January 14


Expand Your Business Beyond Business As Usual

by: Bill Ringle

Tuesday afternoon, I got off the phone with a client and started thinking about my workout that night at the gym.

On Tuesdays the instructor takes us through a particularly grueling circuit of squats, crunches, barbell lifts, mountain climbers, and deliberately difficult push-ups. Within 15 minutes, sweat is pouring off the backs and faces of a dozen athletes, and that’s with a five to six minute warm- up jog.

It’s one of the hardest things I do all week. Sometimes I cannot finish every exercise set.

Why do I put myself in that kind of situation regularly? Two reasons, really.

First, I know it’s good for me to push my limits. Second, I know I won’t push myself that far without some accountability and some company doing it.

Being a good tennis player is something I really enjoy, and I know that I can’t get to the level of performance I desire just by playing the game. I’ve got to strengthen my body off the court to build that extra capacity for when I need it on the court. Being adept at business is very similar.

You can’t get better at business just by doing your work every day.

You need to make time for reflection. You need to spend time building extra capacity, by focusing on business systems and staff development. You need to think bigger and further into the future.

If you’re like me or any of the many business owners and entrepreneurs I’ve worked with and known over the years, you can make two safe bets. You don’t push yourself as hard on your own and you don’t do it on your own the same way that you would with some outside assistance. When we work out together to make your business stronger, you’ll see the gains and feel the benefits — and the sounds you’ll hear are laughter and ah-has!

You know that feeling of instant connection you get when someone you just met mentions that he’s a fan of one of your favorite musicians or athletes? I automatically get that feeling when I encounter someone who thinks in big terms.

Here’s one of those cases: a marketing executive was spoofing Wal-Mart at the National Advertisers Conference through a commercial that showed Wal-Mart becoming so large that they merged with the U.S. Government. The closing line of the commercial was, “We’re not just the lowest prices in the country, we are the country.”

OK, that’s fine. Polite applause. Smiles. Saw it coming. The next speaker on the platform just happened to be Stephen Quinn, senior vp for marketing at Wal-Mart. In a very good-natured way, he thanked the previous speaker for her remarks and assures the audience that Wal-Mart has no intention of taking over the US. Then he fake-coughed and said, “China,” with a grin. Big applause! High fives for thinking big. It would make Jerry Seinfeld say, “I wish I had said that.”

When I coach or consult with entrepreneurs, I celebrate their gains and achievements. It’s a vital but fun part of my job.

“Hey, it’s great that you got a new client so quickly using the new marketing system we developed!” “Way to go on negotiating that project deal!” I know that we’re capable of so much more, when the timing is right, so I plant a seed of an idea that points to an even higher level.



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