Your 2020 whats, hows and whys

We met with our Congressman earlier this month to talk about his 2020 agenda.
He is a busy man whose district covers a lot of territory and those who live there. But he showed us a list of 14 goals for 2020.
That took thought. But he has in writing what he needs to do. You can, too.
You will need 3 things to make 2020 successful: Your whats, hows and whys.
Our friend Ruth King explains:

  1. What do you want to do? Write what you want and need to achieve. It is your 1st step to get what you want and need.
  2. How are you going to do it?
    What are the steps you must take to accomplish your “what.” For financial goals, a budget is the 1st step. Make sure you review actual results against projected results and take action based on the results.
    For non-financial goals, write a plan of how you think you will do it. What can you do alone? What do you need from others? If so, what’s in it for them to help you?
  3. Why do you want it?
    You need a really good why to have a good chance of reaching your whats.
    Review your plan each month. Schedule time to do it in your calendar. It will remind you to actually get it done.
    We share such ideas in “Maverick Entrepreneurs’ Million Dollar Strategies.”
    For a $20 personally autographed copy, call Katie at 803-359-7633.
    You can get an electronic copy through Amazon by clicking here .
    Copyright 2020, The Bellune Co., Inc.

Do you have a future on YouTube?

What can you learn from an 8-year-old entrepreneur? How to sell lemonade?
It’s far simpler than that. What has made Ryan Kaji highly successful is that he reviews toys on the channel “Ryan’s World.”
His earnings in 2019 rose from $22 million to $26 million, according to Forbes’ ranking. Ryan and his parents have created a $150 million retail toy advertising empire on YouTube and it just keeps growing.
Ryan’s videos amassed 23 million subscribers to his Ryan’s World channel and more than $20 million a year in advertising revenue. Now the 2nd-grader is building his knack for opening toy boxes on camera into a franchise with a TV show on children’s cable channel Nickelodeon and deals with Walmart and Target to sell his own line of toys, toothbrushes and underwear.
Ryan’s first retail products came out in 2018 in an exclusive Walmart partnership.
Ryan’s parents, Shion and Loann Kaji, and his licensing and entertainment studio,, aim to have more of Ryan’s products in more stores.
If a 2nd-grader and his parents can turn a simple idea into $150 million, what could you do on You Tube to promote your ideas, products and services?
Think about it. It may be your future.
We share such ideas in “Uncover Your Inner Sales Genius.” For a free digital copy, email .
Copyright 2020, The Bellune Co., Inc.

When it’s ‘off the record’

A colleague recently asked a procedural question:
Should he comply with a source’s request for “off the record.”
He wanted off the record after the interview was over.

It’s a tough judgment call. You must choose between:

  1. Burning a future source of critical but reliable information
  2. Preserving the relationship by complying with their request.

In covering Washington and other officials we’ve found:

  1. Most will tell you almost anything if you cover their butts.
  2. Many want everything off the record.
    Pentagon officials have leaked defense strategies to us.
    State Department officials have done it, too.
    The only agreement was that they weren’t to be identified.

We once taped a Congressman off the record.
He knew we were taping but felt comfortable “off the record.”
We later played back parts we wanted to publish.
Surprisingly, he agreed. It was a controversial story.

We’ve found that going into such interviews that we agree:

  1. They ask for “off the record” before they answer our question
  2. They wait for our consent before they say anything else.

Officials have told us nasty things about other officials.
In retrospect, they realize this could damage their own careers.
When asked not to publish, we did as they asked.
We had already decided against publishing as it was petty.
For that, one told us what went on in “executive sessions” for years.

Our agreement was that we would:

  1. Never ID him as the source.
  2. Publish details that would lead back to him.

About 25% of what he told us was interesting enough to publish.
But that 25% led to much other critical information.

We protected another source years later.
He told us of a disgruntled cop’s plot against us.
That was quickly quashed when we talked with the mayor.

You may rarely face choices such as these.
It helps to know you have choices.

Want to benefit from other reporting and writing tips?
A copy of “Compelling Writing” is an affordable $9.99.
For an electronic copy when it’s released, just call us at 803-359-7633.

Develop your own millionaire habits

Thomas C. Corley spent 5 years studying wealthy people. He found that they practice many of the same daily habits, such as reading, exercising, sleeping at least 7 hours a night and taking time to think.
They make choices about who they spend time with, the goals they pursue and who they turn to for advice.
“Habits dictate how successful you will be in life,” he wrote in his book “Change Your Habits, Change Your Life.”
All habits can be changed, Corley said. Here are a few habits of these millionaires that you can start developing today.
• Read and or listen to audiobooks.
Be educated, not just entertained.
88% of rich people devote 30 minutes or more a day to self-education. They read biographies of successful people, personal development and history.
• Exercise. 76% of the rich aerobically exercise 30 minutes or more a day. Aerobic exercise includes anything cardio-focused, such as running, jogging, walking or biking.
Cardio is good for your body and brain. It grows your neurons (brain cells) and increases your glucose (brain fuel).
The more you feed your brain cells, the smarter you become.
We share such ideas in “Maverick Entrepreneurs’ Million Dollar Strategies.”
For a $20 personally autographed copy, contact us at 803-359-7633.
Copyright 2020, The Bellune Co., Inc.

How to beat the Grinch in 2020

How do you get the Grinch to go away?
Think about where you want to go, what you want to do and write it down, advises our friend Ruth King. The simple act of writing it down will propel you to do the goals even if you don’t think about it.
A student in Ruth’s BOSS (Business Owner’s Survival School) class wrote down his 1, 3, and 5 year goals and put them away.
Years later he found the goals. To his amazement he accomplished most of them without consciously thinking about them.
3 things you want to write down:

  1. What net profit per hour do you want in 2020? In other words, for each revenue generating hour how much gross and net profit do you want? The average business is open 2,000 hours a year, closing on New Years Day, Christmas and other holidays.
  2. What sales revenue do you want to generate in those days in 2020?
  3. Are you happy? If you are, what will you do to stay happy? If not, what will you commit to so that you achieve happiness.
    If you are not happy, then as the owner, your business suffers. Happiness is a precursor to business success.
    We share such ideas in “Uncover Your Inner Sales Genius.” For a complimentary copy, email or call us at 803-359-7633.
    Copyright 2019, The Bellune Co., Inc.

Giving becomes enlightened self-interest

Last week, 15 local authors and 5 of us from our publishing company gathered at the library to autograph books.
These books make unique gifts because the authors personally autograph them to whoever you plan to give them to, many of them people who are hard to find gifts for.
The event is a fundraiser for our local adult literacy tutoring program. It is 1 of the local charities we support. It is enlightened self-interest. Illiterate people will never become book and newspaper readers.
This is not the only local charity we give to, not only money but volunteer time.
Years ago we supported a local Christmas charity called Adopt a Family. Aging widows, families in crises and others in need were nominated by churches, social service agencies and community leaders.
We personally visited each of them to determine their needs and published them, without their names, in our newspaper. Church, civic and business groups volunteered to adopt and meet their needs.
It was a lot of work. We did not think about it as enlightened self-interest but it proved to be. When we started another publishing company, the business leaders remembered and gave us their business.
We share such ideas in “Maverick Entrepreneurs’ Million Dollar Strategies.”
For a $20 personally autographed copy, contact us at 803-359-7633.
Copyright 2019, The Bellune Co., Inc.

Want to be the low price leader?

No, you don’t. Leave that to Walmart.
Our friend Ruth King tells the story about Chuck the auto mechanic and Charles the Master Jaguar Craftsman.
Chuck’s customers bring him their Honda Civics, want to know what repairing it will cost them, argue with him over prices and try to nickel and dime him to death.
Charles’ clients bring him their Jaguars, never question his prices and want to know only when it will be ready for them.
Do you want to be Chuck or Charles?
One of Ruth’s clients dressed like a slob. Yet he wanted his franchisees to dress well.
The first thing he had to do, she told him, was to set the example and dress for success. It shocked his people but he showed up looking like a new man.
While we’re at it, take a look in the mirror yourself. How are you dressed for success? Or do you look like Grumpy Gus who just got off the 3rd shift?
“If you want your company to be perceived as Charles, then everyone must act like Charles,” Ruth says. “You as the leader build that company culture.
For more brilliance like this, sign up for Ruth’s complimentary newsletter at
We share such ideas in “Maverick Entrepreneurs’ Million Dollar Strategies.”
For a $20 personally autographed copy, contact us at 803-359-7633.
Copyright 2019, The Bellune Co., Inc.

How to earn your prospects’ trust

Occasionally you may have to cold call.
It’s no fun, but there are ways to get in the door. Here are 2 suggested by so-called experts at a sales seminar our friend, sales coach Scott Channell, attended:
• Find on Linkedin the college they attended and send them a knick-knack or clothing item with their college logo on it.
• Find on social media a cause they believe in and mention it in your pitch.
That’s lame advice. A time waster, too.
Rather than waste time with gimmicks to appear “sincerely” interested in them, Scott advises us to just lay our cards on the table. We are calling “suspects” to find out if they may be “prospects” for our business.
Clearly state what we do, our credentials, the benefits we deliver and why we are worthy of their time and trust.
Respect your suspects enough to deliver a message they can clearly understand. Then let them tell you if they are prospects for your products or services.
You will communicate with more suspects by not wasting time searching for items to be sincere about. That starts your sales relationship off on a foundation of trust. As President Franklin Roosevelt said, “Be sincere, be brief, be seated.”
For more prospecting ideas from Scott, visit .
We share such ideas in “Uncover Your Inner Sales Genius.” For a complimentary
digital copy, send your email address to or call 803-359-7633.
Copyright 2019, The Bellune Co., Inc.

Pump up your prose

Are you old enough to remember Charles Atlas?
It was probably not the name his family gave him but an apt pseudonym for a man who marketed a muscle-building program he called “Dynamic Tension.”
Without weights or other traditional gym equipment, he turned his 90-pound weakling body into a model of muscular magnificence.
I tell you this story as a metaphor for what you might do with the words you choose, those you discard and the results you get.
With this small volume, you will be encouraged to be ruthless with your prose.
Here are several examples of how a few simple, muscular words can touch emotions and reveal visions far better than long passages, no matter how eloquent.
Martin Luther King, Jr., with a lifetime in the pulpit, used 4 words powerfully again and again during his speech at the Lincoln Memorial. As former Times of London editor Harold Evans wrote in Do I Make Myself Clear, Rev. King invoked the cadences of the Old and New Testaments, “I have a dream.”
Abraham Lincoln stirred listeners at the Gettysburg battlegrounds with words today’s Washington bureaucrats seem to have forgotten, “Government of the people, by the people, for the people.”
While waiting for the isolationist United States to join World War II, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill promised America and his own people, “We shall not fail or falter. We shall not weaken or tire.” Then he finished a broadcast heard on both sides of the Atlantic and on Nazi radios, too, with 10 taut words of appeal to America: ”Give us the tools and we will finish the job.”
This is not literary elegance. It is workmanlike. No tears/ No whining.
Not a single wasted word, Evans writes.
Can we pare down our words? You bet. Make your surviving words stronger by paring away weaker ones surrounding them.
Here is an example from a 31-word news story lead, written and edited by professionals at the Washington Post. They should have been mindful of the simple power of words from King, Lincoln and Churchill.
Newly released data from the Drug Enforcement Administration shows a trend in pill distribution that, according to plaintiffs suing the drug industry, can’t be passed off as reasonable therapeutic medical treatment.
Still puzzling that one out? Me, too.
Here is what I suspect they meant to convey to their readers:
Physician pill-pushing can’t be passed off as reasonable pain relief.
That’s what Drug Enforcement Administration data shows and lawsuits against the drug industry claim.
2 paragraphs, 25 simple words, 5 beginning with the letter “p.”
The longest one, “Administration,” has 5 syllables and 14 letters. It was unavoidable in this case as it is in the proper name of the data’s source.
Look at your words. How many can you cut to strengthen the survivors?

Have you planned your exit strategy?

This time of year many of us have much to be thankful for. And those of us who have been at it many years are starting to think about selling our businesses and what our exit strategy should be to retire.
Business coach Ruth King says we need profit and wealth to have something to sell.
Where is the wealth? 2 major places:

  1. Your productive employees. They produce revenue for your company so that all revenue is not dependent on you.
  2. Your recurring revenue clients. These are people who trust you. They provide recurring revenue and give you something to sell after years of hard work.
    What you could do:
  3. Realize that focusing only on the profit and loss statement can be disastrous in the long run. You must pay attention to both your balance sheet and your P&L.
  4. You must build recurring revenue to have something valuable to sell or pass along to the next generation.
  5. You must build wealth. This means your current ratio – current assets divided by current liabilities on your balance sheet– must be increasing.
  6. Open a savings account and deposit at least 1% of every dollar that comes in.
    We share such ideas in “Maverick Entrepreneurs’ Million Dollar Strategies.” For a $20 personally autographed copy, contact us at 803-359-7633.
    Copyright 2019, The Bellune Co., Inc.