February 18th, 2011

Thanks for all the positive feedback about the last post with the three “words of advice” from billionaire business builder Jeff Hoffman (founding team member and former CEO Priceline.com).

Because of that I’ve decided that today I’m going to share with you something else that Jeff taught when he was a guest advisor at a recent workshop–the six best ways you can protect your business from being vulnerable.

One:  Get Educated

The education we’re talking about here is not academic education, but rather practical advice and input from actual business owners who live day in, day out in the real world of business.

How do they find their customers?  What technology do they use to hold their business systems?  Hold do they scale with limited resources?  Where did they get their funding?  What mistakes did they make and what did they learn?  How would they do it different if they were starting all over again today?

The answers to questions like these can best be learned by listening to business owners who have done it before themselves, ideally multiple times.  This is the backbone on which the Maui community is built – success leaves clues and successful business owners can teach you out of their experience.

Two:  Find a Mentor(s)

Can you find or create a deeper relationship with a seasoned, successful business mentor who has a real commitment to helping you grow and succeed with your business?

This can be someone local in your area or halfway around the country you speak with via phone a few times a month.  The key is that you both build a relationship so that he or she gets to know you and your business and has an emotional stake in seeing you succeed.

Three: Upgrade Your Peer Group

Character is contagious, be careful who’s character you catch!

Unfortunately the world we live in is full of people who are resigned… Resigned to live less than they want.  Resigned to accept a business that is not what they really want.  Resigned to just slog it out, day after day.

To reach your business goals you need to be around an upgraded peer group of other business owners who like you are committed to stretching and playing big.

Four:  Get Into a Mastermind Team

Building your business in isolation is dangerous.  It’s too easy to let your bias push you into rash mistakes.

We need other people who can be the “circuit breaker” to stop us from making poor decisions… Who can be the catalyst for holding us accountable for our goals…  who can spark us with outside perspective and fresh ideas.

This is precisely the role of your mastermind team.

Five:  Follow a Better Road Map

Most business owners are building their business day after day as a way to earn a living for their family.  They look at their business as a way to generate active buying drugs income to support their lifestyle.

While there is nothing wrong with this, the most successful business owners see their business as a way to build something of value beyond just themselves.  They know that by building their business in such a way that it is independent of themselves, they are both building an asset that has scalable value AND they are able to create more value for the market.

You’ve read about our model for building a business (i.e. Level One, Level Two, Level Three).  What matters most is that you build your business with a bigger picture sense of where you want to end up (an Advanced Stage Level Two or Level Three business) rather than just following the masses and get stuck in the Self Employment Trap™.

Six:  Have a Concrete Plan

Your road map is your big picture strategy and model.  Your action plan is how you translate that strategy and model into concrete action.  This is where your quarter by quarter action plan comes into play.

Each quarter you’ll identify your top three strategic objectives, and the action steps and milestones to accomplish them (or a substep to them) that quarter.

The power of your quarterly plan comes from two things.  First, it forces you to narrow your focus on fewer, better things.  Remember, doing a few things better and to completion will almost always outperform spreading yourself too thin on too many conflicting priorities that you only half do.

Second, your quarterly plan will take the guess work out of what you need to accomplish each week.  You’ll have a clear timeline to follow that gives you the mile markers along the way to reach your quarterly targets.

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