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The "Now" Organization

What are you working on right now?

It's a question I often ask in order to elicit a more specific response than would be received by asking, How are you? I think it's because of the now.

For the last year, I've been treating now as a word that represents attention, focus and priority rather than status. And I'm not the only one.

In October, 2015, Derek Sivers created a page at that he describes as his "public declaration of priorities." He updates it each time his activities or priorities change. 

Sivers is an entrepreneur and author of Anything You Want. While working as a professional musician, he went looking for a way to market and sell his music outside of conventional distributors and labels. He ended up creating CD Baby which went on to generate more than $100M in sales for more than 150,000 independent musicians.

I think he's better known for his hit 3-minute TED Talk Leadership Lessons from a Dancing...

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Double Double

Well, Google thinks I'm never coming home. Tried to add something to my calendar in Pacific Time and it asked, "Wait, what?"

It's been an epic summer gig season and I love what I do. My clients tell me it shows and that makes me smile.

I tallied up my overnights on the road for 2015 and it's equal to 2013 and 2014 combined. I'm sure it's been good for me but I think that's a maximum for me. I won't pursue more than this. In fact, I'm building my training programs online to allow me to travel less for work, although I doubt I will turn it away. I love what I do and I will travel until I don't.

I've been blessed to meet up with and work with so many friends this summer on projects, businesses and speaking gigs... and I've had an awakening in my own business which gives me a fresh look at a previously stale pathway. Sometimes it takes an old friend -- or five of them -- to kick your ass. Read Double Double to learn from one of my mentors.

And today as I take the early flight home I'm...

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Your Strengths Make You Unique

Most annual job performance reviews I've heard about ended up focused on a persons weaknesses. If your strengths are what makes you unique, your energy is better spent making your strengths stronger instead of shoring up shortcomings. Chances are good that you enjoy things you're good at, and you're not good at things you don't like. Seems simple enough.

Great teams are well rounded because they have players who are specialists, not utilitarian. If you don't know what your strengths are, you should find out. I like the Kolbe A Index because it helps to articulate your strengths in a way that is easy to understand.

As an example, Kolbe says I:

  • "am terrific at juggling rapidly changing priorities, which makes you flexible with a practical bent. That's because you temper your trial-and-error approach by calculating probabilities"
  • prevent getting boxed in by staying open to alternatives"
  • have the ability to adapt my plans to take advantage of opportunities

My MO is 6-3-8-3, which...

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Monthly Memberships: Friend or Foe?

You're trying to grow your business or organization and you think to yourself, If we could just appeal to more people, we could grow our revenue.

Indeed, there are two ways to grow revenue and I've pursued them both:

  1. More customers
  2. More dollars per customer

The problem is when your customers are falling off the back of the boat as you bring new ones in. I'm not just talking about the capacity of your organization, I'm speaking directly to maximizing the revenue of each and every new member or client.

In most cases where you're considering monthly payment options and monthly memberships for business organizations, you know you're not maximizing the revenue of each new member, but you've given up the fight. So in order to appeal to the marginally interested, you lower your price point.

Your logic is sound enough: I'm not interested at $300, but I'm interested at $30.

What if pricing is relative? (It is, by the way.)

This logic could also be sound: I'm not interested at $1,500, but...

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New Interview for Membership Development

Shortly after ReMembership came out, I was approached by an eager young business development rep at a convention.

"Mr. Sexton, my boss gave me your book to read and my interview at the chamber was a discussion about it."

Cool, I thought. Today, I'm wondering why we don't take interviews further.

Many employers create projects to sample the work of future prospects -- even fake projects. Take this concept into your membership organization.

The new interview:

  1. Go to 3 businesses and ask, "If I pursue a position with this organization, what should I know about your business that would help us to help more businesses like yours?"
  2. Now create a visual presentation to the team.

Testing is a rewarding exercise in marketing, and it costs so much less. In the same way you can test the efficacy of future team members, you could be testing your new web site design by building it first in Photoshop or PowerPoint. Test your idea for a new book or book title with Google Ads before you even write...

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Jump for the Top of the Box

I was a basketball coach at Umpqua Community College and on the way home from a tournament, I asked one of our players a question.

"Brian, you jump out of the gym. I mean, you're six-one and get as high or higher than me at six-five. How do you make dunking the basketball look so easy?"

After the bashful Brian Blakely resisted answering for a bit, he leaned in and nearly whispered, "Well, if you really want to know, most people jump for the rim. I don't jump for the rim. I jump for the top of the box (about a foot higher) and when you jump for the top of the box you're surprised by how easy it is to get to the rim."

Say no to the plan. Say yes to something better and enjoy making the former plan look easy.

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A Different Kind of Membership Campaign

Your membership drives herd marginally interested businesses and forces a quick yes or no. You keep about half in the second year and half that in the third. 

What if you looked at it differently?

If you have to do a drive, a Business Services Drive is a different approach. Businesses rounded up in this campaign wouldn't become members until their first renewal (year 2). This strategy moves your finish line out 12 months. 

What do they get in their first (trial) year? A subscription to benefits that look an awful lot like membership, but they aren't members yet. 

 During that year, you rain on them with great service, make them a little famous, use your drive team to strategically touch base with these members and connect them with solutions to the business challenges that keep them up at night. I bet you'd keep 80% of those in the second year and another 80% in the third. 
But before you get big, get good. Bringing in more of the same kinds...
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