Business ownership is on the rise.

Darian Richardson - Owner, RMC Franchise Connect - Cincinnati Franchise Consultant
Darian Richardson - Owner, RMC Franchise Connect - Cincinnati Franchise Consultant

Every time you turn on the television or pick up a newspaper, you hear new reports on record unemployment or corporate downsizing.  The economy has impacted almost everyone from high-level corporate executives to middle managers to recent college graduates.  If you are affected, the traditional approach has been to immediately send your resume to multiple employers in hopes of landing your next job.

Instead of hoping for that call from a potential employer, many Americans have made the decision to become business owners.  So you if that’s you, the big question is “Is it really for me?” First ask yourself these questions:  1) Am I self-motivated; 2) Do I enjoy customer service and sales; 3) Am I responsible, organized and persistent and 4) What is my tolerance for risk?

There’s a great feeling of satisfaction generated from starting a business, but it also comes with its share of responsibility and risk.  Many individuals who have taken that leap of faith have enjoyed great financial security, work-life balance and professional success.

A September 2009 USA Today article stated that starting a business from scratch or buying a franchise has been the way to economic recovery for many Americans.  The author writes, “Job seekers who gained employment in the second quarter of 2009, nearly one in 10 — did so by launching their own businesses.”

One popular method of business ownership is purchasing a franchise. There are unique differences between buying a franchise and starting a business from scratch.  Franchise owners receive a proven business model, an established brand name and a built-in support system in exchange for paying the franchise company a monthly royalty.  When starting a business from scratch, those capabilities must be built over time.

Due to the current economic climate people are forced to reevaluate their career. Establishing a franchise has become a popular choice that has allowed people to achieve financial, professional, and personal success.

Banks are beginning to lend again and additional governmental incentives are becoming available.  Whether purchasing an established franchise model or starting your own business, becoming a business owner gives you control over your career, provides personal satisfaction and financial security. 2010 is shaping up to be an exciting time for prospective business owners.  You’ll probably work longer and harder than you ever have before, but you’ll enjoy it more…because it’s yours
by Darian Richardson
RMC Franchise Connect

by Darian Richardson

RMC Franchise Connect

The Challenge

John Kieffer - The Results Group Cincinnatiby John Kieffer

The Results Group

– There is never enough time to get done what I want.

All I do is bounce from one issue to another.
I must be responsive to my clients but they run me from one challenge to another.
I don’t have enough time to plan.
– I can do that.  I can do that.  How am I going to do all of those commitments?
– I’ll just do it myself because it takes longer for me to tell them what I need and they won’t do it the way I want anyway.
Sound familiar.  I have said those things as have you. Let’s look at the reactive environment in which we live.  The urgency versus important quadrants that Steven Covey laid before us more than a decade ago captures the challenges, but what have we  done about it?  For the most part, the business arena is far more reactive then ever.  Improved technology has made our days less proactive with greater stress then ever before.  Our newest tools improve access but not increased effectiveness and results. Less time is spent in the highest pay off activities that generate results.  More time is eaten by interruptions.
Let’s review what Covey said.  If we look at a quadrant model with urgent and not urgent from left to right and important to not important from top to bottom a picture appears of four quadrant.  Urgent things must be done immediately and important things advance us in the direction or our goals.  Of course, if we no predetermined definition of goals, the only force that shows up is urgency with the squeakiest wheel winning.  Without long term goals we are urgency driven and wander quickly into the mission-less future.  What do we want out of life?  If we don’t clearly think out our priorities, out life offers us a minimal return.  Socrates had it right when he said” the unexamined life is not worth living.”
Quadrant 1 is the upper left quadrant is the React zone in that not only are these things important but must be done now (or yesterday). These things are important to our success and defined by our goals and desires.  This is where we earn our dollars meeting client needs, fighting fires and producing results.  Here, We get strokes for helping others as we accomplish super hero feats in adrenaline generating fashion.  Could this be considered an addiction as we put on the six-guns and blaze away at the problems that pop up?
Quadrant 2 is also important put the pressure of urgency hasn’t ground these things into our face yet.  So we put these issues on the back burn until they migrate to urgency catching fire and then we can justify focusing on them.  That’s the way our environment has conditioned us.  When did I study for the test, buy the Christmas or anniversary gift or file my taxes?  After all the postal service has assisted me by putting on extra folks to receive my income tax forms at midnight on April 15th.  I rationalize that I do my best work under pressure rather than thinking deeply and I get more kudos from appreciative others with endorphins flowing. None of that happens in Quadrant 2. Many of these Proactive tasks are just as important if not more so than the reactive ones.  Planning, relationship building, physical wellbeing, longer term issues are in this quadrant.  Some of these never move to urgent and that is indeed a loss for a person that desires a balanced life.  Other tasks will accelerate so rapidly that they blow us away.  Example: I come home and there is a note on the kitchen counter from my wife saying she has left with the kids and to not come looking for her.  Or the massive heart attack or the 16 year old son or daughter who makes a suicide attempt.  How did those things happen all of a sudden.  But, you see, it wasn’t all of a sudden but had been brewing for years.  Anyway, these things only happen to others.  Oh, really.
There is another category called Quadrant 3 which is made up of things that are not important but very urgent.  Explain this.  They are not important to me but are thrust into my life by others, customers, cohorts and associates, husband and wife; kids, mom, dad, in-laws; outlaws, regulatory entities.  Solution: just blow them off?  I don’t think so.  If you do you will find yourself in a pickle (I don’t know if I have ever used that phrase before).  You see,  these things will immediately leap to the React zone. Why? The things that are in this quadrant are not important but the people that have place them in front of us are very important. Blow them off and the customer, associate or personal relationship explodes.
What we have created is an urgency treadmill of quadrant 1 and 3 that we can’t outrun.  We can fool ourselves into thinking that we can keep up but the rat race moves faster and faster as more things and tasks are place squarely in front of us.  Can we slow down?  Not anymore than George Jetson could when he was walking his dog in  the cartoons and flew off (OK, most have you have never seen the Jetson’s but for those of you that have, what was the dog’s name?).
Quadrant 4 is the waste zone of not urgent and not important.  I run the treadmill of urgency and am so burned out that I need downtime.  It’s Miller time or TGIF or situation comedies or the ballgame or Soduku or reality TV or computer games or web surfing…. But I need these things for my sanity.
My question is do they move me toward or away from what I want and is there something that can recharge me without draining my time purposelessly?  I enjoy the ballgame or watching the Apprentice but what is its true value for the measure of my life that I have exchanged for it?
Now that we have defined this model that most of us are living, what can we do about it.  That will be our next topic of discussion.
John Kieffer is a Professional Business Coach with The Results Group.  To find out how John can help your company call 513-470-4287 or

Networking is a Business Decision

Duane Plapp - Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky Referral Marketing ExpertBy: Duane Plapp, Referral Institute Cincinnati
When you or your company initiates a new program it is researched and systematically executed. This same strategy should be in place when deciding to use networking as a pro-active marketing strategy to increase revenues.
Networking, when done correctly, can be the best and most affordable marketing tool. It is a marketing strategy to increase visibility and credibility for you and your company. There are four goals that should be achieved at any networking activity.

• Creating and developing relationships: While networking, the goal is to find something in common and exchange ideas with the purpose of creating a relationship. Once the networking is over, be proactive in developing that relationship by arranging a follow up meeting tofigure out how the two of you can grow each other’s business.

• Networking with professionals who can refer you business. Create a referral partner. Seek out people who can refer other people who use your product or services. Referrals are better quality business for you to increase your revenues.

• Network with professionals who have a need for your product or service. This makes the sales process easier and creates a more loyal customer or client.

• Network with people who can enhance your business. Create relationships with people who can give you greater exposure. These people will be connected and have great visibility. This will provide more visibility and credibility.

Use the Ten Commandments of Networking1. Have your networking tools with you (business cards, literature, etc)

1. Have your networking tools with you (business cards, literature, etc)

2. Set a goal of number of people you want to meet.

3. Act like a host.

4. Listen and ask the W questions: Who What Where When and Why.

5. Give a lead or referral whenever possible.

6. Describe your product or service in 60 seconds.

7. Exchange business cards.

8 Spend 10 minutes with each person.

9. Write comments on back of business card.

10. Follow up with people you meet.

Article submitted by Duane Plapp of Referral Institute and member of the Business After Hours committee

Mom Was Wrong,Name Calling is a MUST

Brennan Scanlon
Brennan Scanlon

By: Brennan Scanlon, Referral Institute Cincinnati

As a younger man I have fond memories of conversations I had with my older brother.  He was successful in business and had many friends.  Knowing this, I always paid close attention to what he had to say.  On a car ride to lunch one day, he shared with me one of his pet peeves…being called “guy”.  As in “hey there guy” or “what do you say guy?”  I found that interesting because being called “guy” did not offend me.  In fact, I brain-stormed all the “I don’t know your name clichés” including but not limited to; chief, sport, fella, partner, buddy, boss, pal, and of course guy.  None of these offended me, why was “guy” so bad?

As I got older I realized that it was not the word that was offensive, it was the arrogance/laziness of those who use & abuse them.  What is easier, learning everyone’s name or picking one generic name for everyone?  Call all males “pal” & all females “sweetie”.  On to the easy life!  Okay, I’ll stop, but its only funny because these people do exist!  Now, I realize that most of us don’t use these generic name’s, typically we just don’t say anything.  However, there are an elite few who regularly speak the sweetest sound a human being can utter, someone’s name.  If you are like me, you appreciate a couple good strategies for drawing out the precious name of the person that you may have forgotten.

First, teamwork is everything.  Often times you are not by yourself, literally.  Whether you are with your spouse, a business associate, or a friend, get into the habit of helping them remember names too.  For example, you & and your spouse approach a friend of yours that your spouse has only met a few times.  In the first 5 seconds of the greeting politely say, “honey, you remember Bill don’t you?”  To which your spouse will proclaim “of course!”   Do this enough and your hubby, among others, will do this for you too.

Second scenario?  Let’s assume you are alone.  How do you proceed from here?  You can either hang in the corner hoping not to make eye contact.  Now you not only don’t remember their name, but you are snubbing them too!  Or perhaps, try this.  With all the confidence in the world walk directly up to the individual who’s name you’ve forgotten, extend for the handshake, and with your free hand point directly back at yourself and utter the sweetest sound in your universe, your name.  Then, be silent.  I’d love to say all the time (though I cannot), but the majority of the time they will point at themselves and do the same.  Why is this a good strategy?  Odds are, they have forgotten your name too, and you’ve just let them off the hook.

Of course, name badges solve a lot of these problems.  Although, they can look a little silly if folks are wearing them at the little league baseball game or at the swimming pool (chest hair…ouch).  No matter what, people appreciate sincerity and humility.  Be real & be honest.  If you have forgotten a name, politely ask for it again.  It is only when you repeatedly ask for it that you will lose credibility.  If all else fails, you can always use “guy” or “sweetie”, just don’t be offended if they call you “dude” or “honey”.

Brennan Scanlon is a Referral Institute Franchise owner as well as an Executive Director for BNI, Business Network Int’l ( SW Ohio & No. KY Region. He has been ranked in the Top 10% of BNI Directors nationally for the last two consecutive years, this ranking resulting in performance reviews submitted by BNI members.  Most recently, Brennan has been inducted into BNI’s Founder’s Circle 2008-2009 as nominated by his peers and approved by BNI’s Founder, Dr. Ivan Misner.

The "NEW"

As much as I dislike seeing and hearing the word “NEW” on everything, I had to use it.  I’ve been working on a concept for this website for some time.  My goal was to create a website that business owners and marketers could come to to industry insight, current events and to connect with people I know and trust in the business community.  Well, it’s finally done.  I’ve teamed up with my “Referral Power Team” to create a website that will give you the information you need to grow you business and more importantly your PROFITS!