22 Questions to Sidestep Entrepreneurial Atrophy

As an entrepreneur, my decision making-process is usually based on self-questioning.

So, anytime I take on a new project, trudge forward with a risky endeavor or discover a new way to diversify my company, I start grilling myself.

What can I say? I’m obsessed with questions. (As if you didn’t already know that.)

I collect them.
I write about them.
I have a huge crush on them!

BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY: I leverage them to grow my business.

Today we’re going to explore a list called 22 Questions to Sidestep Entrepreneurial Atrophy. They’re divided into four main categories:

1. Financial
2. Growth
3. Asset
4. Competition

Let’s get started…

1. How can I turn this into an income stream? Always think leverage. Always find a way to kill two stones with one bird. Find a way to make money everywhere. Just be sure you’re asking, “HOW,” and not “CAN I?” One is a possibility question; the other is a yes or no question.

2. Why am I NOT charging for this? Probably because you had to give it away for free in the beginning to build momentum, credibility and word of mouth. Which is perfectly acceptable. The challenge is making the transition, most of which derives from your sense of self-worth. You gotta believe in your product!

3. Should I be charging for this? Yes, if it has value, if you’re really good at it and if there’s a market for it.

4. How much could I be charging for this? Dude, I don’t know. Depends on what you’re worth per hour. Depends on how much work your new endeavor requires. Depends on how valuable your new “thing” is. Depends what the market will bear.

1. What personal skills have I not tapped into yet to build my business? Run an honest evaluation of what you bring to the table. Discover untapped assets and find a way to exploit them to grow your business.

2. What personal skills have I not tapped into yet to add value to my customers? Exact same process as question #1, except this time you’re exploiting them in the service of your customers.

3. What products and services are my clients asking for that I don’t currently provide? Notice the patterns. Keep a running list. Spot the trends in customer’s comments and figure out what that means for you.

4. Now that I have this, what else does this make possible? The ultimate leverage question. Future focused. Exciting. Also a possibility-question that doubles or triples the value of an asset when you think about its future value.

5. Are you cloning yourself through teaching others? Sheep? Bah! Clone yourself.

6. How can I give people a portable, junior, take-home, or alternate version of me? Can’t afford the speaking fee? Don’t want to PAY the speaking fee? Don’t have enough people to warrant an “audience” for a speech? No problem. Give clients different ways to “get” you. Different mediums. Different prices. Different YESES.

1. What’s next? Most important question of all time. Keeps you moving. Sidesteps entrepreneurial atrophy. Future focused, growth-minded

2. What’s my sequel? You don’t want to be a one-hit wonder. You’re contributing to a life-long body of work. A library. A chronicle. Think Willie Nelson, not Don McLean.

3. What business COULD I be in? The logical next step. The obvious fit.

4. When was the last time you created new value? Hopefully, recently! Or are you just doing the same old stuff you did one year ago?

5. When was the last time you reinvented yourself? Every few years, at least. A good parallel is to look at the music industry. Explore the timeline of a musician who’s been around a LONG time and experienced multiple reinventions, still rocking all the while, i.e., Tom Waits or Van Morrison.

6. At what point are you making a living vs. building your business? This is when money takes a back seat to equity. When gross take a back seat to growth.

1. Will it make your company more competitive? If not, then what’s the point of taking this endeavor on?

2. What would most scare or piss off the competition? The answer to that question is what you should do. Something to make the competition think, “Damn, that IS pretty cool. I wish we’d thought of that first!”

3. If I do this, will I become the best? If not, bag it. Average is for losers. Especially in an age when the first hit on Google becomes the immediate front runner; it’s just not worth doing anything unless you’re going to become the best at it.

4. How can I change the rules so I can win at my own game? The best way to eliminate the competition is to NOT have any. To become the ONLY. That Guy. The sole source.

5. Where are the uncontested waters, and how can I swim there? Similarly, that means going where nobody else has the guts to go. That means becoming a category of one.

6. Is anybody else doing this now? If not, stuff it. If so, ask yourself if you can do it better and cooler. If you can’t, stuff it. If so, let’s go!

– – –

REMEMBER: Successful entrepreneurs are like sharks – if they don’t keep swimming, they die.

How are you sidestepping entrepreneurial atrophy?

For the list called, “194 Books in Scott’s Success Library,” send an email to me, and I’ll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

New website go live this week?

Tune in to The Entrepreneur Channel on NametagTV.com!

Watch video lessons on spreading the word!

37 Words that Should NOT be in Your Company Name

Hello! My name is Bob Johnson.
I’m the owner of a company called ACX Advertising Advisors Unlimited.

Greetings! My name is Sharon Smith.
I’m here with Super Creative Communications Corporation International.

Good morning! My name is Randall Stevens.
I represent Industrial Graphic Management Solutions and Investments Company.

Howdy! My name is Janet Bishop.
I’m the CEO of Premiere Branding, Marketing, Advertising Communications and Investments.


No, no, no, NO!

Your company name sucks.

In fact, if your company name includes any of the following words, you’re in trouble:

1. Advertising
2. Advisors
3. Associates
4. Branding
5. Communications
6. Company
7. Consultants
8. Consulting
9. Corp
10. Corporation
11. Creative
12. Deluxe
13. Enron
14. Enterprises
15. Graphics
16. Industries
17. International
18. Investments
19. Kwik
20. Management
21. Marketing
22. Materials
23. Partners
24. Premiere
25. Presentations
26. Products
27. Promotion
28. Services
29. Shop
30. Solutions
31. Store
32. Super
33. Systems
34. Tech
35. Technologies
36. Ultimate
37. Unlimited
38. (Or, ANY acronym whatsoever. With the exception of IBM.)

See, here’s the problem.

If your company name contains words like these, it sends the following messages to the world:

1. You’re LAZY. You don’t care enough about your company to take the time, effort and money to do it right. Nice pride.

2. You’re AMATEUR. You clearly don’t understand the value of remarkability or crafting an identity for your organization. Read “Purple Cow” for God’s sake!

3. You’re UNORIGINAL. You created a generic company name. Which probably means you’re a generic company. With generic employees. Who produce generic products and deliver generic service. Which is a problem, since most people don’t want to pay for average.

4. You’re UNCREATIVE. And that’s going to trickle down into every other entity of your business. That can’t be good.

5. You’re UNPROFESSIONAL. And customers are going to take you less seriously. Which means they will buy less. (Also not good.)

Of course, that’s just the perception.

Doesn’t make it true.
Doesn’t mean you’re a bad person.
Or a bad company.

However, perception is __________.


SO, THIS BRINGS UP THE QUESTION: When was the last time you hired someone who (you perceived as being) lazy, amateur, unoriginal, uncreative and unprofessional?

Yeah. Didn’t think so.

Interestingly, the Great Place to Work Institute and Fortune Magazine recently named America’s Top 100 Employers to Work For in 2008.

Take a look at this list. What language trends do you notice?

1. Google
2. Quicken Loans
3. Wegman’s Food Markets
4. Edward Jones
5. Genentech
6. Cisco Systems
7. Starbucks
8. Qualcomm
9. Goldman Sachs
10. Methodist Hospital System
11. Boston Consulting Group
12. Nugget Market
13. Umpqua Bank
14. Network Appliance
15. W. L. Gore & Associates
16. Whole Foods Market
17. David Weekley Homes
18. OhioHealth
19. Arnold & Porter
20. Container Store
21. Principal Financial Group
22. American Century Investments
23. JM Family Enterprises
24. American Fidelity Assurance
25. Shared Technologies
26. Stew Leonard’s
27. SC Johnson & Son
28. QuikTrip
29. SAS Institute
30. Aflac
31. Alston & Bird
32. Rackspace Managed Hosting
33. Station Casinos
34. Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI)
35. TDIndustries
36. Nordstrom
37. Johnson Financial Group
38. Kimley-Horn and Associates
39. Robert W. Baird
40. Adobe Systems
41. Bingham McCutchen
43. Intuit
44. Plante & Moran
45. Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta
46. CarMax
47. J. M. Smucker Company
48. Devon Energy Corporation
49. Griffin Hospital
50. Camden Property Trust
51. Paychex
52. FactSet Research Systems
53. VSP-Vision Care
55. Perkins Coie
56. Scripps Health
57. Ernst & Young
58. Scottrade
59. Mayo Clinic
60. Alcon Laboratories
61. Chesapeake Energy Corporation
62. American Express
63. King’s Daughters Medical Center
64. EOG Resources
65. Russell Investment Group
66. Nixon Peabody
67. Valero Energy
68. EBay
69. General Mills
70. Mattel
71. KPMG
72. Marriott International
73. David Evans and Associates
74. Granite Construction
75. Southern Ohio Medical Center
76. Arkansas Children’s Hospital
77. PCL Construction
78. Navy Federal Credit Union
79. National Instruments
80. Healthways
81. Booz Allen Hamilton
82. Nike
83. AstraZeneca
84. Stanley
85. Lehigh Valley Hospital and Health Network
86. Microsoft
87. Yahoo!
88. Four Seasons Hotels
89. Bright Horizons Family Solutions
90. PricewaterhouseCoopers
91. Publix Super Markets
92. Milliken
93. Erickson Retirement Communities
94. Baptist Health South Florida
95. Deloitte & Touche USA
96. Herman Miller
97. FedEx
98. Sherwin-Williams
99. SRA International
100. Texas Instruments

– – –

I know, I know. I counted too 🙂

Associates – 3
Company – 1
Enterprises – 1
Group – 4
International – 2
Investments – 2
Markets – 4
Store – 1
Systems – 4
Technologies – 1

So, FINE. There will always be exceptions.

But, see, those few companies can get away with it.

Because they were the FIRST company to use that word.
Because they’ve been around a LONG time.
Because make BILLIONS of dollars.

YOUR company, on the other hand, doesn’t.

You’re not Adobe Systems. Or The Boston Consulting Group. Or The Container Store.

You’re YOU.

Which is good! You wouldn’t want to be anyone else.

THE CHALLENGE IS: You need to dig deep and discover the remarkability that lay within.

Oh yeah. It’s there.

Waiting for you.

Crying out, “Use me! Use me! I’m cool! I can help grow your business!”

And you need to listen.

Because you DON’T want a generic company name.

See, generic names = generic products.
And generic products = generic value.
And generic value = generic service.
And generic service = generic BUSINESS.

And generic businesses … rarely STAY in business.

Does your company name suck?

For the list called, “74 Qualifying Questions to Test the Net Worth of Your Company Tagline,” send an email to me, and I’ll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

Starting your company? Naming your company? Renaming your company?

Holler at me.

Rent Scott’s Brain today!

27 Things to Do FIRST

1. First, ante up.
Because you’ve got to pay yer dues.

2. First, choose roles.
Because you need a foundation.

3. First, think about the fourth sale.
Because it’s not really a sale – it’s a process. It’s a relationship.

4. First, convey personality.
Because that’s what people buy.

5. First, deliver value.
Because if you don’t, you’re nothing.

6. First, get paid.
Because nothing happens until a sale is made.

7. First, pay yourself.
Because you deserve it.

8. First, create SOMETHING.
Because it sets the stage for the rest of your day.

9. First, start writing.
Because writing is the basis of all wealth.

10. First, make a list.
Because if you don’t write it down, it never happened.

11. First, ask Google.
Because if it doesn’t exist on Google, it doesn’t exist.

12. First, discover your WHAT.
Because if you get stopped by not knowing HOW, you’ll never make any progress.

13. First, think design.
Because the medium is the message, and design is EVERYTHING.

14. First, conquer yourself.
Because that’s the toughest battle of all.

15. First, love yourself.
Because nobody else will if you don’t.

16. First, lead yourself.
Because you can’t rightly lead others until you’ve led yourself.

17. First, manage yourself.
Because you can’t rightly manage others until you’ve managed yourself.

18. First, market yourself.
Because if you don’t make a name for yourself; someone will make one FOR you.

19. First, sell yourself.
Because it’s the most important sale in the world.

20. First, develop friendships.
Because people want to do business with their friends.

21. First, do it for free.
Because the more you give away for free, the wealthier you will be.

22. First, put people.
Because people buy from people, people trust people, and people are loyal to people.

23. First, focus on THEIR agenda.
Because your agenda will only block listening.

24. First, your heart will see it.
Because your other senses are too slow.

25. First, focus on your health.
Because without it, nothing else matters.

26. First, focus on your family.
Because they’re only the people who will still love you, even when you act like a complete putz. (Trust me, I would know!)

27. First, focus on character.
Because in the end, that’s all that really matters.

What do you always do first?

For a list called, “8 Ways to Move Quickly on New Opportunities,” send an email to scott@hellomynameisscott.com and I’ll hook you up!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

Coaching, schmoaching.

How about someone who (actually) listens and facilitates creative breakthroughs?

Rent Scott’s Brain today!

18 Lessons from 18 People Smarter Than Me

1. MARK VICTOR HANSEN said, “Free enterprise means the more enterprising you are, the freer you are!”

What are you doing TODAY to increase your freedom TOMORROW?

2. T.S. ELLIOT said, “The Nobel Prize is a ticket to your own funeral. Nobody has ever done anything after he got it.”

Are you searching for a “finish line”?

3. SETH GODIN said, “The more people you reach, the more likely it is you’re reaching the wrong people.”

Are you worrying about the NUMBER of eyeballs or the RIGHT eyeballs?

4. BARBARA WINTER said, “Ideas are the ancestors of your success.”

How many ideas did you come up with today?

5. R. BUCKMINSTER FULLER said, “Intuition is cosmic fishing, you feel a nibble and then you’ve got to hook the fish.”

Are you listening to what your gut is telling you to write?

6. ROGER SCHANK said, “A question that has a stock answer is always the wrong question.”

What questions are you asking that your competitors aren’t?

7. DAVID LYNCH said, “It doesn’t matter where your idea starts. It matters where it leads you.”

How well are you executing?

8. ESTE LAUDER said, “Risk taking is the cornerstone of empires.”

What three risks have you taken this week?

9. FRANCIS BACON said, “Those ideas that come unsought are commonly the most valuable, and should be secured, because they seldom return.”

What things are you NOT writing down?

10. TOM WATSON said, “Good judgment comes from experience. And experience comes from bad judgment.”

What lessons have you learned from making poor judgment calls?

11. BUDDHA said, “Each day we are born again. What we do today matters most.”

Why are you still thinking about yesterday?

12. PAT WALSH said, “If you want to elevate yourself above other writers, then do it on the page.”

Are you talking shit or just writing really good stuff?

13. DANNY GREGORY said, “Spend less time on success and more time on art.”

How long did you work on your art yesterday?

14. JOHN MAXWELL said, “You can impress people from a distance, but only impact them up close.”

How are you getting people to come to YOU?

15. ELMORE LEONARD said, “If you want to be a good writer, just leave out the parts that people skip.”

Do you (really) think your readers are going to sit through your book’s boring foreword, preface, “how to use this book” page AND an introduction?

16. PAUL SIMON said, “If you start with something that’s false, you’re always covering your tracks.”

Whose material are you stealing?

17. SOME JAPANESE DUDE said, “Don’t seek to follow the footsteps of the wise. Seek what they sought.”

What questions are you asking your mentors?

18. KAHLIL GIBRAN said, “If he is indeed wise, he does not bid you to enter the house of his own wisdom, but rather leads you to the threshold of your own mind.”

Are you letting the people you serve learn things on their own?

Are you playing with people who are better than you?

For a list called, “153 Quotations to Inspire Your Success,” send an email to scott@hellomynameisscott.com and I’ll hook you up!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

Who’s telling their friends about YOU?

Tune in to The Marketing Channel on NametagTV.com!

Watch video lessons on spreading the word!

25 Passion-Finding Questions to Invite Someone to Talk about What They Love

When people start talking ABOUT or get on the topic OF their passion, it’s interesting to note the changes in their communication patterns.

They get excited.
Their eyes light up.
They become more engaged.

Their emotions heighten.
Their energy level increases.
Their defensiveness decreases.

They become more comfortable.
They seem more relaxed.
Their posture grows sturdier.

They talk with more speed and less effort.
They get on a roll, on a rant or on their soapbox.
They seem like they could go on forever.

Passion. It’s a beautiful thing!

As my hommie Curt Rosengren says, “Passion fuels your career success, strengthens your confidence in your abilities and inspires the persistence it takes to make your dreams reality!”

Well said, Curt.

AND, HERE’S THE BEST PART: Asking about passion is a MILLION times more approachable then asking someone, “So, what do YOU do?”

(As my eyes roll…)

Because of COURSE, we’ve been programmed to default to that question as SOON as we meet someone. That way we can quickly, easily (and usually inaccurately) compartmentalize that person into a neat little box.

BUT, HERE’S THE REALITY: Most people don’t care.

See, it doesn’t really matter what you “do.”

It matters who you ARE.

And in my experience:

Who You Are = What You’re Passionate About

Because passion is everything.
Because passion is what (truly) connects people.
Because passion is the most approachable thing in the world.

THEREFORE: A successful conversation is one in which PASSION is discussed.

Especially if you’ve just getting to know somebody. Steering the conversation into the territory of somebody’s passion is the perfect way to create an engaging, unforgettable encounter.

The challenge, however, is making the transition.

See, if you’re too deliberate with your questions, it may come off as rapport seeking, as opposed to rapport attracting.

Or, you may sound like an unappointed career counselor or a motivational speaker.

And that’s no good.

That’s why you need to be careful. Because if someone gets the impression that you’re only asking passion-finding questions to “fix” or “coach” or manipulate them, they probably won’t open up fully and authentically.

So, without trying to hard, without probing and without being over-determined or over-intentional, here’s your three-word assignment: Ask about passion.

After all, your questions WILL differentiate yourself in the minds of the people you meet.

That is, if you ask the right ones. At the right time. And in the right way.

Hence, today’s list:

25 Passion-Finding Questions to Invite Someone to Talk about What They Love

1. If you could do just one thing all day long and get paid well for doing it, what would you do?
2. If you could only give one speech, for one hour, for one million people, what ONE WORD would that speech be about?
3. If you could only have one section of the bookstore to visit, which section would it be?
4. If you could only subscribe to ONE publication for the rest of your life, what would it be?
5. If you could only work 2 days a week, what would you do?
6. If you could only work 2 hours a week, what would you do?
7. If you could take a sabbatical for one year, where would you go and what would you do?
8. If you didn’t have to work, what would you do all day long?
9. If you were the last human on Earth, what would you still do every day?
10. What activity always makes you lose track of time?
11. What activity gives you the most energy?
12. What brings you to life?
13. What could you talk about forever?
14. What things are you able to do, without even trying?
15. What do you like to do, just for the fun of it?
16. What do you love to do that (you can’t believe) people actually pay you money to do?
17. What do you love to talk about?
18. What do you most enjoy making?
19. What have you always found to be easy?
20. What is the one thing that people couldn’t pay you NOT to do?
21. What pictures or wallet items do you ALWAYS show to people?
22. What questions do you look forward to be asked?
23. When you don’t know what to do, what do you find yourself doing to find your way?
24. Why do you admire the people you admire?
25. You, yourself, are at your best when you’re acting HOW?

– – –

OK! Think you’re (now) ready to start asking some of these Passion-Finding Questions?

Not so fast, Oprah.

Before your start spouting off a bunch of unusual questions to complete strangers, remember a few things:

o Make the right call. Some of these questions are more penetrating and personal than others. So, be sure your timing, context and wording are appropriate. You don’t want the other person to question your questions!

o Don’t overdo it. Now that you’ve read this monstrous list, choose 3-5 of your favorite questions to incorporate into your lexicon. (Any more than that will be too much to remember!) In fact, you could even write your questions on a little card to keep in your wallet as a handy reference.

o Keep it real. When asking PFQ’s, be careful they don’t sound too calculated, rehearsed or unnatural. I suggest you practice asking your favorite questions a dozen or so times until you’ve routinized, internalized and normalized the dialogue.

Ultimately, when you ask someone about her passion – ESPECIALLY a customer – it pays off BIG time in the world of service.

Here’s how:

1. The customer starts talking about her passion.
2. That passion becomes intertwined in the sales conversation.
3. The customer builds and customizes her product or service WITH you.
4. The customer takes ownership since she helped create it.
5. The customer buys it.

Passion! It’s a beautiful (and approachable) thing.

So, next time you meet someone, avoid asking, “So, what do YOU do?”

Instead, invite them to talk about what they love.

If you were the last human on earth, what would YOU still do every day?

For the (full) list called, “86 Passion-Finding Questions to Invite Someone to Talk about What They Love,” you know the drill! Send an email to scott@hellomynameisscott.com and I’ll give you enough PFQ’s to last a lifetime.

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

What’s YOUR approach?

Join The Nametag Forums! Share stories, best practices and connect with a like-minded community of business professionals who stick themselves out there!

17 Behaviors to Avoid for Effective Listening

Growing bigger ears isn’t just about what you DO.

It’s also about what you DON’T DO.

1. Don’t react.
Respond coolly, objectively and non-judgmentally.

2. Don’t think.
Just perceive without interpreting or labeling.

3. Don’t perform.
Because some people view listening as a performance.

4. Don’t tell someone not to feel a certain way.
This cheats her out of having her feelings.

5. Don’t get bored.
Because that means you’re focusing on the wrong person ☺

6. Don’t take over.
Instead, take IN the other person.

7. Don’t tell.
Instead, ask. (But not too many questions!)

8. Don’t give advice.
Unless someone asks for it.

9. Don’t usurp ownership.
Let the other person give birth to their ideas and realizations.

10. Don’t inflict your agenda.
Because listening isn’t about you.

11. Don’t one-up.
It’s a form of conversational narcissism.

12. Don’t use the other person’s comments as prompts for your clever little jokes.
It’s annoying and clearly motivated by self-interested.

13. Don’t speak.
Just stop talking for a while. Seriously. Let the silence make space for the other person to just BE.

14. Don’t impose your own structure.
Let the speaker pace the conversation.

15. Don’t fix.
That isn’t your job, and people don’t like to be “fixed.”

16. Don’t take too many notes.
Or else it will look like you’re too busy to listen.

17. Don’t ask, “Why?”
That word creates defensiveness.

What others behaviors should effective listeners avoid?

For a list called “27 Affirmations to Prepare Yourself to Listen,” send an email to scott@hellomynameisscott.com and I’ll help you grow bigger ears today!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

If they can’t come UP to you; how will they ever get BEHIND you?

Buy Scott’s new book and learn daily practices for becoming a more approachable manager!

Pick up your copy (or a case!) right here.

26 Secrets to Publishing a List Everybody Wants to Read, Download and Link To

1. Start off by giving yourself an idea quotient. The bigger the better.

2. Don’t think. Just write.

3. Find a really important item on your list and repeat it a few times. At first, people will think you made a mistake; but eventually they’ll get the point.

4. Make your title absurdly LOOOOOOOOOOOONG.

5. Make your title ridiculously generic.

6. Make your title totally hilarious.

7. Make your title completely unarguable (see the title of this list as an example)

8. REMEMBER: The more items you have on your list, the more often you can throw one random item in just for the hell of it. (Kind of like this!)

9. Make your list long, but make your sentences short.

10. Double-space your list if the sentences are long.

11. Single-space your list if the sentences are short.

12. In the title of your list, use unexpected numbers like 31, 87 and 62. It sounds cooler, more credible and more human. (As if all lists magically ended up with 50 items every time.) Bah!

13. Find a really important item on your list and repeat it a few times. At first, people will think you made a mistake; but eventually they’ll get the point.

14. Do a Consecutive Repeated Item with more emphasis on the second example.

15. Do a Consecutive Repeated Item with more emphasis on the second example. SERIOUSLY. I’m not going to say it again. Gosh!

16. Dance with language. Screw grammar, punctuation, “rules of writing” and all of that other 11th grade literary bullshit. It’s just a list, man. It ain’t gonna win a Pulitzer. Let it go.http://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gif

17. Make yourself – as the writer – disappear. Write conversationally so readers forget that they’re reading.

18. Read lists written by some of the great list makers: Seth Godin, Tom Peters, Jeffrey Gitomer.

19. Don’t force it. No need to get the entire list done in one sitting. Add a few items here, a few items there. Save your unfinished lists in a folder and publish them when they feel ready.

20. Alphabetizing your lists has several advantages. First, it’s easy for readers to pace. Second, it leaves the distribution of list items up to chance, which, often times, comes out better. Thirdly, it makes those anal, OCD folks (like yours truly) quite happy.

21. Shorter sentences win. They get read. They get remembered. That’s it.

22. Links are a good idea, just not too many. A confused mind never buys.

23. Make your list an open loop. Encourage readers to add their thoughts, thereby expanding and enhancing your list. REMEMBER: Just because you post it on your blog, doesn’t mean it’s done. In fact, a good list is never done.

24. Find a really important item on your list and repeat it a few times. At first, people will think you made a mistake; but eventually they’ll get the point.

25. Although the number of items on your list is (usually) irrelevant, numbers like 99, 100 and 101 seem to work really well.

26. Spice it up. If your list item is rather long, use a bold, italicized, underlined or ALL CAPS subheading to make the architecture more digestible. See, your writing needs to B-R-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-A-T-H-E more. Like a Norah Jones vocal melody or a Tom Morello guitar solo.

Got it?

What are the characteristics of a killer list?

If you’d like (yet another) list called “43 Reasons to Organize Your Content with Lists,” you know the drill. Send an email to scott@hellomynameisscott.com and I’ll deliver the goodies.

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

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52 Random Insights for Growing Your Business

We had a blast at the annual “Fire Sessions” @ Brains on Fire this week. I got to share the stage with Richard Tait, creator of Cranium. Coolest CEO ever!

Spike “Wrong Way” Jones has a nice wrap-up of the conference here.

Then, I flew across the country to Seattle to work with my friends from The American Gem Society. Also awesome! And last night Vogue put on their annual fashion/jewelry show.

Eep! Those models were taller than ME!

Anyhoo, I had lots of travel time this week. Sure enough, I was able to pump out (yet another) ridiculously long list.


52 Random Insights for Growing Your Business

1. Be careful of being too anxious to prove your value.

2. Be willing to walk away from every sale.

3. Be worth the price of admission.

4. Become like the companies and people you admire.

5. Brand your honesty.

6. Build an asset so attractive that buyers will come looking for it.

7. Build things worth noticing.

8. Clearly define what you are a steward of.

9. Create a product people can easily become obsessed with.

10. Develop a system for dealing with customer complaints.

11. Discover whether or not this is your own thinking.

12. Do something you would do for NOTHING.

13. Don’t do stuff that doesn’t need to be done by anyone.

14. Don’t tune out the moment you realize it doesn’t apply to you.

15. Enable customers to purchase your experience.

16. Figure out what is SO YOU, then do that. (Thank you, Greg Cordell!)

17. Figure out who has your money in their pockets; then find a way to get it into your pockets.

18. Find a job that people couldn’t pay you NOT to do.

19. First, increase your character. THEN your talent.

20. Hang with people whose thinking sparks your own.

21. Help people recall their high performance patterns.

22. Help your customers build their businesses.

23. Help your customers do your marketing for you.

24. Identify the types of situations that bring out the best in you. Revisit them regularly.

25. If you want to be a great writer, just leave out the parts people skip.

26. Keep histories of your creative initiatives.

27. Learn marketing from musicians. Those dudes are smart.

28. Learn what people treasure.

29. Let experiences change you.

30. Listen for your own ego in your words.

31. Make adding value part of your daily lifestyle.

32. Make it easy for customers to complain.

33. Make your customers smarter.

34. Multitasking is usually disrespectful.

35. Muster the courage to turn away business.

36. Never let ‘em see you coming.

37. On a daily basis, empty yourself of yourself.

38. Please the people who are attracted to your vision.

39. Profit from every experience.

40. Put lots of free samples of your work out there.

41. Put more decisions in the hand of your customers.

42. Quietly start things.

43. Reading books isn’t enough. You have to study them and live them.

44. Recognize threats to your ownership.

45. Reduce the possibility of being proved wrong.

46. Reduce your customer’s perception of risk.

47. Refuse to associate with people who sap your enthusiasm.

48. Return your calls faster than your competitors.

49. Send yourself to your room.

50. Show people that their feelings are legitimate.

51. Take note of whom and what consistently makes you happy.

52. Test your organization for its responsiveness.

– – –

That’s it.

Have a perfect weekend!

What are your three BEST pieces of “Business Growth” advice?

Share ’em here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

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10 Reasons Why You’re Not Blogging Yet

After speaking last week at the St. Louis Business Expo, a lot of people came up to me afterward with questions about blogging.

Naturally, those questions came with a fair amount of reasons for NOT blogging.

All of which were the work of the notorious Bloggie Man.

So, that inspired me to write this list…

10 Reasons Why You’re NOT Blogging Yet

1. You don’t know how.
That’s cool – you can learn the basics in about 20 minutes. Or you could read Naked Conversations and The Cluetrain Manifesto for a more philosophical approach.

The rest you’ll figure out as you go along. Don’t be stopped by not knowing how, or else you’ve NEVER start.

2. You’re scared of technology.
Oh, get over yourself. There are 50 million blogs already out there and 80,000 new blogs popping up everyday! If your nine year-old daughter can do it, so can you. Don’t be held hostage by the generation gap.

Suck it up. Education is the key. Just ask questions, poke around the blogosphere and give it a try. You’ve got VERY little to lose.

3. You have writer’s block.
Bullshit. There’s no such thing as writer’s blocl. Writing is an extension of thinking. You don’t have writer’s block, you have THINKER’S block.

So, try taking some time to just THINK, every single day. You’ll be amazed at what you come up with.

4. You have no discipline.
According to Naked Conversations, 50% of most blogs are abandoned in the first few months. And why? Because people don’t have the discipline to keep up with them.

So, what’s stopping you? Kids? School? Job? Time?

And are you coming up with a “good story” as to why you can’t blog, or it REALLY a valid reason?

REMEMBER: Leo Tolstoy had 13 kids when he wrote War & Peace. What’s YOUR excuse?

5. You have no patience.
Here’s the reality: nobody is going to read, know about, care about or even comment on your blog for at least 3-6 months. And that’s if you post every single day.

SO: Are you willing to stick it out? Are you willing to (not) be validated for a long time?

Sure, it’s a blow to your ego, but it will also grow your patience, stamina and stick-to-it-ive-ness. And it will be worth it. (Eventually.) At the lowest common denominator, at least you’ll have all those great posts and a LOT of practice.

6. You don’t want put out unready or unfinished material.
That’s understandable. The Perfection Trap is common for a LOT of writers. So, here’s my suggestion: post it unfinished. Let the world be your editor.

Sure, not everyone who comments or contributes will give you GOLD, but you never know. There are some smart folks out there. Especially if you position your post in a way that elicits comments, shared stories and contributions.

Consider having a Call to Action at the end of each entry. (See the bottom of this post for a good example.)

7. You think you have to be really insightful and profound.
Nope. I make a living writing about my observations of the world through the lens of WEARING A DAMN NAMETAG 😉 Not exactly Shakespeare.

REMEMBER: Your everyday life is what people will relate to. You don’t have to say anything big and profound.

8. You don’t get it.
Writing is the basis of all wealth. Writing is the basis of all wealth. Writing is the basis of all wealth. Writing is the basis of all wealth. Writing is the basis of all wealth. Writing is the basis of all wealth. Writing is the basis of all wealth. Writing is the basis of all wealth. Writing is the basis of all wealth. (Got that?)

9. You are afraid to stick yourself out there.
Fine. Consider these three suggestions.

ONE: Channel your fear into your writing. Creativity is about being uncomfortable.

TWO: If you’re scared that your stuff is too personal, consider blogging anonymously. That will give you a few small victories, which will boost your confidence. (Heck, I blogged anonymously for 6 months before I ever DARED to put my real name on anything!) And now, 5 years later, my blog is one of the Top 100 Business Blogs on the Web. Coincidence?

THREE: It’s ironic, but the more personal your writing is, the more people will identify with it. And by “more people” I mean “higher numbers of people” AND “more identification.”

10. You don’t think anybody will read your stuff.
You’re right. Nobody WILL read your stuff … IF YOU NEVER POST IT. Look, the Internet is a pretty big place. And there’s a market for just about everything. So, just post anyway. You’ll be amazed.

My philosophy is, “Whatever you have to say, there’s probably 1000 people somewhere on the Internet who agree with you.”

– – –

No more excuses. The Bloggie Man shall not prevail!

Start your blog TODAY.

Right now.

Seriously, stop reading this post and GO!!!!

Why aren’t you blogging again?

If I still haven’t convinced you to start blogging, send an email to scott@hellomynameisscott.com and I’ll tell you how I made $150,000 from a single post.

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

Scared of the Bloggie Man?

Tune in to The Entrepreneur Channel on NametagTV.com!

Watch video lessons on blogging for bucks!

65 Things I Wish Someone Would’ve Told Me When I Started My Company

1. A successful speech is a group effort.
2. Activity isn’t progress.
3. Ask yourself how YOU can do it before asking how it’s already been done.
4. Be confident but uncertain.
5. Be gentle and non-critical of yourself.
6. Build credibility into everything you do.
7. Discard evaluative tendencies.
8. Don’t advertise your importance.
9. Don’t be stopped by not knowing HOW.
10. Don’t count on your audience to connect the dots.
11. Don’t fall in love with your own ideas.
12. Don’t reach for ready-made replies.
13. Don’t talk so goddamn much.
14. Don’t talk the energy out of your idea or else there will be nothing left for action.
15. Don’t waste your time playing to the wrong crowd.
16. Doubt is healthy.
17. Emulate, don’t imitate.
18. Every day is the answer.
19. Everything you do should lead to something else you do.
20. Everything you write MUST have a response mechanism.
21. Fear the known.
22. Find a way to catalyze your discontent.
23. Find out if this is an opportunity, or an opportunity to be used.
24. Formulas are reductive. Stick with practices.
25. Get the other person to learn it on their own.
26. Get the other person to say it on their own.
27. Get their email.
28. Give people new eyes, not new landscapes.
29. Good art is never finished.
30. Ideas are your major source of income.
31. If all you’re doing is speaking, you don’t have a business.
32. If all you’re doing is speaking, you have no audience outside of your audience.
33. If they want you, they’ll find you.
34. If you make it an issue, you give other people permission to make it an issue.
35. Know the patterns of your ignorance.
36. Notice your patterns of energy investment.
37. Patience. It’s only a matter of time. They’ll come when they’re ready for you.
38. Pinpoint your value and work backwards.
39. Publicists are full of BS.
40. Punch people in the face. Make it really, really clear.
41. Recognize threats to your ownership.
42. Refuse to define yourself by others’ assessments.
43. See more by striving less.
44. Seeking destroys the journey.
45. Seven words: “I respect your opinion of my work.”
46. Shut up and listen.
47. Something isn’t always better than nothing.
48. State your fee confidently and shut up. He who talks next loses.
49. Stop trying to win over complete strangers who don’t know how to value you yet.
50. The loudest person in the room is usually the weakest person in the room.
51. The map is not the territory.
52. The media doesn’t care about you.
53. The more time you’ve been given to talk, the less you should actually speak.
54. The number of eyeballs isn’t as important as WHOSE eyeballs.
55. The purpose is found in the process
56. The question isn’t IF they should use you, it’s HOW they should use you.
57. Wait for the right time to prove people wrong.
58. Wearing glasses makes you look smarter.
59. When you do an interview, you’re NOT there to answer their questions.
60. Writing is the answer to everything.
61. You don’t always have to organize everything.
62. You don’t need to apologize when you’ve done nothing wrong.
63. You don’t need to be the expert. Only the PERCEIVED expert.
64. You don’t need to justify your existence to anyone.
65. Your calendar is your inventory.

What things do you wish someone would’ve told you when you started YOUR company?

Post your lists here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

Are your customers proud to be your customers?

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