SMCC Launch or Grow Small Business Conference

Jim at FSBI 1210 01 300wWARNING: I’m on a rant…

I’m talking specifically about business people and entrepreneurs who don’t attend business conferences…especially when it’s in your own back yard!

For entrepreneurs in Maine- there IS one in your own back yard…next week!

Southern Maine Community College is hosting their 2nd annual Launch or Grow Small Business Conference next Friday, January 31st.

Last year, this was a sold-out event.?? Sadly, this year’s early registrations are lagging. I don’t like to share that news, but it’s indicative of an attitudinal shift I’ve noticed lately, and it would be irresponsible of me not to comment.

Click here for an interview with event coordinator and Director of the SMCC Entrepreneurial Center, Michelle Neujahr on this year’s event…

Whether this event or any other, again sadly, I talk to way too many business people who do not attend even one conference or development related event a year.

Here are some the most common excuses…

1) “It’s not in the budget.”

Well- it should be!

With the access you have to training both in person and online, there is NO reason not to engage in some developmental activity on a regular basis.

2) “It’s too expensive.”

Well- that’s relative to the value to receive.

However- that’s NO excuse when it comes to the SMCC event! They’re charging $95 for an ENTIRE DAY of sessions and training with nearly 20 area business leaders!

If you can’t afford that…you should seriously reassess your business.

3) “I can’t take the time.”

Well- your competitors are!

I love this last excuse- especially when I hear it from one of my competitors or industry peers. I hope they won’t take the time…I will!

I travel all over the country teaching business people how to THINK Like a BLACK BELT. I can tell you that there are lots of people investing time and money attending conferences that make them better business people.

They are your competitors!

Nearly every place I speak for associations, I meet people who have traveled to that conference from Maine. Now you’ve got the chance to attend a remarkable conference right here at home.

More than ANY other investment of money or time, your investment in training and development is the most important determining factor in your success. Ignore it and it becomes the single most devastating factor in your failure.

Your choice…

To register call Peggy Fleury at 207-741-5758…Click here for conference details!

SMCC Small Biz

Branding Courage!

THU, December 5th on BrandTalk Radio…

“How does a Black Belt think like a brand winner and how does a Black Belt avoid becoming a brand loser?”

It takes real courage to expose your ideas, your passions- and your business to public scrutiny. That’s exactly what you’re doing as you brand and market yourself and your business.

Tune in at 5:00 and let’s see if you have the Courage to be a brand winner- or the courage to recover from a branding loss!

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“How does a Black Belt think like a brand winner and how does a Black Belt avoid becoming a brand loser?”

By Jim Bouchard

Dr. Tantillo asked me this question:

“How does a Black Belt think like a brand winner and how does a Black Belt avoid becoming a brand loser?”

Courage!

There are 3 types of courage:

  • Heroic
  • Moral
  • Artistic

For branding and marketing we’re talking about artistic courage- though at times moral courage will become a factor too!

Before I get into it, I should say there really isn’t any way to avoid being a brand loser- or any other kind of loser. When you get in the ring, you may win or you may lose.

You can, however, assure losing. Just stay out of the fight! If you don’t promote your brand with courage and audacity, you’ve lost before the first round!

It takes courage- and that takes preparation and training.

While you can’t guarantee victory, you can climb in the ring knowing you’ve done everything you can to prepare and train for the fight.

In branding, this means research. It means testing. It means approaching each campaign, each attempt and each cycle of revisions with an open mind and a willingness to change and adapt.

Back to courage…

“Courage is not the absence of fear. The absence of fear is stupidity!”

Artistic courage involves exposing your ideas and often your core values and passions to the world. It takes courage to expose your ideas to the public who may either embrace or reject your work.

And face facts- if you care about your work, what you’re really exposing to public scrutiny is yourself!

It’s natural to harbor some fear- courage is doing what you need to do in spite of fear. By definition, if there’s no fear, there’s no courage.

It may sound cliche, but to be a brand winner in today’s noisy market environment, you’ve got to get out of your comfort zone. You’ve got to embrace a little fear and take a chance once in a while. You’ve got to be bold and risk some failures to find the statement that is going to differentiate you from the crowd.

Artistic courage seldom involves danger to life or limb. There are notable exceptions, but for most of us if an artistic or business venture fails, we’ll live to fight another day.

If you find yourself in the position of “brand failure,” pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again!

Or- as we say in martial arts: “Knocked down 7 times? Get up 8!”

Branding and marketing are full contact sports.

  • Have courage!
  • Be audacious!
  • Train your hardest!
  • And if you lose, be ready to fight again!

Can’t we all just get along? Find out on BrandTalk Radio!

THU, October 24th on BrandTalk Radio…

Cant’ we all just get along?

In this era of hyper-sensitivity versus political correctness and incivility run amok on social media…is there any way we can discuss politics and other contentious issues without being abusive and petulant?

What effect do these rants have on your business? On your brand?

Well, maybe there’s hope! Tune in at 5:00 and let’s talk about it…without calling names!

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Can you talk politics in the office…without killing each other?

By Jim Bouchard

In martial arts we have a tradition of bowing to our opponent before we engage in combat. This bow is a genuine display of respect before we try to drive the other guy into the mat.

That might not be a bad ritual to introduce when two people are about to talk about politics.

We also bow after the match…and then we shake hands, grateful for the opportunity to test our skills against such a worthy opponent.

I don’t think most people are going to bow before they start a political rant at the office or before posting a snarky partisan comment on Facebook.

In the spirit of trying to preserve some measure of respect and civility with those who do not share your political perspective, here is some advice for conducting respectful conversations about politics at work, home, or anywhere else for that matter.

By the way- to my friends with differing political opinions. Please don’t mistake my refusal to engage in petulant streams of debate…

“Never mistake my kindness for weakness, nor my silence for ignorance.”

So- how do you express respect for someone who, in your opinion, is absolutely wrong? How do you respectfully defend or express your feelings on an issue in the face of anger, intolerance and even ignorance?

As part of my THINK Like a BLACK BELT for Respect & Civility in the Workplace program I do a session that focuses specifically on how to debate even political issues with respect. An old saying goes, “When you assume you only make an “ass” out of “u” and “me.” In reality, you do need to embrace 5 basic “AssUmptions (TM)” if you have any hope of debating a hot button issue respectfully and avoid making an ass out of yourself in the office!

#1: Assume that not everyone shares your point of view. It doesn’t matter if you’re right or wrong- you can assume not everyone will agree.

#2: Assume the other guy is entitled to his opinion- because he is!

#3: Assume that the other person has a rational reason for his opinion- whether he does or not! Until you fully engage in the debate you won’t know the rationale of the other person. If you don’t make this Ass-Umption, you’ll never know.

#4: Silence does not always confirm agreement. Don’t assume that because someone is staying quiet that they agree with you. It’s safer to assume that their mind is not made up. The other guy may think you’re a complete ass and is just too polite to tell you so!

#5: Assume that everyone IS entitled to two things: Their thoughts and their feelings. Thoughts and feelings are personal property whether you agree with those thoughts and feelings or not.

It’s difficult if not impossible to control emotions. Emotions are simply a physiological response to physical and psychological stimuli. What we can do is learn to control our response to those emotions. Self-control is a valuable tool for effective communication and respectful debate.

In right versus wrong issues it’s fairly simple, if not always easy to simply step up and present the facts. In most cases, a clear statement of reason will win the argument. When both sides have a legitimate claim to the right side of an argument, it’s extremely important to understand the oppositional perspective whether you agree or not.

Our most contentious issues are right versus right. 

I’m all for open, passionate and even heated debate. We can express ourselves passionately without denigrating our opponent, using inflammatory language and insulting labels. To do so requires a high level of respect, self-control and strength. It requires strength, confidence and courage to acknowledge the right of another person to his or her opinion- even when they’re wrong and you’re right!

It seems like a long time since I made this short video on how to conduct respectful conversations in the office. I’ve become a bit more erasable since this was done, but you may still find this useful!

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And you can download this PDF poster for your office bulletin board: The 5 AssUmptions!

If you’d like to host our THINK Like a BLACK BELT for Respect & Civility in the Workplace program at your business, college or university call 800-786-8502 for booking information.

 

Busy Week for Jim!!!

Jim Live Embossed 330w JPGBy Alex Armstrong

We’re keeping Jim hopping next week!

First up is Tuesday’s Marketing Your Mastery workshop in Lewiston, Maine. Hosted by The Androscoggin Chamber, Jim will be sharing his secrets to help you build your brand and your business through “expert position marketing.” As he likes to say, he’ll show you how to apply the techniques he used to take THINK Like a BLACK BELT from a folding table to a national brand!

By the way- if you’re coming from “away” as we say here in Maine- October is the perfect time to visit and our foliage will be peaking next week! Come to Marketing Your Mastery- then take a nice ride and enjoy the most spectacular autumn display in the country!

Need a room? Give me a shout and I’ll connect you with some great options!

Early registration is still available through Saturday, September 28. CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS & REGISTRATION!

As soon as Marketing Your Mastery is over, we’re whisking Jim to the airport and off to the Oklahoma Association of Community Colleges. On Wednesday he’ll present both a keynote and a special breakout session for the OACC Support Staff Conference, then another keynote on Thursday for the OACC’s 46th Annual Global Education Track Conference.

Saturday, back east to Boston for a very special meeting, details we’ll brag about soon.

Then we’ll let him come home for a few days of rest and a keynote at the Sebago Summit Conference in Maine, then to the Boston Bankers event- and then off to Detroit to conduct two days of Mastery level training for Broadsword Solutions.

If you’d like to book Jim for your next conference or meeting for a keynote or half or full day training, give me a call…soon!

Call 800-786-8502 or email me: Alex@JimBouchard.org.

You can’t earn a Black Belt in an hour or even in a full day…

…but spend some time with Jim and I guarantee you’ll learn how to THINK like one!

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Marketing Your Mastery: Promote your brand and your business with expert positioning

THU, October 19th on BrandTalk Radio…

Blowing your own horn in a noisy world and making sure you’re heard above the din…BLACK BELT MINDSET for Business on BrandTalk! 5:30 PM ET!

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Jim Live Embossed 330w JPGFirst of all, if you’re going to talk the talk, you’d better walk the walk…and you better have a walk you can talk about.

Mastery is not about being the best. It’s about being better…always.

The true Master is always a work in progress. Why anyone would want to stop learning, growing and adapting to new opportunities is beyond me. If you don’t want to learn, grow and develop…

…get away from me. You’re lazy, complacent and apathetic- and you’re probably contagious.

Assuming you are motivated and engaged in the process of continual personal and professional development…how do you apply that to your business or career?

And how do you stand out from the crowd?

Well- that’s why I emphasize authentic Mastery before I talk about how to market it. Before you start blowing your horn, be damn sure you have something genuine to blow about.

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Be a consummate expert in your field- I don’t care if that’s running a Fortune 500 company or cutting lawns. Anyone with relatively the same education, training or experience can do what you’re doing.

The best in any position are the Masters. The distinguishing characteristic of the Master is Wisdom…

Wisdom is the combination of knowledge, experience and- awareness. Wisdom is never a static quantity; it’s an evolving and expanding state of being.

It means you care about what you do and you always want to learn more and do it better.

THAT’s how you’re going to stand out in the crowd.

The mechanics of marketing yourself have never been easier. The internet alone provides unrestricted access to a global audience…even if nobody has ever heard of you and even if you’re budget is whatever you can borrow to get by this week.

However- the internet is crowded territory too. There are no more wide open frontiers with just a few people standing out in a vast, open space.

If you want to stand out you must first distinguish yourself as an expert in your field…then use every means at your disposal to share your expertise with the market.

This takes Discipline, Focus and Perseverance…

Overnight success is rare. Scratch someone considered an overnight success and you’re likely to find a hide toughened by constant and persistent effort. The overnight part is usually just the moment the market seems to recognize that effort.

You must feel confident in what you’re going to shout about. Once you’re confident that you can stand among the best hearts and minds in your area of expertise, then you’re ready to start blowing your horn.

Jim Bouchard
Speaker and Author of THINK Like a BLACK BELT

Learn exactly how to differentiate yourself from the competition…and how to make sure people know about it!

Our next live event…Marketing Your Mastery Boot Camp Promo AC 131001 460YouTube Preview Image

Also available as an online program at Udemy…

Marketing Your Mastery Udemy Graphic 460CLICK HERE for DISCOUNT on enrollment!