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Leverage Systems Intelligence to See Your Blind Spots

Use Systems Intelligence to See the Big Picture!
 
We can all gain lasting competitive advantage by identifying our “blind spots.”
 
We humans are inherently fallible creatures. Don’t believe me? Then why do so many SMART people do DUMB things. There’s an award for it…the Darwin Awards.
 
I believe we do this because we possess these potentially debilitating things called “blind spots.” We have a fear of being “blindsided” by the things we don’t see coming straight at us. A blind spot is a skill that we may be lacking, or a problem that we didn’t know existed because we simply cannot be knowledgeable of all things. A blind spot can also be something that we did not even know we didn’t know. That’s what makes them so dangerous.
 
Being a career coach and business consultant, my job seeker clients and the entrepreneurs, start-ups and business owners that I work with look to me to help them identify and embrace their blind spots for competitive advantage. Here’s how.
 
Something overlooked or unexpected that appears to have come at us from left field can have potentially disastrous consequences for us. However these unforeseen events can also offer us a unique opportunity to seize the day, if we are trained and prepared to act on the unanticipated event and use that to our advantage.
 
A powerful strategy that I help my clients apply in order to expand their view of their environments and thus identify as many of their blind spots as possible is called: SYSTEMS INTELLIGENCE (SI) SI is an invaluable tool in our arsenal, a Darwinian ability to be connected to, learn from, and adapt to, the environments we exist within.
 
The study of SI rose out of the research conducted by two professors (Esa Saarinen & Raimo Hämäläinen) at the Systems Analysis Lab at the Helsinki University of Technology. Turns out, SI is an innate trait all humans possess. It is a capacity that anyone can learn to apply, assuming we do the following:
 
1. Accept that the world consists of a complex web of interacting and inter-related relationships, to which everyone contributes;
2. Engage in a “holistic” or a high-level, all-encompassing feedback loop within their environment accept the presence of systems by conducting systems thinking;
3. See their environment as feedback intensive, and therefore acts intelligently/rationally; and
4. Interacts with their environment in a way that makes minor corrections in the systems, generating huge effects due to the nonlinear dynamics of the system.
 
The important thing to understand is, we all exist within a “system” and are shaped by and can exert tremendous influence to our systems (aka environments.) The two MAIN themes we need to understand from SI are: 1) we can produce GREAT positive outcomes; and 2) we should always strive to avoid negative outcomes.
Sourced from:
 
Here are a few strategies to help you expand your systems intelligence:
 
1. Set Aside Daily “Big Picture” Time: Allocate block out time you afford yourself EVERY DAY to think about your life’s big picture. This involves thinking about the career paths you haven’t taken or ones you may be considering in the future, potential opportunities for new business, or skills you may need to acquire in the future. A nice tool I’ve created for jotting down notes to help my clients is a 2 page FORTY year plan. Ask me about it.
 
2. Visualization: A technique used by world-class athletes. Go someplace quite where you can rest your body and your mind. Spend 30 minutes with eyes closed, picturing in minute detail all the tasks, steps, required to achieve the specific, tangible, goals you have set for yourself. Do not allow anyone or anything to interfere with this quite solitude you gift yourself.
 
3. The Power of “WHY” and “What If”: If you’ve read ANY of my prior blogs you know that I am a staunch proponent of the empowering acts of constantly asking “WHY” and it’s equally re-energizing “What If…?”
 
4. Visionary, Futurist Leadership: Certain people are “blessed” with an inordinately high curiosity level that leads them to spending much more time than the usual human in “day dream” mode. These unique individuals love to ponder life’s uncertainties. But what makes them true visionary leaders is their ability to synthesize massive information (needle in the haystack), see the future clearly, act decisively, all while effectively motivating others to follow them into the fray. They are worth their weight in organizational gold.
 
Years ago, Joe Luft and Harry Ingram created the famous Johari Window, to show how to improve interpersonal relationships. They defined that which is not known to yourself or others as hidden potential.
 
Johari_Window
 
Although most respond to my “what do you worry about…” referring to threats, blind spots also mask opportunities. Every so often an innovation comes around that makes you go “duh? Isn’t that obvious?” Think of wheels on suitcases. For years, nobody addressed what is now an expectation worldwide. We must have been blind.
 
Source: Christopher Meyer
 
In his book, Multiple Intelligences, Howard Gardner (1983) found that effectively implementing SI requires:
• Linguistic Intelligence;
• Musical Intelligence;
• Logical-Mathematical Intelligence;
• Spatial Intelligence; and
• Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence.
 
The theory of multiple intelligences is a model of intelligence that differentiates intelligence into specific (primarily sensory) “modalities”, rather than seeing it as dominated by a single general ability.
 
Gardner argues that there is a wide range of cognitive abilities, and that there are only very weak correlations among them. For example, the theory postulates that a child who learns to multiply easily is not necessarily more intelligent than a child who has more difficulty on this task. The child who takes more time to master multiplication may best learn to multiply through a different approach, may excel in a field outside mathematics, or may be looking at and understanding the multiplication process at a fundamentally deeper level. Such a fundamental understanding can result in slowness and can hide a mathematical intelligence potentially higher than that of a child who quickly memorizes the multiplication table despite possessing a less deep understanding of the process of multiplication.
 
Intelligence tests and psychometrics have generally found high correlations between different aspects of intelligence, rather than the low correlations which Gardner’s theory predicts, supporting the prevailing theory of general intelligence rather than multiple intelligences (MI). The theory has been widely criticized by mainstream psychology for its lack of empirical evidence, and its dependence on subjective judgement. Certain models of alternative education employ the approaches suggested by the theory.
 
Here are useful references you can explore that Saarinen & Hamalainen cited in their research:
• Keeney Ralph L. 1992. “Value-Focused Thinking: A Path to Creative Decision-making.” Cambridge, Harvard University Press.
• Long A.A. 2002. “A Stoic and Socratic Guide to Life.” Oxford University Press.
• Oshry, Barry. 1996. “Seeing Systems: Unlocking the Mysteries of Organizational Life.” San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers.
• Seligman Martin E. P. 2002. “Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential for Lasting Fulfillment.” New York, Free Press.
• Senge Peter. 1990. “The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization.” New York, Doubleday Currency.
• Senge Peter, Kleiner Art, Roberts Charlotte, Ross Richard B. and Smith Bryan J. 1994. “The Fifth Discipline Field book: Strategies and Tools for Building a Learning Organization.” New York, Doubleday Currency.
• Simon Herbert A. 1956. “Models of a Man: Social and Rational.” New York, Wiley.
• Simon Herbert A. 1997. “Models of Bounded Rationality.” Volume 3, Empirically Grounded Economic Reason, Cambridge, The MIT Press.
 
More cool books to check out if you’re interested in finding YOUR blind spots:
 
• Fifth Discipline by Peter Senge
• Nassim Taleb’s book, The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable (2007).
• Claudia Shelton’s book, Blind Spots
• Alexandra Levit’s book, Blind Spots
• Systems Intelligence in Leadership and Everyday Life book
 
Here’s to your successful 2013. May it be the start of an entirely new path for you!
 
Ethan Chazin, The Compassionate Coach
 

Find Work in Our Jobless Economy

In today’s stagnant job growth economy, you CAN conduct an effective job search to find work!
 
Today’s job market looks entirely different than it did a decade ago, and will look entirely different in a year or two from now. Are you prepared to achieve professional success in this 21st Century global, contract job market? Today’s “new normal” economy offers greatly reduced opportunities for high-paying jobs and a constantly changing landscape that perpetually challenges our ability to remain viable as serious job seeker candidates. Following are key attributes of today’s job market as we struggle to recover from 2008’s Great Recession:
 
* Workplace productivity continues to skyrocket due to such factors as gains in automation, business process improvements, technological advancements, robotics, the Internet, outsourcing, off-shoring, reductions in workforce, right-sizing, re-engineering. From 1973-2011, worker productivity increased 80%. Since 2000, productivity has increased 23%, yet hourly worker pay has remained unchanged according to the Economic Policy Institute.
 
* All the supposed job growth our economy has achieved during this latest “recovery” are in relatively low skill fields within the services sector such as retail.
 
* Worker ability to negotiate higher rates keeps dropping esp. as the power of unions continues to decline in America.
 
* the “official” Bureau of Labor Statistics unemployment rate is 7.8%. However, the “REAL” unemployment rate is closer to two times that as the official number does not account for people who are significantly under-employed or have stopped receiving benefits and have stopped looking for work.
 
* The average American will change jobs 8-10 times by the age of 35.
 
* A typical job search today may likely involve spending TWO YEARS looking for a contract assignment that lasts a year.
 
* One in four American workers can now be classified as temporary, independent, or contract workers who are not employed on a full-time basis thus not receiving benefits, health insurance, or other safeguards that come from full-time employment.
 
* the largest single group of job creators (small business owners) are NOT hiring because they are uncertain of America’s future business environment as pertains to future tax rates, access to capital, resources, inventory, supplies, and their ability to pay back short and long-term financial obligations.
 
So, given this “NEW NORMAL” of jobless economic improvement, what can you do to find meaningful FULL-TIME employment in an organization whose values and code of conduct you respect which also allows you to realize your full potential?
 
The truth is there are A LOT of opportunities in today’s job market. You just have to know how (AND WHERE) to find them. Here’s how:
 
Go Back to School: In today’s climate of constant change, transformation and uncertainty you can bulletproof your career by constantly updating/enhancing your portfolio of transferable skills. Learn Mandarin Chinese or Hindi, the national language of India. Take courses in WordPress, learn about peer-to-peer file sharing, try your hand at such programming languages as PHP, MySQL, PERL, Ruby, Javascript, etc.
 
Follow the Trends: You have GOT to stay on top the latest business & industry trends and developments and then seize opportunities as an “Early Adopter.” Right now, cloud-based anything is hot. also in demand are distance-based/virtual teams, thus anything to do with collaboration (look into open-source innovation platforms like Github) and networking is king. Learn all you can about mobile technology, attend the Consumer Electronics show, and pay attention to bloggers and subscriber to e-newsletters that focus on cell phones, PDAs, mobile devices, tablets, laptops, e-readers, consumer data-gathering devices, plus other technologies.
 
Security in a Post-9/11 World: Learn about the key players in the field of security, such as Johnson Controls, Tyco, Honeywell, Bosch, Hirsch Electronics. Find out all there is to know about CCTV systems, surveillance, access control solutions, biometrics, ID systems, and other sectors of the security and intelligence fields.
 
Therapy For All: Given all the characteristics outlined above in today’s “New normal” hyper stressful workplace, there is a rapidly increasing demand for all types of worker who calms the savage beast of stress. Yoga instructors, social workers, life coaches, personal trainers, spiritual advisers, and yes…business coaches can help the overworked American deal with the MANY physiological manifestations that arise out of coping with constant stress.
 
Social Media: This goes hand-in-hand with the evolution of social networking online and the proliferation in tools, systems, platforms that help us to facilitate and measure our relationships esp. online (such as Vizify, Pitnerest, Tumblr to name a few.)
 
Co-opetition: May sound like an oxymoron but it is an aspect of doing business in today’s new normal business climate. Stands for organizations who partner together in one instance and compete with each other in the next. Consider such “frien-emies” as Apple and Google, or IBM and Microsoft.
 
Web 2.0 and Beyond: Marketing has been completed transformed from the traditional 5-P model encompassing pricing, promotions, placement, product, and packaging to a post-Internet commercialization era of the 1990s model which emphasizes INDIVIDUALITY & INTERACTIVITY. Marketers must now be able to customize messages they send to the masses (called “mass customization”) while also being able to engage with, get feedback from, and modify their product & service offerings by speaking directly with their customers.
 
* Competitive intelligence Research: This is also referred to as “mystery shopping.” These service providers get contracted by their clients to obtain information on a client’s competitors using many different investigative approaches. This business intelligence field represents $30 billion annually in revenue according to Gartner Research. Social engineering is a term for obtaining information directly from organizations speaking to their owners, employees,customers, and even their suppliers. This form of information gathering is used to obtain all sorts of information such as revenues, number of units sold, gross margin, inventory, numbers of customers, cash flow..all sorts of goodies.
 
So, to be successful in finding gainful employment that satisfies all your needs it is critical that you learn as much as you possibly can about new technologies, key industry players, and rising industries BEFORE they blow up so you can gain the benefits of being “first to market.”
 
Ethan Chazin, The Compassionate Coach
 

Awesome Business Resources for Entrepreneurs

Great business resources for new businesses.
 
Today’s blog is dedicated to business resources to help entrepreneurs, start-ups and small business owners to plan, launch and grow their business in these turbulent times. For a more comprehensive guide of business resources, contact The Chazin Group.
 
BUSINESS SUPPORT SERVICES
 
* Workshop in Business Opportunities (WIBO)
* New Jersey Entrepreneurial Network
* NYC Business Solutions Center
* NYC Business Solutions Center Business Library
* Small Business Administration
* SCORE
* Chambers of Commerce
* Industrial Technology Assistance Corp.
* The SUNY Levin Institute FastTrac Program
* Marion Ewing Kauffman Foundation
* NJ Economic Development Authority
* Register your business in New York
 
INDUSTRY RESEARCH
 
* IBIS World (Industry-specific research)
* Key business statistics
* Small Business Administration advocacy & support
* Occupational Outlook Handbook: www.bls.gov/ooh
* Industrial Reports: www.census.gov/manufacturing/cir/index.html
* E-commerce research: www.census.gov/eos/www/ebusiness614.htm
* Mintel Reports Industry research
* NY Public Library Small Business Resource Center
* US Census FactFinder NY Demographic/geographic data
* New York City Community District Profiles
* NJ State Library
 
BUSINESS INFORMATION PROVIDERS
 
* Moody’s
* Hoover’s: www.hoovers.com
* Gale Encyclopedia of Associations, Directory of Publications & Broadcast Media, Encyclopedia of Business Information Sources, Encyclopedia of Management and Small Business Management, consultant’s and consulting Organizations directory.
* SEC Edgar database for quarterly & annual reports from publicly-traded companies
 
BUSINESS INCUBATORS
 
* Sunshine NYC
* Long Island High Technology Incubator
* NYC Bio Science Initiative
* Incubate NYC
* Brooklyn bioBAT
* Business Incubator Assn. NY https://bianys.com
* NYU Poly
* DUMBO Tech Incubator
* 6 MetroTech Center Brooklyn, NY
* Varick Street Incubator
* Hive at 55
* NYC Seed
* Astia
* Tech Launch
* Entrepreneurs Commons
* Open Coffee Club
* Sunshine Bronx, NY
* Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator
* First Growth Network
* Dream It Ventures
* The Founder Institute
 
VENTURE CAPITALISTS
 
* New York Angels
* Long Island Angel Network
* Union Square Ventures
* Women 2.0
* Venture Assn. NJ
* Chubby Brain
 
NON-TRADITIONAL FUNDING: MICRO-LENDERS & CROWD SOURCING
 
* Rising Tide Capital
* kickstarter www.Kickstarter.com for Crowd Sourcing
* IndieGogo www.IndieGoGo.com – Crowd Sourcing
* Business Outreach Center
* Assn. for Enterprise Opportunity
 
WOMEN & MINORITY BUSINESS ORGANIZATIONS
 
* National Assn. Women Business Owners (NAWBO)
* WWW.BENC.ORG
* SCORE Minority Resources
* www.sba8a.com
* Ladies Who Launch
 
 
Ethan Chazin, The Compassionate Coach
 

Learn From Failure to Achieve Lifelong Success

How to be successful at risk-taking and learn from failure!
 
This blog is all about FAILURE or rather, how we can learn from failure by embracing risk-taking for continued success. We live in a society that not only does NOT embrace failure, but teaches us from an early age to avoid failure in all of our pursuits.
 
Redefining Failure as a Motivational Tool.
 
success_failure
 
What if, rather than running away from the stigma of failure, we changed our mindsets to fail GREATLY and strive to learn from failure? Examples of how a willingness to fail have led to societal success are all around us.
 
* The Wright Brothers brought five sets of spare parts with them every time they went out to test fly their latest plane design. Why? Because that is how many times they typically crashed, before they called it a productive day. The failures were all about learning what worked and what didn’t. They then went back to the drawing board until they became the first to successfully achieve manned space flight.
 
* Thomas Edison never saw his stalled attempts at inventing to be failure. He considered all of his “failures” to be successes in that he learned what didn’t work and was able to adjust, adapt and move on. When he was inventing the light bulb he was quoted as saying: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
 
What Can You Learn From Your Past Failures.?
 
Think about the goals you set for yourself at work and before/leading up to the New Year. What if every goal that we set for ourselves was a “STRETCH” goal, something that we work have to work extremely hard and challenge ourselves to learn new skills and try to do things a different way and there was still not a strong guarantee of success? Would you accept these goals? How many pursuits have you passed up in life for a fear of failure?
 
learn_from_failure1
 
Why Embracing Failure Is So Important In Today’s World.
 
We live in an age of uncertainty, constant change and technological advancements occur at a more rapid pace than at any time in our history. To thrive in such an environment of repetitive chaos, we MUST take calculated risks, dare to fail greatly and learn from our mistakes so we can be successful. Why? Because what worked for us yesterday may not work tomorrow. Conversely, what we tried yesterday that failed may actually work for us and be our greatest option moving forward.
 
“Supposing you have tried and failed again and again. You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing we call “failure” is not the falling down, but the staying down.” Mary Pickford.
 
We need to learn the discipline of taking more “strategic” risks. In conjunction with more calculated risk-taking where we weigh the relative merits and potential drawbacks of the risk, we must also test, evaluate, and adapt or behaviors as we undertake the risky endeavor for the greatest potential lesson learned. Here’s how we can accomplish this:
 
* Set guidelines: Establish benchmarks to determine what a successful outcome to the risk would look like. Define success and failure in quantifiable terms then test, test, test through the new path taken. “Failure is only the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.” Henry Ford
 
* Maintain emotional detachment: Do not be so emotionally committed to a particular course of action that you cannot or WILL NOT change, if circumstances dictate you deviate. What this entails is creating a culture that embraces, identifies, and takes advantages of unforeseen opportunities as they arise. Learning organizations evolve and adapt and a necessary aspect/trait of the organizations that do this best is a constant embrace of risk-taking. Other key attributes of learning organizations include:
 
* Employ job rotations: move people from department to department so they get a much broader view of the organization they work for;
 
* Implement creative problem-solving: there has been a tremendous increase in recent years in the study of the creative process for artists and musicians as a discipline for senior management;
 
* Embrace a policy of demanding your people ask “WHY?” and “WHAT IF?” constantly, in order to always challenge accepted behaviors, systems, rules, and processes;
 
* Reward risk-taking: if the risks taken lead to an advancement in the individual’s learning, skill sets, knowledge base or experience that can be leveraged for success in future use; and
 
* The law of “unintended consequences“: Often when we set out to accomplish a task if we don’t achieve that specific goal it is deemed a “failure.” However, a “failure” in achieving one desired outcome may actually pave the path to success in other pursuits, challenges, or uncover unforeseen opportunities. Given employees completely “unstructured” time with no commitments to think freely. This also should include spending a certain percent of your time focused on thinking solely about the future. What does it look like, and how do you see yourself most actively/effectively “engaged.”
 
We Need a New Model of Failure.
 
What if we forced ourselves to take on an entirely new set of psychological responses to failure? What if, instead of thinking of failure as an indictment of our own personal failure, and shortcomings, it became a gift – an opportunity to learn? In this new paradigm of failure as a lesson learned, we reward the risk taken as a badge of honor and NOT as a damning conclusion of our supposed inabilities.
 
How Embracing Failure Benefits Everyone.
 
The beauty of taking greater risks with a much larger potential pay off has universal human appeal, whether you are starting a new business, changing careers, going back to school, re-entering the workplace, changing (foregoing) college in the pursuit of a trade, etc.
 
Einstein said: “Insanity is the act of doing the same thing and expecting a different outcome.” Instead of embracing the philosophy of “stick with what works” you understand that you can only advance by trying new things to fight the creature of habit syndrome. If we are not willing to modify our behavior by taking risks and trying new things, we cannot expect to adapt.
 
So, every time you face the prospect of failing and feel a tremendous sense of foreboding ask yourself: “So what if I fail?” And then very quickly ask: “What if I succeed?” You will be amazed how liberating it is, and what you can achieve when you remove the fear of failure.
 
Here is to a great, successful, achievement-filled 2013!
 
Great resources to Learn from failure:
 
* The Wisdom of Failure.
* Strategies for Learning from Failure article by Amy C. Edmondson, professor at Harvard University.
* Failing Forward by Chris Burge Ministries.
 
Ethan Chazin, The Compassionate Coach
 

Business Marketing to Achieve Sales Success

Achieve sales success through exceptional business marketing!
 
What is marketing? According to the American Marketing Assn: “Marketing is the process of planning and executing the conception, pricing, promotion, and distribution of ideas, goods, and services to create exchanges that satisfy individual and organizational goals.”
 
I’ve spent my entire career working in business marketing, and it truly amazes how few organizations actually understand how critically important marketing is to the achievement of their goals.
 
Marketing is the collective set of activities that an organization utilizes to establish and maintain its brand, while supporting the sales process. In a nutshell, marketing supports the sales effort in making your cash register go: “Cha-chinge!”
 
Historically, when we talked of the elements of a marketing “mix” of activities, we called it the “5-Ps” based on the following:
 
Product: What are the products and services that you offer.
 
Placement: How do you get your products in front of your customers.
 
Pricing: This one is pretty self-explanatory. Considerations on developing a well thought out pricing plan involve developing a commercial pricing strategy that offers pricing based on the size of the organization you sell to? What about special (discounted) pricing options for academic institutions, non-profits, Government agencies? Do you offer tiered (discounted) pricing options for people who buy bundles/packages of your products and do you offer staged discounts based on purchasing more frequently or more products per average order? Does your pricing has built into it a return on your investment (reflects your profit margins?) Customers have greater control than ever to dictate the terms of the pricing you charge.
 
Promotions: What special campaigns do you offer your products and services for discounted pricing? Typically there is a seasonality to promotions tied to special times of years,
but you can offer promotions to spike sales during your down sales times, or to move your excess inventory. An example would be car dealerships that offer end of year sales to get rid of that year’s excess stock in their dealership.
 
Packaging: for physical goods, the packaging is a critical component of the overall product esp. when it comes to aesthetic considerations. Have you ever seen a Tiffanys’ box?
 
Some people suggest that the marketing mix reflects your PEOPLE. This would take you to 6Ps, but if you consider packaging as part of your product, then we’re back to 5Ps. With the commercialization of the internet in the 1990s, two additional elements become staples of effective business marketing. interactivity and individualization! Consider these the 2-Is that supplement your 5-P marketing mix. These MUST be considered fundamental aspects of a successful marketing programs.
 
Interactivity: Nowadays it’s critically important that organizations interact with their customers (esp. their BEST customers) on an ongoing basis.
 
The communication flow between you and your customers must be successful in THREE directions as follows:
1) From your organization to its customers;
2) From your customers to your organization; and
3) Between your customers (with you monitoring those conversations VERY closely.)
 
It is important to remember that it’s your customers who will determine how much interaction you have with them.
 
There has been a fundamental shift in marketing from a one way conversation where the organization used a broadcast, ONE WAY dialog to bombard their customers with marketing messages using TV, radio, and newspapers to an interactive marketing dynamic using the internet which fosters debate, exchange and CONVERSATION!
 
Individualization: With today’s software and file sharing tools, you must be able to send out marketing messages to as many people as possible at once, yet customize the message to each individual. This is referred to as “mass customization” so you gain economies of scale by communicating with as many prospects, clients, suppliers, vendors, the media, etc.as possible,
all the while making people feel as though you are speaking directly to them. The customer decides how they want to customize their experiences with your organization.
 
What is “internet marketing?”
“Internet marketing is the process of building and maintaining customer relationships through online activities to facilitate the change of ideas, products, and services that satisfy the goals of both parties.”
 
With the proliferation of social media, organizations now have significantly more tools in their business marketing arsenal.
 
It’s critically important that you understand social media is NOT “selling.” This is a major issue with the businesses I coach. Social media is a tool to be used to build your brand while you build “RELATIONSHIPS” with your customers. The organizations that truly “get” social media use it creatively to share information, provide resources, educate, entertain, and inform their audiences.
 
If you accomplish this, they MAY buy from you. If you use it only to try to sell to them, they’ll turn on you then away from you. The internet and social media allow organizations to connect with wide segments of the consuming public on individual levels. So much so that older, more traditional marketing vehicles (print, radio, TV advertising) are getting left behind.
 
for example, crowd sourcing websites like Kickstarter and IndieGoGo are allowing people who invest in your start-up to become your customers when you first launch your new business. These online investor communities allow your investors to be your first customers and offer you suggestions on ways to improve your products and services as you launch your business.
 
Therefore, many entrepreneurs who launch a new business more than likely will have a customer base, making traditional marketing expenditures an unnecessary investment for generating new customers. You build and maintain lasting customer relationships through the following FOUR STAGE cycle:
 
1) Awareness: Before your customers purchase from you, they have to know you exist;
2) Exploration / Expansion: Before they feel comfortable buying from you they are going to want to try your stuff, thus free trials are important to get to the next stage;
3) Commitment: Once they know you and feel comfortable with what you have to offer, only then will they buy from you; and
4) Dissolution: At some point the relationship will end, either by your doing or your customer’s.
 
The goal here is to determine through your marketing which customers are your most profitable (and loyal) and target programs to them to keep them engaged, happy, and buying from you (as well as making those always important referrals.) To create successful marketing programs you should follow this “Seven step” plan:
 
1) Frame/identify the market opportunity;
2) Create the marketing strategy;
3) Design the customer experience;
4) Create the customer interface;
5) Design the marketing program;
6) Get customer information using technology; and
7) Evaluate program results.
 
What is a “Market?”
A market is the set of all actual and potential buyers who have sufficient interest in, income for, and access to your products/services.
 
What it means to segment a market.
Market segmentation divides your market into distinct groups of homogenous consumers who all have similar needs and consumer behavior, and thus require similar marketing mixes.
 
Many organizations fund their marketing at ridiculously low levels. They allocate perhaps 1-2% of their annual sales to marketing. However, world-class marketing organizations (Nike, Apple, Google, Starbucks) allocate significantly more, between 5-10% of their annual revenues to marketing. Why is it so important to fund your marketing at this level? In today’s global marketplace, the one true lasting competitive advantage many organizations have is their brand.
 
People buy BRANDS, NOT products! Research shows we humans make purchase decisions on subconscious levels, then justify/validate our decisions with product features, functionality. Marketing enables your business to build those strong emotional relationships with your core customers, the 20% who purchase 80% of your stuff.
 
Definitions of branding abound. I prefer the powerfully simple and elegant explanation that branding is the act of making a “PROMISE.” you promise that what you offer will be truly unique, memorable, and invaluable.
 
Why brands are so important to consumers.
By building strong brands you will connect with your customers, because brands are critical to them. Following are key benefits from brands that customers gain:
 
* Reduces the cost associated with searching for products internally (how much to think about them) and externally (how much to look for them)
* Define product/service qualities
* Present product/service characteristics
* Chance to “connect” with product maker
* Sign of “perceived” quality…PRESTIGE
* Help consumers organize their knowledge about a product to clarify their decision-making and thus adds value to firms.
 
If you’re not delivering on these levels, then you’re nothing more than a “ME TOO” player who only competes on price. when you can only differentiate as the low price leader, you will fail. Today’s global 24x7x365 markets are unforgiving to those who REFUSE to adapt. Marketing is the tip of the spear in continuously offering a truly compelling USP (unique selling proposition.)
 
In today’s marketing world, it is more important than ever to create online communities for your customers.
 
Small business owners therefore MUST learn how to become online community managers.
 
Great Resources For Your 2013 Marketing Plan.
* eMarketing Assn.
* International Internet Marketing Assn.
* “The Worldwide Rave” book by David Meerman Scott
* John Battelle’s Search Blog
* https://Buzzmachine.com
* Frederick Newell’s book on Customer Relationship Management in the Internet Era
* Awesome video on the future of the Internet (Web 3.0)
 
Here is to a great, successful, achievement-filled 2013!
 
Ethan Chazin, The Compassionate Coach

Make Next Year GREAT Through Personal Transformation

Make 2013 the year you finally transform yourself, change your life, and make a difference to the world!
 
If you’ve been following me and reading my blogs, you know that I checked out of Corporate America after 20 years in 2008, after being downsized from Time Warner Cable. After A LOT of introspection, self-assessment and personal exploration, I realized that I wasted a majority of my career in the private sector helping corporations make more money. The loyalty that I exhibited to those organizations was never reciprocated. After being downsized EIGHT times, I had an epiphany and thus began my own personal transformation.
 
Beginning in 2009, I committed to The Chazin Group career coaching and business consulting on an “all in” full-time basis. I chose to spend the rest of my career helping others achieve their personal dreams and professional pursuits. First I authored the book: “Bulletproof Your Career in These Turbulent Times.” To date, I have helped 12,000 people pursue their passions by changing careers, finding new jobs, and re-entering the workforce.
 
I have also coached over 750 people achieve their life’s calling of entrepreneurship by going out on their own to plan, launch and grow successful business ventures, and consulted with 500 organizations how to unleash their people’s untapped talents through training and professional development.
 
During the past four years, I have never worked harder, experienced such highs (and LOWS) or been as fully engaged at ANY point in my professional career as I have running my own business and helping others!
 
Since Most People Hate Their Jobs, Why Do They Refuse to Change?
 
If you polled 100 people randomly and asked them if they were truly happy, maybe five would tell you they are.
 
The sad truth is most people muddle through life in a state of perpetual comatose existence, never fully engaged in their lives and feeling little sense of purpose. They lack a personal mission or belief they can change the world or simply make a difference. Many people that I have tried to encourage to change their lives by pursuing their passions have long ago given up such lofty notions in the pursuit of a regular paycheck.
 
It is my sincere wish that EVERY person reading this article would commit to making this year the year that they FINALLY decided to act on their dreams that they buried deep inside themselves. Here’s how you can make THIS YEAR the year you finally achieve your own PERSONAL TRANSFORMATION:
 
personal transformation 2
 
Think differently: This is the most basic, fundamental criteria that will determine your success or failure in implementing significant change in your life. First off, begin to think positively about yourself as a standard practice. Have complete faith in your abilities to thrive in chaos and embrace change to achieve success in your life. Once you begin doing this, extend your approach to think more positively about others. An entire field of study called the Albert Ellis school of psychotherapy, teaches we MUST NOT think that everything good SHOULD happen to us. Rather, think that it would “BE NICE” if positive things happened and we would prefer if people did what we wanted. By Thinking that good things SHOULD happen, you set yourself up for disappointment when they DON’T. Should implies MUST. When things DON’T work out the way we tell ourselves they MUST, we feel frustrated and angry.
 
This therapeutic approach established by Ellis is based on rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT), the pioneering form of cognitive behavior therapy. REBT is an action-oriented psychotherapy that teaches individuals to identify, challenge, and replace their self-defeating thoughts and beliefs with healthier thoughts that promote emotional well-being and goal achievement. Look into it!
 
* Turn your hobbies/interests into a side business: You know those things you do evenings and weekends that you derive pleasure out of and are really good at (those LEGAL things :-)) Turn them into a side business. The 21st century Ebay home-based business culture is IDEALLY suited for you to launch a hobby as a start-up business venture. Explore work from home businesses and franchises. Consider selling your “stuff” (creations) at bazaars, street fairs, flea markets, even personal parties (Lia Sofia, Pampered Chef, Avon, Mary Kay, etc.)
 
* Get active by engaging your community: You know all the volunteering you do? Start thinking of those things you do that could conceivably be cultivated into personal ventures to explore. Make your civic duty and community engagement pay off for you. This is how I broke into teaching in colleges and Universities. I started giving talks at local high Schools, adult education and vocational centers. That’s how I became a professor at St. John’s, NYU, Fordham, Baruch, and Hunter Colleges.
 
* Coaching, mentoring, and teaching truly matters: There are so many opportunities to engage your local community and “Do Good.” Who can you help in your town? How can you make a true difference and change the world?
 
* Go out on your own: If you work in an organization that you are responsible for making/maintaining contacts, generating business, serving clients, managing accounts, dealing with vendors, suppliers, the media…you are already in a position to convert that into your OWN business start-up venture. Write a business plan and pitch the idea as a way get your company to invest in your plan. If they refuse, leave and take your business plan with you.
 
* Stop Listening to the HEAD TRASH: You know all those little negative things that you say to yourself about yourself? Guess what? We ALL do that! It’s such a pervasive part of our human psyche that researchers have given it a name. It’s called “HEAD TRASH.” From now on you are NOT allowed to speak negatively to yourself about yourself. It’s self-destructive and causes you to stop pursuing your dreams, so STOP IT! I would suggest you even take this approach a step further. Make this the year that you remove all of the people in your social network from your lives who are negative by nature and always tell you to give up, not take risks, don’t pursue opportunities. If you aren’t willing to remove them completely then you need to tell them that you cannot deal with their negativity. Let them decide if they wish to remain a part of your life, then they will have to modify their behavior at the least when they interact with you.
 
* Embrace your fear of change: I have written extensively on the importance of adapting to change as a constant factor in our lives.
 
* Figure Out What Works and What Doesn’t Work: Invest time thinking about your successes and failures this past year. The goal is to try and emulate/repeat the things you were successful at, while limiting your failures. Einstein defined insanity as the act of doing the same things over and over again and expecting a different outcome. Once you know what DOESN’T work for you, change your course of action.
 
Set Goals And Make Them Happen: Set no more than 10 goals for yourself for the entire year, then spend 2013 making sure you achieve them. Make sure these are all STRETCH goals that you have strive towards with major effort, in order to have any chance of achieving.
 
* Stop Limiting Yourself With Self-Doubt: You need to always have the mindset that you can achieve great things. We get into trouble when we impose artificial limitations on ourselves. If you can dream it, you can achieve it. Once you doubt yourself, you’ve already failed.
 
Implementing major change is scary. It’s in our DNA…or rather, our brain. Check out my last blog if you haven’t read why we hate change because it hurts our brains. The bottom line is, these past four years have damaged us in ways none of us can understand. It’s time we all commit to making 2013 the year we FINALLY allow ourselves to be TRULY HAPPY.
 
happy new year 2013
 
Make the leap in 2013 for true personal transformation! Jump into the deep end of the personal transformation pool. Do a cannon ball! Take the plunge! It may be January, but the water’s lovely. You’ll LOVE pursuing your passions and turning those long dormant dreams into reality!
 
Here is to a great, successful, achievement-filled 2013!
 
Ethan Chazin, The Compassionate Coach