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Three Steps to Vet Business Opportunities

August 25, 2015 / Leave a comment / by Tonya Recla

The biggest mistake we see budding entrepreneurs and seasoned business owners alike make is they fall victim to the latest and greatest get-­‐rich-­‐quick schemes.

The lure of a large ROI with minimal effort seems to entice even the most savvy of people. And why not? There’s a reason why the Strip at Las Vegas and the lottery still exist. Something deep inside us seeks the freedom and excitement of flash-­‐bang success. And sometimes you get lucky. Sometimes you stumble upon business opportunities at the right time in the right place and POOF you become the next success story.

But most of the time we hear the sad stories of money ventured and nothing gained. The weird thing is that the culture of success-­‐seekers appears to have accepted this yo-­‐yo risk ride. But there is an easier way.

What if you could establish a gauge to determine the likelihood of success BEFORE venturing in?

What if you could hone your BS detector and identify scams and frauds quickly before taking the bait?

What if (gulp) you could actually vet business opportunities?

Okay, okay, I’m being a bit tongue-­‐in-­‐cheek, but we really do get calls from otherwise intelligent individuals asking our opinion about “a great business opportunity.” The frustrating part is they rarely want us to vet the opportunity, they just want us to tell them it is, indeed, great.

It’s a very peculiar phenomenon that, of course, led us to develop a theory about it. And here it is…once people get emotionally invested in an idea it’s very difficult to talk them out of it, regardless of how bad the information is that we uncover.

We actually have clients who pay us to vet people and then argue with us when we try to tell them the results. Those clients already convinced themselves they want to go through with the deal. They only go through the motions of due diligence as a check-­‐the-­‐box necessity. This is NOT how we recommend vetting business opportunities.

The alternative, and more successful, method is employed by our clients who resist becoming attached to a plan or idea until they complete the vetting process. These clients are committed to making informed and confident decisions. They know the only way to do this is to make sure they have all the information necessary. And they don’t become attached to the opportunity before completing the vetting process. These clients willingly walk away from deals if the information suggests things aren’t what they seem. These clients experience success over and over.

So what is this magical vetting process?

We’ve coined it the Due Diligence Process and it’s rooted in basic common sense. In fact it’s very similar to most decision-­‐making processes. But as I mentioned earlier, when it comes to business opportunities and get-­‐rich-­‐quick ideas, we’ve seen highly intelligent people throw process to the wind and lose obscene amounts of money.

It’s unfortunate when if they’d employed a few simple techniques they could invest their time and money in legitimate deals.

1) The first step of the process is figuring out what information you know and what information you need to know. Knowing information is very different from assuming information. The way charlatans continue to deceive is they lead people to think they know information. The best scammers never actually have to lie. It’s amazing what people believe with simple suggestions.

2) Once you’ve ascertained what you know and what you need to know, the next step is figuring out how to get the rest of the information.

The biggest mistake people make in this step is asking the wrong questions. Consider the difference between asking, “Is this really a good opportunity?” versus “What makes this a good opportunity?” Or even better, “Do you have experience with these types of opportunities?” versus “What experience do you have with these types of opportunities?” A simple tweak of questioning techniques aided with the use of basic interrogatives helps you gather information for the third step.

3) Once you have the information necessary to make a decision, the final step is making sure that information is valid.

This step really illustrates the importance of asking specific questions. In the examples above, the responses from questions asked using basic interrogatives are easier to verify than those gained from simple yes/no questions. This step of the vetting process is incredibly crucial and most often skipped. Unfortunately, skilled con artists know this and they bank on being able to sell people opportunities using quick wits and silver tongues. And it works, over and over and over again.

There’s nothing particularly earth-­‐shattering about this process. It’s simple, easy-­‐to-­‐use, and effective. The biggest obstacle we see is people truly not wanting to know that the latest and greatest business opportunity might be just another pipe dream. The irony is once our clients implement this process as a cornerstone of their business practices, they cease to attract frauds and scams and start to attract legitimate deals that lead to success.

Do yourself a favor and get in the habit of vetting business opportunities (including vendors and team members) before you get involved…especially emotionally.

Business Coach 101: How to Choose the Best Fit for You

August 18, 2015 / Leave a comment / by Aaron Young

I've meet a lot of business coaches in my travels and I'm always amazed by the diversity.

There are specialized coaching for every little thing. Facebook Coach, Twitter Expert, LinkedIn Guru, Pinterest Maven. There are sales coaches, marketing coaches, financial experts, debt experts, and wealth experts... And that is just the tip of the tip of the iceberg. 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics there are 575,600 new jobs created each year in the consulting industry. And trying to identify your perfect accountability partner can be a bit frustrating. After all, “Everyone needs a coach” and “Choosing the right coach will make the difference between success and failure”. 

Personally, I resisted the title of 'coach' and 'consultant' for a long time. I had hired a number of them for my companies over the years and I just didn’t want to be one of these people who swoop in and make a bunch of pretty recommendation, tell you where you and your team are failing and then sell you several copies of collected writings to study until the next quarter when they come back and do it all again.

But then (later in life) I realized it was time to start sharing some of the things I had learned from 32 years of running companies. I wanted to share my stories and admit my mistakes and maybe help new business owners have an easier time as they tred the entrepreneurial highway. I gave myself the title Strategic Thinking Partner and quickly earned the privilege of working with some very cool people.

Here is my take on choosing a consultant:

Most coaches have good intentions. Many have specialized knowledge and can go deep into their subject. Some seem cooler and can give a great talk and have excellent handouts. And there are a few who really have never done anything at all in business and provide nothing to their victims…I mean clients. 

My recommendation for the perfect coach goes something like this;

  1. Look for someone you like. Somebody you want to open up to.
  2. Look for someone who has demonstrable knowledge and has a track record on the subjects you specifically want help with now.
  3. Look for someone that can take you from where you are today and build things up from there. 
  4. Be confident that the person you're engaging has your best interest at heart because they'll give you a little piece of themselves as they work with you to build your dream.
  5. Remember what Wallace Wattles taught. The consumer should receive more in use value than what they have paid in cash value. In other words, your consultant/guru/expert/coach should be slightly over delivering on what you've agreed to.
  6. Get everything in writing. You have the right know exactly what you are buying. If a coach won’t provide that specific information, walk away.
  7. Always perform due diligence. You want to make sure they are who they say they are, and they can do what they say they can do. (trusted professional services are best) 

Once you have found the perfect coach commit to listening to them, weighing their counsel and learn to grow out of your comfort zone. 

A coach should be able to do two things: 

  1. To make you better than you are now.
  2. To test you and to track your progress.

Just as in sports the coach is not the athlete. They cannot run laps for you or shoot free throws or lift the weights. They teach and you perform. No matter how great a coach you find, nothing releases you from the responsibility of running your own business.  

When you've taken the time and found the right person the payoff is huge. Your burdens will feel a little lighter, your course a little clearer, and your successes a whole lot bigger because you took the time to find the right coach.