7 Questions for a Fulfilling 2015

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Consider for a moment. If you only had six months to live, how would you begin to see or change your life today? Would you have the same relationship, career, business, routine? Would you live in the same place, city or country? Life passes so quickly and before we know it, a week, a month and a decade have already passed.

With a deep sense of humility, an abundance of fun and a treasure trove of hope, consider answer the following questions as part of your goals for 2015.

1. Where would you live?

If you had no history, ties or obligations, where would you absolutely love to live? I’m talking about taking out the map, dreaming big and choosing a place that you have always dreamed about. Is it where you are now? If not, ask yourself what is keeping you from being there? Is it fear, trappings or limiting beliefs? What can you do to start planning to make this dream a reality? The fact is that if you made it where you are now, you can make it anywhere.

2. Who would you choose to live with?

Who would you choose to love or live with if you had no ties with the person you are with today? Would you pick the same relationship that you are in now? Staying in a relationship or in a peer group because of economics, comfort or years invested never serves anyone in the long term. Who do you need to be in an extraordinary relationship. What kind of people do you want in your life?

3. What passion will you pursue?

If you could earn money doing what you love, what would it be? What kind of passions or interests would you pursue, share or experience. Whatever you’re interested in, I guarantee that someone is doing it and earning a living at it. Once you’ve decided what you would really like to do, make it a part of your daily routine or start asking yourself quality questions on how to make it a vehicle for income, purpose and passion in your life.

4. What freedoms would you create?

If everyone in the world lost their sight, what things will you let go of? What freedoms could you create by letting go of those things that trap or limit your growth? So much greatness and potential is behind labels and material things, and the true person inside gets lost in the clutter. List those things do you desire or have that you could let go of and in the process, add more inner quality to your life.

5. What would be your new identity?

How would you describe yourself if you couldn’t use any labels such as your profession, academics, economic status or interests? Expanding the labels and titles we use for ourselves can tremendously broaden our fulfillment and experiences in life. The reality is that labels and titles only represent 1% of who we are and what we’re about to become. When we open our mind and begin to connect at levels without limits, we can begin to really understand each other and connect at higher levels.

6. How will you be remembered?

If you had to achieve one great thing that would leave a legacy, what would it be? Leaving a legacy isn’t always about changing the world or an abundance of wealth for generations to come, it can be as simple and powerful as being an outstanding mother, friend or partner – to being a person with true integrity. Once you’ve imagined yourself as the person you want to become, list what you are willing to do and why this is a must.

7. What joys or dreams would you reclaim?

What if the 5 year old you, filled with dreams and positivity were here today? Would he/she be happy to see where you are today or would he kick your ass? The reason children develop, grow and experience so many things in such a short time is because they haven’t yet learned how to set limitations for themselves. Reclaim lifelong dreams and start taking steps towards what filled your heart and imagination and make them a reality.

Again, ask yourself if you really knew that in 6 months your life would end, what would you change? I promise that being truly honest with yourself and setting the right path will change your life and destiny forever. If you’re scared but really want change, find quality peers to support you. Every step, no matter how small today, will slowly open up a path before you that in 2 months and 2 years from now will give you a completely new level of experience, fulfillment, love and joy.

Finally, we experience fulfillment and growth when we go outside of our comfort zone. That’s when life is exciting, challenging and presents new opportunities! The problem is that sometimes our comfort zone is just too comfortable, and we surrounded ourselves with too much ‘stuff’ which makes it nearly impossible to move. These ‘trappings’ as I call them are what keep us either repeating the past or slowing our future growth. Getting refocused on where we are, re-evaluating what has held us back and re-aligning ourselves to where we really want to be should be as important as making sure you have a roof over your head and food to eat each gift of a day.

► Download this article as a pdf here: http://wp.me/p1SFI8-I

 

By Erik Kikuchi
TEC Chair I Canada’s Leading Technology Triangles
Email: ekikuchi@tec-canada.com

TEC Canada I The Executive Committee Ltd., is a proud affiliate of Vistage International

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1. The mindset of goal achievement: http://wp.me/p1SFI8-1u
2. Experiencing happiness beyond net worth: http://wp.me/p1SFI8-19
3. 10 Brilliant Ways to Avoid Opportunity: http://wp.me/p1SFI8-gK

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A million in revenue without investors

Despite a lack of traditional education, money and experience before starting my first company nearly 17 years ago, I knew from an early age I had a fighting chance to succeed. As part of my studies into human behavior and human needs psychology, I tried to uncover what are some of the fundamental beliefs of those who, despite many challenges, have succeeded.

What I have narrowed it down to is three key beliefs. These are the critical things that I discerned from the most successful leaders I studied that truly helped me build my first company – to $1.3 million in sales. Today I still use these beliefs. Not just in my own businesses, but in teaching other entrepreneurs and companies as well.

Three beliefs that made
my company’s first million.


Belief #1: The harder the obstacle, the bigger the reward
Sounds simple doesn’t it? But there are so many people I’ve met who have only excuses why they didn’t start, or couldn’t start, building to fulfil their dreams. You won’t feel a true sense of accomplishment without some hard work along the way. The greater the struggle, the greater the fulfillment and reward.

The best leaders haven’t always been in charge! As you dig deeper into the entrepreneur mindset, you’re going to uncover the strategies and challenges of how to continually develop your skills. Remember, you can never grow a bigger muscle without some sort of resistance and building the entrepreneur mind is much like that; when you use it often and keep testing its limits, you will grow and build your strength where others wish they had it!

As long as it’s not contrary to my values and my integrity, I will always find a way! My belief is that we can accomplish almost anything we set our mind to; if we fully commit. It’s simply a matter of time and approach. Also it’s not just who you know now, it’s who you additionally seek out during the process.

Belief #2: Change is nothing – solving a bigger problem is everything
When building my own businesses, or advising and helping others, my goal is to continually strive to solve bigger problems than anyone else is trying to overcome. Whatever your industry or market, whatever your size, expertise and financial level, with this belief you could double or perhaps even triple your results. I doubled my sales each year without a university degree or prior experience. Almost anyone can do the same with the right beliefs.

My first company was a graphic design studio; four of us worked from my basement. Early one morning, I called a meeting with my sales rep and two junior designers. I told my sales rep we were going to ask one of our biggest clients what their top three challenges were in marketing their products. Not to ask what their budgets were, or what more work can we get. We were not even an agency at that time, but I knew that, in order to double our annual sales again, we had to become more valuable and solve a bigger problems.

What happened during our presentation to the company? Just when we thought we were done, they asked us to present to the President and founder of the company. Did we win the account? Yes. Did we ask better questions than any other ad agency in Toronto that ultimately led us to better answers and solutions for our client? Absolutely.

Belief #3: Ask and you shall receive, but be sure you ask the right question
A friend of mine runs a successful manufacturing company. A few years ago, worried about the economy and that everyone was outsourcing to another country, he was pondering if he would have a business in a few years’ time. “Should I carry on or find something new before I go bankrupt?” he asked.

So here’s a quick coaching insight: whenever you have one option you have no choice. Create two options then you have a dilemma, add a third option and then you begin to have a choice.

So I replied: “Why not ask yourself a question that presupposes the best desired outcome? Give yourself a third option.” He sat forward at his desk as I continued: “Ask yourself how you could transform your current business into not only meeting the needs of the North American marketplace, but to also expand profitably into a new markets, setting a new industry standard while solving a bigger problem than anyone else?” Or: “Why don’t you just expand into these other countries which are just starting in your industry and contribute your experience and key strategies to advance the industry and people there?”

Now he had a choice and right now … his business is doing phenomenally well.

 

Written by,

Erik Kikuchi
TEC Chair I Canada’s Leading Technology Triangles
Email: ekikuchi@tec-canada.com

TEC Canada I The Executive Committee Ltd., is a proud affiliate of Vistage International


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►Building & Selling a Startup in 15 Months

Selling in 15 months.jpgBy Erik Kikuchi

A series of lessons and tools of building and selling my latest startup.

Most of us have experienced sales processes that are either drenched in systemized steps or streamlined with efficient technology. I have uncovered a great number of growing businesses that have a wealth of opportunity before them – but they got lost in over-utilized technology and/or conventional sales systems.

That is why prior to starting company number four, the decision off the bat was to challenge conventional start-up steps. Not to be innovative or different, but I knew what the trials, tribulations and years traditionally involved. Now, without surprise (as I’m attracted to challenges like a bull to red), I was faced with disadvantages ahead of the starting gate.

Since my product was designed to help solve the financial, emotional and physical challenges facing independent seniors while aging-in-place, the first challenge I met was that I had no medical background or experience in health care or senior care.  In fact, I had zero industry connections or knowledge of our healthcare system.

So I asked….

“What can I do, starting today, to attract key decision makers and referral sources while simultaneously building my network, industry knowledge, and authority?”

Strategy #1.  Selling and Networking – prior to launch.

In the months prior to launching, it was a personal mission to meet and have a conversation with those in the industry who both had influence and insight. The success came with meeting with doctors, nurses, facility directors, occupational therapists, personal support workers, healthcare educators, advocates, lawyers, and so on.

The meeting was centred on their experiences, perspectives and challenges. If they insisted I share what I was working on – I shared the key points of what I was working on solving, and who the key benefactors would be, in five minutes tops. Following, I opened the floor to their opinion, advice and even, overwhelming support.

Without a corporate address, company name, website or business card (but with a well thought out system and strategy) 150 meetings were secured and a new network of over 1500 LinkedIn Canadian Healthcare professionals were made across Canada, all before the launch date.

Was there a purpose to this strategy beyond education of the industry? Yes, this also helped to gain valuable insight into more precise market positioning, network through invitations and 1-on-1 meetings with my new peers . It also laid the foundational ground for a wide network of referral sources, all without a dime of advertising dollars.

This pre-launch strategy also attracted an invitation to discuss and present my product at a Gerontology Research Conference at the Simon Fraser University to over 400 industry and government officials.  Opportunities like these came in many forms because of the strategic positioning – focusing on learning more about the challenges the industry was facing, not pitching a product.

“Get a divorce from your offering and have a relationship with the needs and problems of your future customers.”

Continually build yourself as an industry expert by constantly seeking to solve a bigger problem in your industry either on your own or with other professionals in and outside your industry.  When meeting with new connections – ask genuinely how they see things evolving and be curious on their perspectives on what is working and not working in the industry as it pertains to what you are both respectively solving.

Conclusion:  Open doors and build your network and expertise in your industry by focusing on the problem that needs to be solved, not a product or service that needs to be sold.

Erik Kikuchi
TEC Chair I Canada’s Leading Technology Triangles
Email: ekikuchi@tec-canada.com

TEC Canada I The Executive Committee Ltd., is a proud affiliate of Vistage International

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7 Keys to ‘Getting More of What you Want”

Seven Keys

Fortunately, this is not a get success quick claim.  What is uncovered here are simple action steps virtually anyone can take to help them move closer and faster to what they want.  To many times I meet good hearted people, hard working people loose opportunities simply because they missed that one critical insight that can make the world of difference to their life. With this gift, I ask you take a serious look at these seven keys and identify which ones could give you an immediate or long-term competitive advantage in your business, career and life.

The Seven keys to getting more of what you want.

1. Ask

So many opportunities have been lost because someone never just ‘asked’. The first basic rule is to simply ask for what you want. As simple as it sounds, you’d be surprised how many people never ask because they’re scared of the word ‘no’. Remember, you are just as worthy as everyone else in this world; so never give up. Trust yourself to get your fair share of all the abundance this great world has to offer. Keep on asking and people will start to say yes.

2. Request permission

I have found it has worked countless times when I or someone else is very respectful and polite and seeks permission to ask someone a question before speaking or communicating detail in writing. The great thing about this insight is that when they say “yes”, that triggers their interest in the specifics to come. Many people simply charge in, never consider asking permission to take up other people’s time or get feedback; do the opposite and it makes you stand out even more.

3. Ask with rapport

Have you ever made a quick judgment of someone you met for the first time where you knew within minutes that you liked them or not? That is why you also need to build rapport. Learning the tools of matching and mirroring people through their tonality, physiology and the words they use will really increase your levels of success. The simple truth is that people like people who are like themselves. People will be more incline to help you if they like you.

4. Create value first

Giving’ before you ask to receive is a critical part of any business relationship and can work wonders for your name. Take the time and clients how they are doing – first. This opens the golden door to the law of reciprocation. You may find that it’s not the right time to ask, which is invaluable to learn because timing is so important. Never rush and you’ll know and feel when the time is right. Yes you have your own agenda that’s important to you, but put yourself in the other person’s shoes – do they have time for you right now?

5. Ask specifically

I’m not a guru or genius by any means, but I do get countless emails asking for advice. What are extremely rare are the ones that have their question laid out in a clear and specific way. A vague question, if answered at all, will get you a typically vague answer. I wouldn’t expect you to ask me how to make a million; I want to hear something like: “How can I begin to earn a million dollars in assets with a $100,000 investment over 10 years using my experience in real estate and my passion to help others?” Ask a specific question and you can expect a specific answer. Be direct and you’ll certainly be moving in the right direction.

6. Ask someone credible

When I was personally ready for marriage, I didn’t ask my other single friends for advice; I asked people who were both happily married and fulfilled. If you ask the people who have the results you desire, your success rate skyrockets. Ask someone who’s created what you want and find out more about how they did it.

7. Ask with belief

Imagine a salesperson in your favorite store walking reluctantly up to you, looking downcast and asking in a low monotone voice if you really wanted to buy anything in the store. Whatever your question, you must ask it with belief that, no matter the answer, you will find a way! Positive energy with expectation is far more powerful and attractive than low level energy that is draining.

8. Bonus step – ask with integrity and honesty

One of the fundamental philosophies of my business success, and now my teaching, is that prosperity comes through integrity. When you ask with integrity and honestly, I know this skill will be the greatest pathway to your success in getting the things you desire. Too many people are in the habit of just ‘taking’ from others without first considering the other person’s needs and what they will want from the process. It can take years to build a truly strong relationship; a dishonest thought or action can lose it in two minutes.

Now of course, this is not just about business; this can relate to any aspect of your life. How you ask and what you ask for says the world about you and dictates your results moving forward. Don’t let your future come by chance. Design your life, get the skills and tools you need to rise above the norm and connect more with others for yourself and your future. Because anything is possible, it’s what you do in the process that makes the difference if you are to get more of what you want – or less of what you don’t. Make your life an example of what’s truly possible. Don’t hesitate and do something, or even a number things, this week! Take on some things that you haven’t done before that will take you towards reaching your ultimate goal. Remember, we can only achieve new results when we begin something new. Commit, decide and take positive action!

“You cannot solve a problem with the same mind that created it. First you must change the mind.” –Wayne Dyer

 

By Erik Kikuchi
TEC Chair I Canada’s Leading Technology Triangles
Email: ekikuchi@tec-canada.com

TEC Canada I The Executive Committee Ltd., is a proud affiliate of Vistage International

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Finding one’s brilliance, in a disability.

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For her family, a homeless mother triumphs.  A true story, from my travels across south america.

We had already had a long day. Sitting cramped in the back of a small van, I began to wonder who we were about to meet next as we left on our way to serve the next homeless family. This was my first trip to Santiago, Chile in 2006, but not my first visit with children and families on the streets. As we approached our next stop, my translator turned around and said, “We’re almost there Erik. Now remember what the people at the organization told you. This lady is different, she’s not like the others we met this past week. She has 3 children, but really doesn’t have the mental capabilities to care for them. She is mentally unstable – I believe is the right term.”

Keeping my comments to myself, I leaned back in my seat and began to remember the time when my mother and I lived in a home with drug dealers after our move from the parks where we had lived It was common for the guys to tell me bad things about my mother when she left for food. Even though I was only around 8 years old, I had the intelligence to see and know where this information was coming from. These people only saw less than one percent of who my mom really was. They never saw all other great things she had done in her life and all the hard decisions she had to make at such an early age with 2 young boys. How could anyone label her after just 2 days vs. the 9,125 days of her life that she had already lived, experienced and grown as a woman? More importantly, did my mother even accept this label?

We arrived at our destination. Parking in front, I could see a small lady standing over a burning garbage canister adding more wood to it in order to keep warm. As I crawled out of the van, I also began to notice her small so-called “home” which appeared to be made of scraps of wood, sheet metal and a lot of garbage. It was on a small piece of land surrounded by streets, tucked under a overpass. Surprisingly enough, it was in one of the safer areas I’ve been to on this mission. “Now remember Erik, if she seems a bit different, off, or strange it’s because she has a mental disability.” Thinking to myself, didn’t he just tell me this? Either there’s a real problem with her, or they’re just trying to prepare me. I knew they meant well, but they should be careful of what they say because it’s amazing how one belief can spread through others like a plague if no one is guarding the gates of their mind.

I’ve learned in my life is that once you label someone or something, you lose all ability to connect with them and help them at the highest level. Most labels only satisfy the person who is labeling the other. “Well it’s clear you have ADD, you can’t focus on one thing, you get bored easily and it’s hard for you to remain seated in the classroom and take proper instruction without getting distracted.”   Wait, a child, who can’t focus on one thing? I can list countless board meetings and negotiations where CEO’s, Financial Advisors, Presidents and sales executives displayed signs of this label. And, it seemed to work out well for them!

As we walked up to her and her newly-made fire ablaze in an old rusty canister, her kids ran out of the small shelter. “What’s this?” I said smiling to my group, “How could 3 kids let alone a mother fit inside there?” It was smaller than a guest bathroom in a standard house! As they got closer, they all apologized for coming out so late – it was because they were just finishing their homework for class in the morning. From what I could see, the boy was around 12, the two girls were maybe 6 and 9 years old.

A few facts. In Chile, it’s illegal for anyone to build a shelter or structure on private or government property. It would be torn down within days. Also, in order for children to get free public education, they must have a physical address. Otherwise they would be considered non-residents and would not have access to any education whatsoever. So my key question stemmed from these two facts. I told the translator, “Please ask her how it is possible for her to maintain a place to live in, and second, how has she managed to have all 3 of her children in school? Every day, hundreds of families living on the streets are continually on the move because they have no place to sleep, no address, and none of their children go to school.”

As she began to answer, yes it was apparent that she spoke a bit differently, and carried herself in a unique way. However, in order to be an agent of change, I knew I had to see far beyond what others saw and thought. As she continued to answer, I noticed that she was extremely shy – her head fell forward while momentarily glancing upward to see if anyone was really listening. My heart went out to her. It appeared that she was feeling uncomfortable about what she was explaining. When she finished, the translator made a slight sign, paused for a minute, looked at the kids then turned towards me.

He said, “Erik what she told me is that yes, she’s been here for almost 4 years. During that time she has found some people to help her make the small shelter. How she is able to live here is interesting as well,” He began to point up to his right, “She told me that under this overpass is the border between two municipalities. Therefore, this small piece of land is sort of in unmarked Technically it’s not even on the map. So she made her home here. Maria works at night collecting cardboard while her children sleep. She is saving up to hopefully someday to get enough money for a down payment on a government subsidized home.” My heart filled with amazement. I said anxiously, “What about the education? Children here cannot go to school unless they have an address.” He replied, “Ah yes, sorry I didn’t tell you that part. Since she’s wedged between two legal streets – she made up her own street and address and wrote down the two real ones as intersection on the forms. That way, her children would have an address and could go to school. Kind of funny, actually.”

“Funny”? I I looked at my translator and the caseworkers very seriously and asked them to translate to the woman, ensuring that her children stood by her side. I crouched down to look up at her as she held her head in shame. “Maria, I have been all through Peru, and here in Chile. I have met hundreds of mothers and their children. I want to tell you that you are by far the smartest woman I have met during my travels.”

My support team stopped and gazed at me with question, “Not only do you have the intelligence, creativity and determination to build a home for you and your children, you have done it in a way that thousands of other homeless families have not, and to add to that, you found a way for your children to go to school. You, in my eyes, and as in God’s eyes, are much more than what others have labeled you – you are a perfect and outstanding person, mother and woman. You are not disabled or mentally challenged and those who fail to see the greatness in you really need to take a deeper look – not at you, but at ” I thanked her for her gift to us, to her family and I promised that I would tell her amazing story to thousands. What an inspiration Maria is, now it’s your turn.

What is one of the biggest obstacles to success? It’s falling into the trap of listening to those around you and taking their opinion about what you can accomplish. I’ve never been big on the opinions of others, as they are just that, opinions. Labels or judgments made can be your best friend or worst enemy. You, and you alone, have the right to decide for yourself what you are capable of – and that is anything you want. Listening to others’ limitations, which are usually of and about themselves is not a way for anyone to grow and serve at the highest level. Whenever someone says you can’t do or be something, smile and know it’s simply their belief and theirs alone. If you are reading this – I believe it’s because either you found something in this article that resonates with you or for someone you care about.

Now ask yourself, when would be a good time to revisit an old unsupporting label or belief? Let’s give it a serious look. If you found one that no longer serves you – smile at it and say, “Thank you for spending this time with me, but it’s time I move on because there are many great new experiences, lessons and opportunities waiting for me. You’re always welcome to come and say hello, but by that time my life, my happiness and success will have flourished, and you’ll simply no longer fit.”

“Maria, don’t ever let anyone’s limitations or labels about what or who they think you are or what they themselves can’t accomplish stop you from being anything but the perfect human being that you are.”
By Erik Kikuchi
TEC Chair I Canada’s Leading Technology Triangles
Email: ekikuchi@tec-canada.com

TEC Canada I The Executive Committee Ltd., is a proud affiliate of Vistage International

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10 Brilliant Ways to Avoid Opportunity

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If a person believes that there are almost no opportunities, no breaks in life, and that the best things happen to other people who seem to be less qualified than them, than there is a good chance they are successfully telling opportunities to go elsewhere. In the end, it’s what we do, think and say that not only teaches others how we want to be treated, it also indirectly tells people what we believe about ourselves.

The good news is that to attract more opportunity you just need to correct a few bad habits that may be unknowingly hurting your progress. The path to correcting these bad habits begins with recognizing what they are, when they occur, and the  consequences of not trying to change them. By knowing what you want to do, and how you want to behave in exchange, you can attract more success and opportunity.

Here are 10 brilliant ways to avoid opportunity:

1. Find the best excuse you can.

“This isn’t my responsibility”, “I’m not a person to rely on”, “someone else can do this.” One of the best ways to avoid opportunities is to give an excuse for even the smallest things. How can you be trusted with bigger opportunities if you give excuses or reasons as to why you can’t do the smaller things?

Quick Fix: To attract more positive people, situations, and opportunities, it’s OK to focus on the problems – but be sure you also invest an equal amount (if not much more) energy, effort and focus into finding a solution.

2. Always think you have enough time.

Opportunities are often missed because of a lack of reliability. By being late with a deadline or tardy to a meeting, you’re telling the other person who waited that your time is far more important then theirs. This causes mistrust by those who would normally turn to you for an important task or opportunity.

Quick Fix: Always be on time. Never use “bad traffic” or “I lost track of time” as an excuse. It’s better to leave early and be over prepared – this tells the other person you are both organized and value their time.

3. Embrace “Try”, “Should” and “Maybe.”

Imagine your partner using words such as “try”, “should” and “maybe” during your vows on your wedding day.  How confident would you be that things would be successful? How trusting would you be that your partner will do what it takes to make things work?  These words tell others that you’re really not that sure or committed, and are willing to see if things can just “come together” at no fault of your own.

Quick Fix: Words like “must”, “I will”, and “whatever it takes” not only sound impressive, but they can jolt your mind into thinking, “this is really going to happen!”

4. Make weak or overly impressive promises.

An unfulfilled promise can sometimes do the worst damage. You may not realize the depth someone else will take a promise, or is depending on you to follow though, that can seriously damage the relationship if not completed.

Quick Fix: Sometimes, it’s best to under promise and over deliver. Larger than life promises may raise a red flag with others; they may not take it as seriously as a promise they know and trust can be completed and properly managed.

5. Always ask what’s in it for you.

By always expecting immediate returns or asking what in it for you, you will attract the very thing you’re trying to avoid: other people looking to avoid the short end of the deal.  In business, if you only give what was paid for, you’ll go out of business. Someone else is always willing to go the extra mile and ensure the satisfaction of the customer, which leads to repeat visits and purchases, and telling others of their positive experience(s).

Quick Fix: We attract what we focus on, and sometimes we just need to let others get the better end of the deal. What is ours will naturally come back tenfold.

6. Be as general and mysterious as possible.

Imagine if you called your closest friend and said, “We’re going for a ride, I’ll pick you up.” Then hung up. Your good friend would call you back and ask for details.  But in real life, not everyone is a close friend. By communicating in a way that is vague and unclear, you may be missing out on opportunities with those who aren’t inclined to follow up for clarification.

Quick Fix: Be clear on what you want. Be specific in your needs and offerings to attract more customers and those seeking what you have to offer. Success becomes much more easier and opens a world of opportunity.

7. Be honest ‘only’ when it makes sense.

When a president of a company gives permission to her staff to lie to those who call and say she isn’t in the office when she is, the president is teaching everyone in the company that lies are accepted under ‘”fitting conditions.” If the president lies when it makes sense and out of pure convenience, it can create an atmosphere of mistrust and insecurity amongst staff that are never certain when they’re being lied to or not.

Quick Fix: There is no such thing as part-time integrity. Honesty is the most respected value. When you act in this manner, even during the most difficult times, those around you know that they can turn to you for whatever they need, as they have complete trust and faith in you.

8. Let your emotions out first.

Think emotionally, and not logically.  When emotions are high, intellect tends to fall to the floor. Make decisions out of frustration, insecurity, and fear, and you’ll be sure to avoid as much opportunity as possible.

Quick Fix: When you notice yourself in a situation where you are working or interacting with someone else and you start feeling a powerful emotion, ask yourself why you’re feeling that way and try to find a resolve. Whether it’s personal or business related, it’s impossible to take any harmful words or actions back that are rooted in emotions and not intellect.

9. Always take the most you can get 

Take and waste! Live in the moment! There’s a war out there and you need to look out for yourself and not for others or the greater good. Pull all the plants from the root in an entire garden instead of nurturing the roots that can grow plants and feed you for a lifetime. Don’t wait, instant satisfaction!

Quick Fix: Nurture and support those who nurture and support others, and you shall always see opportunity knock at your door. A garden doesn’t grow in a day, but by being patent and taking care of your plants, one day your garden will bloom the brightest.

10. Always ask for help first.

Always do what you can and turn to others when you hit your first roadblock. Sure, you’ll face more roadblocks down the line, but that shouldn’t matter if you can turn to others before trying to find a solution first.

Quick Fix: There is a saying that success attracts success, and that success comes when hard work and opportunity collide. The unfair thing about professional life is that when you need help, it’s typically hard to find. On the other side, when you don’t need help, it seems always that there is someone who wants to give or share something with you.

One of the secrets to getting the help you need is prove you have skin in the game. Meaning, show that you have gone far and beyond anyone you know to solve your problems, on your own, and you are committed without a doubt by actions, and not words, to getting what you want or need.

In essence, earn your first stripes and prove that you can do whatever you put your mind to. A helping hand won’t always be there, and will be less likely to extend a hand if you’re always turning to them for help before even trying to find a solution.

I know that was quite a lot; these are lessons I had to learn through my own experiences, and by others teaching me along the way.

A final note before you start to put the above lessons in practice: there is one more habit that can make a world of difference to attracting more success and opportunity in your life.  This, is gratitude. Not the gratitude of, “yes I am thankful for what I have” or what someone has given me. I am instead talking about the gratitude of what you already have right now. A gratitude that if someone gives you something you don’t need, that is insignificant, that you are still truly thankful for their generosity and you say that not just in words but in your whole being.  A gratitude that even if everything you have is taken away from you, you are still grateful for what you’ve lived, learned and accomplished. This in itself, this appreciation for everything that comes and goes from your life, can be the greatest attraction to opportunity ever imagined.

 

 

Written by,

Erik Kikuchi
TEC Chair I Canada’s Leading Technology Triangles
Email: ekikuchi@tec-canada.com

TEC Canada I The Executive Committee Ltd., is a proud affiliate of Vistage International

The 3 Keys to Multiplying Sales

   How my first start-up in Toronto doubled its sales
every year to reach over 1 million

“It pays to plan ahead. It wasn’t raining when
Noah built the Ark.” – Unknown

I wouldn’t say that I was ignorant. Nor would I say that it was an accomplishment that came easy and without failures. But when we were doubling our company’s sales each and every year from the start-up phase to the time the company was sold, I didn’t once think what we were doing was anything extraordinary, or impressive.

In fact, I wasn’t even focusing on growing the company. I was, at all times, focusing on solving bigger problems – and it wasn’t until I began consulting and advising other companies that I started to understand that there were key fundamentals and practices that were simply not being used in most businesses – key fundamentals that were worth more than time and money. For some, these fundamentals were worth almost everything they had built and worked for.

With this in mind, what I need to teach you before I even share the core strategies of how to grow a company’s sales, regardless of its industry or marketplace, is that businesses need to focus equally on three key areas. The first area is increasing your customer base. This is something that must be a constant in any business, even if it’s at the height of its game. The second area is increasing your company’s average sale.

This can be done several ways, which I will touch upon in this article. The third key to increasing your company’s sales, and even doubling its sales, is increasing the frequency to which your customers buy from you. If you just increase each of these areas by a simple 27%, the formula will reveal how your company’s sales can double in one year. This is what I am hired for most frequently, and it’s yours here free.

The Three Steps to Multiplying Sales

  1. Increase your customer base
  2. Increase the average sale
  3. Increase purchase frequency

To give you even more insight and detail on how sales were doubled using the three steps, here is a quick insight to how my little start-up, which began in my spare room, became a million dollar company.

Year 1. Over Deliver, beyond price.  

The first year, with no marketing material, office or client references, I had to build my customer base on a low price. Even though this wasn’t my ideal situation, it was a short-term solution to earn my way towards asking what I was worth. However, this was a strategic move: even if my first group of customers was getting the deal of the century, I was getting far more than they did. Meaning, I gave them the service, the quality and detail of work that was, in my eyes, worth 10x than what I was charging.

My focus then (and now) was directly investing in my customers, and indirectly investing in my business. Why? Because the work I did for them, and the results they attained, could then be used as examples to attract and earn even larger clients who would be seeking, and paying, on both results, and proven experience.

Even now I plant seeds for the future. I make the most of it by not planting a multitude of seeds, but a select few and putting all my attention and care into them.

Now, even though sales, at first, were far from impressive, some of that was due to my lack of time management and needing to make some mistakes on my own to learn what ‘not to do’ moving forward. On a positive side, with the time, expertise and the investment of the few customers I did have, the mistakes I made and learned from served as a foundational stepping-stone to everything else I built moving forward.

“The way to become rich is to put all your eggs in one basket
and then watch that basket.” – Andrew Carnegie
   

Year 2. Invest in yourself, consistently.

The second year was the first year of investing in myself, and in the business. All the profits, and sometimes more, went into learning how to sell, how to present and negotiate, as well as learning technical skills to produce the work I was offering faster, and with greater quality. What I found was that just one insight, one strategy, and even one new perspective that I learned made a world of difference, and it was as if I were planting monster seeds for future harvesting.

It was this year that we were awarded projects worth $1000 to $2500+, whereas before the projects I was earning were only in the $100’s. I have to admit, investing in myself wasn’t an easy decision! But I always remembered, before I started my business, what a wise man, that had the success and wealth I wanted, told me in a seminar. He said, “Erik, you’re far better off investing in yourself and your knowledge than in a house, or a car, or even a fancy gadget, because those things will never take you as far. What you know, and what you learn, can never be taken from you.”

With this in mind, I decided to finally invest in my own marketing, and to not go cheap. This meant the quality and high standards in my presentations and materials had to reflect the quality and high standards of the clients I was seeking. Knowing this, I spent over 30% of my sales that year (on top of my education) on my marketing materials. That year, I doubled my sales again. It was because I began to attract, and was more prepared to serve and convert, higher profile prospects into valued customers.

“If you want to make a permanent change, stop focusing on
the size of your problems and start focusing on the size of you!”
– T. Harv Eker

Year 3. Get a divorce.

In the third year the annual sales were once again doubled, and it was all due to applying what I had invested and learned in the year prior. What grew sales to a point where a strong profit was made stemmed from my “divorce” in how I approached, and worked with, clients. I moved from delivering what I thought all customers needed, to instead focusing on opening and developing relationships with clients – paying attention to what they had to say, what they needed, and how to fulfill and deliver their needs. Period.

I went from telling clients “this is what our business has, this is why it’s great, and this is why you need to choose us,” to, “tell me about your needs, goals, expectations and how we can help.” This strategy allowed us to attain our first photography contract, which alone doubled the sales from the year before. How did we do this without even having a photo studio?

While I was sourcing a photo studio to partner with, I was also meeting with the prospective client with the simple outcome to uncover what they needed, how they preferred to work, and what their complete expectations were. In this third year, I learned to not try to fit what I had to client needs; I was now focusing on what they needed, and how I could adapt and improve what I had to offer to exceed their needs.

“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand;
they listen with the intent to reply.” – Stephen R. Covey

Year 4. Do what you love.

This was the year I had to overcome my fear of letting go of certain responsibilities, and trust others to take the reins, so to speak, in areas where I wasn’t completely productive or as skilled and prepared for. I needed to focus on what I was best at. I needed to focus on pulling in sales and profits to build the company, instead of spending time on accounting, project management, and other activities that took away from my true passion and productivity.

For example, I was spending at least 5 hours a week on accounting work, and following up on payments with past due customers.  This equated to 240 hours a year. What I produced in my sales versus the cost of a part-time accountant, at 20 hours at month, was 100:1.  This meant for every dollar I spent on paying the accountant, I was free to invest that same time to make $100.

What does this mean for your business? It means if you want to make a million dollars a year, you first need to focus on the activities and choices that will earn your business the $85,000 per month, or $18,000 a week, or $462.96 an hour, and then those activities that pay less than any of those numbers in the same time frame.

When you combine doing what you do best, and doing what you love, it will never feel like work. You will work harder and smarter in the process, thus multiplying your success, as we did here in year four.

By Erik Kikuchi
TEC Chair I Canada’s Leading Technology Triangles
Email: ekikuchi@tec-canada.com

TEC Canada I The Executive Committee Ltd., is a proud affiliate of Vistage International

 

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“If you don’t value your time, neither will others.
Stop giving away your time and talents.
Value what you know and start charging for it.”
– Kim Garst  

READ MORE:  

Year 5 to 7, reaching the first million you can get free by downloading this whole e-article here>>

Consider these other articles

1. 10 Brilliant Ways to Avoid Opportunity > Click here
by Erik Kikuchi

2. Presentation Principals for Entrepreneurs > Click here
by Erik Kikuchi

3. Surviving the Start Up > Click here
by Erik Kikuchi

4. An Entrepreneurs guide to difficult clients > Click here
by Erik Kikuchi

5. Turning Limitations into Experience > Click here
by Erik Kikuchi

6. 5 Ways You Can Invest Cash to Generate Income > Click here
by Erik Kikuchi

7. Building new networks and Connections > Click here
by Erik Kikuchi

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Hi-Cue Speakers Erik Kikuchi: http://hicuespeakers.com/en/speakers/erik-kikuchi.html
Biography Erik Kikuchi https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1DpqHKASvg0
Canadian Music Week 2013 http://cmw.net/conference/speakers/2013-speakers/
Consultoría Gerencial Asesorías: http://www.cgaeu.com/#!erik-kikuchi/c1tv8
PPL Search: http://www.search4ppl.com/p/UmVXZWV3dVdk/Erik-Kikuchi.html

The battle of our fears

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The battle of our fears

3 Simple Steps to approaching and overcoming your minds greatest obstacle

You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”~ Eleanor Roosevelt

We all have worries and fears and those who are seemingly über successful are no different. These fears about the future or fears from the past; even though are natural, without the proper attention and support – we can be crippled by this invisible force or worse. To win, what’s important is not how we face fears, but how we prepare to overcome them. Whether you’re starting a new business or making a drastic change in your life, you’ll still be faced and challenged with fear. The three keys of ‘focus, preparation and application’ outlined here will help you. From these you can build and reinforce the intellectual and emotional strength required to reach your goals.

1. Focus

One of the fundamental ‘backbones’ in my teaching is that the past does not have to equal the future. I firmly believe that what we focus on determines whether we move towards what we want, or what we don’t want. Fear focused on intensively only breeds more fear and, if not addressed, both intellectually and emotionally, it will either put you off track or stop you completely. It’s critical to focus on what you want to accomplish and why you must achieve it. I’m not saying be overly positive and never consider the obstacles; the right balance would be to focus on the problem 20% of the time and the solution 80% of the time. When identifying problems, do so in solvable terms, asking yourself: “Once these are solved, how can they give me a competitive advantage?” What you must do is learn from your problems, starting today, to avoid them in the future.

2. Preparation

Fear can also be overcome with advance preparation. It’s not that everything has to be perfect; at times fear is an indication that more ground work is required. For example, on the first steps of a speaking career, one wouldn’t immediately speak to an audience of 1000 people to only experience ‘facing the fear’. One would take the necessary courses, practice with small groups and prepare over a period of time in order to master their skill and gain essential experience. When starting something new or making a drastic change in one’s life to overcome fear, getting ready for that must include winning the support and understanding of those closest to you. If this is not possible, seek the encouragement you need in groups, associations or clubs. There are hundreds of options both online and in person. If you can’t find one, start one yourself! Just as importantly, prepare your mind and heart. Create a list of the reasons why you want to or must do this. Ensure that there are both positive ideas (what happiness or success will bring) and negative things (the pain you’ll feel if you don’t overcome the problem. The ratio should be 3:1, meaning three times more positives.

 

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“I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.” -Rosa Parks

 

3. Application

A rising entrepreneur client of mine had an idea for a new product and was considering finding partners or investors. Unsure of the solution, I advised him in this situation that he should start small, in a controllable format. This way you can both test the market and your product before investing a tremendous amount of time, energy and resources. Some people believe that to start a company you need a large office, a full team, marketing plans, etc; this is not always the case. You can start small, build on your experience as your customer base and income grow. I built my first company without financing or investors and, operating from the basement in my home, I created a million dollar business in seven short years. Great things can be built; it’s simply how you prepare and are consistent in your work and determination. Spend a lot of money in the hope you’ll succeed and your exacerbating the ‘fear of failure’. Another client was considering franchising her small business, but was fearful of expanding into the unknown. The challenge was that the return on her business was minimal and it required a lot of her time and energy. In order to move forward, I told her she needed to strengthen what she had already built before expanding. Don’t expand something that isn’t already profitable and has unresolved problems. Start by strengthening what you already have and then expand from there. These ideas are not all about business; far from it. For those who want to grow ‘in themselves’ or for their work, find the place where you can best learn the right way. I’d suggest you go somewhere you can contribute at the same time. Consider volunteer work where the needs of others are more important than the fear of making a mistake or of not being good enough. If you want to improve how you are a leader in your work place, but are scared of making mistakes, go and help some children who have perhaps lost their way in life. You’d be surprised how much, by taking personal responsibility, improving your social leadership can really you can help. Fear usually comes from the fear of failure, the fear of the unknown, the fear of loss. For others, it’s the fear of making a mistake, of not being good enough, of being unprepared. Write down and then start working on the biggest reasons why you must overcome these fears. Prepare and challenge them and focus on solving them. Seek and find the solutions, people, strategies and teachings not only to face these fears, but to beat them. Once you do that, not only will you feel great about yourself, you’ll have more courage to pursue new ideas, ventures and interests. Also, you’ll be amazingly inspired by the strong, resourceful, and courageous person you’ve become in the process.

 

By Erik Kikuchi
TEC Chair I Canada’s Leading Technology Triangles
Email: ekikuchi@tec-canada.com

TEC Canada I The Executive Committee Ltd., is a proud affiliate of Vistage International

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