 000 pounds of metal castings per day, and all by hand.

Now they are at 70 employees and are averaging 40 000 pounds of metal per day and can pour 56 different types of metal.

Through out this project, I will be interviewing successful owners of many companies.  But how do you measure success?  Heinz Hasselmann is an immigrant from Germany who came to Canada with almost nothing in 1952.  He struggled with the perception of being a German in Canada in 1952.  In a time where Canada wasn’t as culturally diverse as it is today.  And yes, he struggled financially at the beginning.  With the help of a few suppliers and having ideal customers at the beginning, Heinz was able to grow Century Pacific Foundry into one of the main foundries in North America.  Thanks to his stubborn German pride, Heinz Hasselmann is the definition of success.

What are your obstacles and how do you plan to eliminate them?

What inspires you?

Blair Kaplan of Blair Kaplan Communications

Blair Kaplan of Blair Kaplan Communications

A few weeks ago I met with Blair Kaplan of Blair Kaplan Communications and a group coupon sight called Living Free Canada.  What impressed me the most about her is how much of an energy ball she is.  I just had to ask her how she stays inspired to do what she does.

“I think what inspires me the most is when I tell someone what I am doing and they get genuinely excited about it.”  The day that we met, she had another meeting with a woman that she had just met a couple days before.  This woman was so excited about her energy and the direction that Blair was going with her businesses that she instantly had people in mind that could help Blair’s business grow.

Blair also developed a love for yoga when she was with Lululemon Athletic Apparel and in what spare time she has, she runs kids yoga birthday parties.  “They love it.  I teach them focus and patience and it works on flexibility and their breathing.”  She calls them Prince and Princess Parties.  The music that she uses is inspirational Disney music.  “I sometimes teach 4 year olds.  They love it.”

I told her that my 6 year old has the attention span of a moth.  “The thing about Yoga is you roll with it.  If they can’t sit still, we make the yoga mats into a canoe and we canoe to the jungle.  And we become warriors and we hunt for trees.  It’s fun.”

One of the interesting things about this project is to discover how different we all are and yet we are all the same.  For me, my 6 year old is my inspiration.  The first clock that I ever did was of him and that hangs in my office.  Whenever I need inspiration, I look at  him.  Blair uses her energy and the energy from the people around her as her inspiration.

What is your inspiration?

Do you have an exit strategy?

Gary from @BlueFur and Raul

Gary from @BlueFur and Raul (Photo credit: miss604)

In a previous life, Gary Jones from Freedom 55 Financial created a web host business called BlueFur.  He grew it to a point where he was no longer able to manage it.  As any successful business owner knows, you should have an exit strategy.  He did and after 8 years of growing BlueFur, he used it.

When I sat down and talked to Gary, one of the questions that I asked him was one of my favorites, suggested by Melissa Musika of Indivine Visual Productions.  “If you could go into a time machine and go back to the day you started your business, what advice would you give yourself?”

“When I think about that” Gary explained “I didn’t have any processesw in place.”  Being a new business, he didn’t know how everything would look like when he grew it beyond twelve thousand customers.  For example, he thought that he could do all of the invoicing through PayPal.  Probably not the easiest thing to track when you have thousands of customers.  “I wasn’t really thinking about how it would look when I wanted to sell the business.  I didn’t put the processes in place that I wanted to in the end, which would not only have made it easier to run but also for selling it later on.”

Do you have procedures?  Do you have an exit strategy?  For a lot of small businesses, the answer is no.  If you don’t have any, maybe it’s time you get your procedures in place.  You never know what tomorrow might bring.

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