Don’t Be Blind to Opportunity

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Some say they never know when an opportunity is going to arise.  That is true. But, you do have the ability to be in control of your opportunities – even the unexpected ones.  I say one of the best things a business leader can do is to be in a constant sense of awareness.  Be open to the things around you that you might now know about.  One of my favorite sayings is, “I don’t know what I don’t know” so by being in a sense of awareness I am willing to be a beginner and open to all kinds of possibilities.

Opportunities will not always come with the presence of a video camera and microphone.  Don’t miss an opportunity just because you are blinded by the array of opportunities.  The Internet today brings an array of different ways to increase your visibility.  But, don’t get ahead of yourself! I always say “crawl, walk, run”.  Start off in places that you feel comfortable and then get a move on to those that challenge you.

I choose to make myself available to opportunity.  If there is an interview opportunity, I take it.  If someone wants to have breakfast, I go. Who doesn’t like to eat? I also initiate opportunities when there is no opportunity.  If there aren’t any, I ask “why?”, and make sure there is never a shortage of opportunities again.

Sometimes successful business owners think they are really big stuff.  I have always found out there is someone bigger out there.  No matter who you are.  I am constantly reminded of that— while at SES, I had someone reach out to me about wanting to meet, he flew in from another country.  He mentioned they were a very small startup and I was thinking, “why waste my time?” but then I heard that voice that said, “you were small once and just starting out so meet”— I mean its only a breakfast.  Well, he turned out to be part of a bigger, much bigger , with 100s of millions in revenue — billions actually from various operations.  We hit it off and he called his CEO who flew in from Germany then next day, I met him on the way to the airport and we are going to do a lot o business together.

Opportunities come to you in all packages and at all times—-  be open to them … I mean its only a breakfast and you have to eat right?

Always be ready to seal the deal. You never know when the perfect opportunity will present itself. For me, all I need are my cowboy boots and I am ready.

Figure out what it is that drives you to be ready.






A Dream is Just a Dream

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A dream is just a dream. A goal is a dream with a plan and a deadline.

-Harvey Mackay

Passion is not a substitute for planning. It’s not. I’ve met hundreds of passionate people who, without a clear plan of action, watch their dreams fall by the wayside. I’ve also sat relatively still while someone presented me a 30 page PowerPoint presentation only to find that at the conclusion, I was still left wondering what it is they do.

Enter the 118 pitch! This concept is quickly becoming one of the most popular concepts of my bestselling book, The Mirror Test.  The 118 is the 21st century version of what some people still call the elevator pitch, an out-of-date name for the worthy idea that you need to sell what your company offers (and you) in the span of an elevator ride. Technology has not only made things (including elevators) move faster but also has increased the need for speed and immediate relevance in pitching. It comes from the 118 seconds you actually have to pitch: 8 seconds to hook me (the average attention span of an adult) and up to 110 seconds (the average elevator ride in New York)  to drive it home – less than two minutes with only seconds to spare.

This January, we put out a challenge. Create, upload and share your 118 pitch with the world and have a chance to win 46K in prizes! Entries with the highest number of votes were judged by a star-studded panel: Daymond John, Mari Smith, Gerhard Gschwandtner, Mark Malkoff and Paula Shugart. The contest was a great success as businesses, school programs and non-profits detailed their passion for what it is they do, in 118 seconds. They grabbed our attention. They conveyed who they were. They described what their business offered and they explained the promises they would deliver. Well, at least the winners did J Kudos to our Grand Prize winner, Chris Westfall

You can view the winners videos here:

Grand Prize – Chris Westfall     Virtual keynote & Consult – The Hayzlett Group          

2nd Prize – Michelle Lubow     Brand audit and consultation     

3rd Prize – Josh Pies      Itracks  Subscription               

4th Prize – Gretchen Pattullo     OmNovia  Subscription    

5th Prize –  Stamford Academy        Alan Campbell/Westley Associates logo

6th Prize – Nathan Heinart       Owlish Communications LinkedIn Profile

Overall there were some great entries, engagement, networking and a whole lot of fun!. We will definitely repeat this contest so keep refining your 118! Think about what it is that sets your business apart from all others and then use it to develop a strong, articulate 118 pitch, so that when opportunity knocks, you can open the door.



What Makes A Brand

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What makes a brand? Is it the name?  Identifying characteristics such as a logo? What people think and remember?

It could be all and maybe so much more.  Every year the Interbrand Report comes out and ranks the top brands. They use a lot of methodology to come up with the best global brands. But, as long as I can remember, Coca-Cola has always been the number one ranking brand. And, it was again this year.

Now, let’s take a look at the 97th ranking brand – Starbuck’s. Last year they were 90. Starbuck’s has been around 40 years. And, in the 40 years, Starbucks has made quite a name for themselves.

Starbucks announced recently they were going to change their logo to express what Starbucks represents to their partners and customers.  Along with business expansion must come a change to stay fit to what is true to the company, as well as what it will become in the future.

As part of a test, Itracks, a leading online research company conducted some research to determine what consumers were saying about the logo change.

The research was done in three phases:

1. We listen (Social Media Monitoring)

2. We ask (USA Talk Now)

3. We receive feedback (iMarkIt)

Overall, the response was very favorable for Starbucks.  Those who were not in favor of the new logo were normally not avid Starbucks enthusiasts.

For more information on the Itracks study, click here:

If you were to change your logo, would you go through this exercise? I think it’s invaluable.

Changing a brand logo has risks. Gap possibly could have diverted a lot of criticism if they would have asked consumers about their proposed new logo first. Lesson learned.

Take pride in your brand. It speaks volumes about who you are and what you represent.


Jeff at SES Chicago 2010

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Donald Trump and Jeffrey Hayzlett

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