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  • Entrepreneurial Telekenesis

    Have you ever seen someone who moved objects with their mind, or bent a spoon by merely concentrating on it?  Telekinesis, as defined by Webster, is the power to move an object by psychic force alone. Mind over matter.

    The idea of telekinesis has fascinated humans for millennia, including this human. Like me, you probably have a healthy level of skepticism about such claims. But what would you say if I said you are capable of telekinesis?

    If you have ever done any physical training, you know that your body constantly sends messages to your brain that it’s ready to shut down. When that first dissenting word from your leg muscles hit your brain did you obey, or did you send back a message that those muscles would just have to tough it out? Sometimes one side of your brain, the side focused on your goal, has to have a word with the other side, the one that is a close friend with comfort.

    At some time in our lives, most of us ran, jumped, cycled, lifted, swam, etc., at performance levels beyond which seemed possible to us in the early stages of training.We learned that building strength and endurance requires our body’s comfort to become subordinate to attaining a goal we had set. What is that if not mind over matter?

    As small business owners, we perform a kind of entrepreneurial telekinesis every day. We accomplish things that marketplace pedestrians would say are impossible. And if you think I’m using the term telekinesis too loosely, what else would you call it when a small business owner defies the marketplace, the competition, and conventional thought by not only surviving, but actually thriving? Your entrepreneurial mind has the potential to defy the odds, the gravity of the marketplace, and matter, as we know it.

    Will is an intangible force created by another intangible, desire. As you desire to move your business forward, whenever the matter is weak, you compensate with will. Mind over matter.

    But don’t try this on spoons.

    Thanks for being part of my community. I’ll see you on the radio and the Internet.

    RESULTS: With Mother’s Day coming up, how much did your mother influence your life?

    The Question:

    With Mother’s Day coming up, how much did your mother influence your life?

    24% - My mother was the most influential parent in my life.
    54% - My mother was very influential in my life.

    16% - My mother was only somewhat influential in my life.
    5% - My mother was not a factor in my life.

    Jim’s Comments:

    It was good to see that almost eight-of-ten of our sample were significantly influenced by their mothers.

    I used that word - influence - on purpose in this week’s question about our mothers. I’ve never doubted my mother’s abundant love, which obviously influenced my life. But some of the ways she influenced me was how she showed up, her work ethic, and specific times when love wasn’t exactly in my definition of how she was “influencing” me, if you know what I mean, and I think you do.

    Happy Mothers Day to those who gave us life, and loved us even when we weren’t loveable. And happy Mothers Day to those who aren’t our biological mothers, but chose to love and care about us anyway. In addition to my mother, Virginia, who just turned 91, this week I’m also thinking about three aunts who were nothing less than my guardian angels - Kathleen, Reba and Addie - who now are real angels.

    The Blasingame Translator for Small Businesses and Banks

    Once upon a time, a storm caused two ships to sink in the same area. All on board were lost at sea, save one from each ship, and those poor souls were alive only because they swam to a small island nearby.

    As luck would have it, the two men hauled themselves up on the beach at the same time and within sight of each other. But survivor’s elation soon became pensive as they realized that each spoke a language unknown to the other

    Immediately both men had the same unspoken thought, “I don’t know this man or the language he speaks, but if we’re going to survive, we have to find a way to communicate and work together.”

    In many ways, this tale actually plays out every day. But instead of on the high seas, our story takes place in the marketplace. And instead of mythical shipwreck survivors, our real life players are small business owners and bankers.

    Like the survivors in the first story, the excitement of the latter-day castaways about their future prospects turns pensive when they both realize that: 1) they need each other in order to be successful; and 2) they don’t speak each other’s language very well, if at all.

    With so much common interest and so little mutual understanding, can these two create a successful survival story? Absolutely, but only if they have the Blasingame Official Translator for Bankers & Small Business Owners. Here are a few examples of how the Blasingame Translator works.

    For small businesses to understand banker, they must:
    1. Identify their banker as a success partner and their business’ best friend.
    2. Stay close to their banker when things are going well, and even closer when things aren’t going so well. 3. Believe that an uninformed banker is a scared banker, and a scared banker cannot, and will not, behave like a partner.
    4. Pay attention to what motivates and impresses a banker, like attention to detail.
    5. Understand pertinent bank rules and regulations, so you don’t ask for something that can’t be done. 6. Reward banker loyalty with small business loyalty.

    For bankers to speak small business, they must:
    1. Understand Blasingame’s 1st Law of Small Business: Starting a small business is easy, operating a successful one is not.
    2. Understand Blasingame’s 2nd Law of Small Business: It’s redundant to say, “undercapitalized small business.”
    3. Understand Blasingame’s 3rd Law of Small Business: A small business is not a little big business.
    4. Explain bank rules and regulations, and recommend services and products.
    5. In the credit scoring process, always find a way to give small business owners credit for character, past performance and best efforts.
    6. Reward small business loyalty with banker loyalty.

    Write this on a rock … To avoid becoming marketplace castaways, small business owners and bankers must speak each other’s language.

    RESULTS: What is the greatest challenge to your business success?

    The Question:

    Which of these is the greatest challenge to your business’ success over the next 3-5 years?

    23% - National and/or local economy
    43% - National/state/local politics/policies, like taxes, regs, dysfunction
    21% - Organizational deficiencies, like capital, talent, size, technology
    5% - Big competitors and globalization
    8%-  Internet competition

    Jim’s Comments:

    As you can see, when it comes to future challenges, only one-fifth of small business owners think their own internal issues might be holding them back. All the rest believe their greatest challenges lie outside their four walls

    Two concerns representing two-thirds of our respondents, the economy and the government, are outside of the control of a small business, with the exception of their political involvement and their marketplace efforts. But the other three, including internal issues, are within the realm of a small business owner’s influence.

    • You can improve their own capital, systems and people;
    • You can realize the Big Boxes are more of a problem between your ears than on Main Street; and
    • You can accept the fact that the Internet isn’t going away and add that component to your traditional strategies.

    I’m going to have more to say about this in an upcoming Feature Article. So stay tuned.

    Mentoring employees can lead to small business success

    Since those whom we manage look to us for guidance, we should think of ourselves as teachers.  We teach others what we have learned so that knowledge can be leveraged through their performance.

    And don’t be afraid to show your passion for your ideas. Allowing employees to see passion and conviction in our words, actions and style is a good thing, and it’s also contagious.

    The market is a rude place, indifferent to our very existence let alone whether we succeed or fail. Perfection has never been attainable by mere mortals. Excellence is possible, but only those with high standards are capable of achieving it and only as a result of positive critical evaluation of our own efforts and those we manage.

    Humans work best when they know that there is a safe harbor where redemption is available to those who fail while trying their best and where they will be encouraged to continue to take initiative in the quest for excellence.

    Why small businesses should attack with their strengths

    During the American Revolutionary War, John Paul Jones was one of the most colorful and effective Americans to ever stick his finger in the eye of King George.

    Penetrating enemy waters off the northeast coast of England aboard the ramshackle Le Bonhomme Richard, Jones and his crew made the acquaintance of the British warship Serapis, which was escorting a convoy of merchant ships.

    In the ensuing battle, out-shipped and out-gunned, the Richard was so badly damaged that J.P.J.’s chivalrous opponent, Captain Richard Pearson, offered to accept surrender from the sinking and apparently defeated revolutionary.

    Think of it. Here’s an invader, 3,000 miles from a safe harbor, attacked and virtually blasted out of the water by a member of the navy that created the empire upon which it was said, “the sun never sets.” Surrender would seem prudent, right? Discretion being the better part of valor — that sort of thing.

    Now let’s fast forward into a new millennium. Another revolutionary, John Paul Entrepreneur, is under attack and being virtually blasted out of the marketplace by a member of a Big Box empire upon which it seems the sun doesn’t set.

    A lone operator, out-gunned by a force that can sell products cheaper than he can buy them, J.P.E.’s not-so-chivalrous opponent not only isn’t offering to accept surrender, but is actually indifferent to J.P.E.’s existence. Surrender would seem prudent, right? Discretion being the better part of valor and all.

    In case history wasn’t your strong suit in school, let me tell you what happened to our first revolutionary. John Paul Jones did lose his ship. Indeed, the Richard sank that day, just as it seemed it would. But not only didn’t Jones and his brave crew surrender, they did what any revolutionary worthy of his cause would do — they attacked. The American underdogs actually boarded and captured the Brit ship, and then sailed it away as heroes to fight another day.

    Meanwhile, our latter-day revolutionary, J.P.E., is still pondering his options. Should he abandon company and surrender to the Big Box competitor? Or should he fight for his dream — against all odds? What would you do?  What are you doing?

    Well, assuming you have a viable business model, your battle plan is actually quite simple: Let the Big Boxes do what they do well — sell commodities to the masses. And you do what you do well — fight for your niche by delivering customization, adding value based on customer expectations, offering technical expertise and saving customers time.

    Then you can assume the attitude and claim the battle cry of one of the great revolutionaries in history. Faced with seemingly insurmountable odds and an offer to surrender, John Paul Jones looked the enemy in the eye and said,

    “Surrender? Sir, I have not yet begun to fight!”

    Write this on a rock… You have strengths the Big Boxes don’t. Attack with your strengths and win the day.

    Jim Blasingame is the author of the award-winning boock, “The Age of the Customer: Prepare for the Moment of Relevance.”