How to win the war with your rivals

Remember what Sun Tzu taught us in his “Art of War” – know your strengths and weaknesses and your competitors’, too.
Our competitors are in print, online, on the air, on cable, you name it. We never under-estimate them. They are savvy rivals.
We watch their every move. We not only need to know what they’re doing but to steal their best ideas as our own.
We read their publications, listen to them on radio, watch them on cable or TV, see who is doing business with them and how their customers invest their precious advertising dollars with them. What are their advertisers offering that our readers, online and in print, might be interested in?
If they offer products or services our people need and want, we would be remiss to fail to give our rivals’ advertisers an opportunity to make offers to our readers, too.
Does that make sense? Your rivals are fishing the same pond for the same fish.
Test their products and services. Check how they treat customers. Even hire a Secret Shopper to check them out.
This is fair, legal … and smart. You won’t be blind-sided ever again. And you’ll never be ashamed that you failed to do this.
We share such ideas in “Maverick Entrepreneurs’ Million Dollar Strategies.”
For a $20 personally autographed copy, contact us at 803-359-7633 or email .

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Copyright 2019, The Bellune Co., Inc.

Do you have enough cash to avoid disaster? Do you want profits or wealth?

Do you want profits or wealth?
As a business owner, you need both.
You cannot have wealth without profits, says our friend Ruth King of .
Many business owners focus only on the Profit & Loss statement and totally ignore their Balance Sheet. They focus solely on profits rather than building wealth.
You can go out of business ignoring wealth to focus solely on profits.
Ruth tells of a contractor who, in a single week, lost 3 major clients to bankruptcy and more than $1 million in uncollected receivables. He needed cash to survive.
Had he focused on building cash (i.e. wealth) in addition to profits, he might have struggled but his business survived.
Here are 2 steps you can take.

  1. Check your Balance Sheet the last day of each month. Is your checking account growing this month over a month a year ago? By how much? Should you transfer any of that to an interest-bearing account?
  2. Ask yourself how you might grow your cash faster. What expenses might you trim or eliminate? What can you do to grow your gross sales and net profits?

We share such ideas in “Maverick Entrepreneurs’ Million Dollar Strategies.”
For a $20 personally autographed copy, contact us at 803-359-7633 or email . Purchase an electronic copy by visiting Amazon.

Copyright 2019, The Bellune Co., Inc.

How to get prospects to open your emails

How can you get prospects to open your emails?
Want to write subject lines that work?
Subject lines that prospects will open?
You are competing with the 121 other emails most of us receive each day.
The only way to attract traffic, conversions and sales is to stand out.
These subject lines are backed by 20 studies. Your goal should be to use the best-performing email subject lines.
Put these 10 subject line templates in your “swipe file”and post by your computer.
• 3 steps to a {desirable outcome}
• What a new {idea, product or service}can means for {prospects’ life or career}
• Stop {undesirable emotion} now
• What {credible influencers} say about {topic, idea or strategy}
• {Someone prospects look up to} can afford any {product} but she uses this…
• You’re missing out on {something prospects desire}
• Tonight Only: A {prospect’s role, goal or career}’s dream
• Want 587% more {sales or results}?
• If you’re sick and tired of {whatever}
• {Name}, gain {something desirable} today only
Use these in ads and sales letters, too.
We share such ideas in “Maverick Entrepreneurs’ Million Dollar Strategies.”
For a $20 personally autographed copy, contact us at 803-359-7633 or email You can purchase an electronic version on Amazon by clicking here.

Copyright 2019, The Bellune Co., Inc.

Secrets of storytelling

Have you heard someone drone on and on?
They love their story and tell it again and again.
All of us want to be good storytellers, orally and in print.
If you retell a story, give it a fresh slant.
Share new lessons the experience taught you.
Make the lessons ones that will benefit your audience.

Here are tips from experts, courtesy of Elizabeth Bernstein.
Elizabeth writes for the Wall Street Journal.

  1. Make a point.
    This why you tell stories.
    You don’t have to state it but keep it in mind.
    I tell the story of how we started our 1st newspaper.
    The facts are the same but the way I tell it differs.
    And I draw different points in each telling.

2. Open dramatically.
You need a “James Bond opening.”
One of my favorites is one Charlie Farrell tells.
Charlie was a Marine fighter pilot.
His story is about his 1st landing on a carrier at sea.
The carrier deck looked like a postage stamp from above.
It is a white knuckle run.
Charlie makes you feel what he felt.

Paul Zak, who studies the neurobiology of storytelling, says:
• You must have reasons for us to want to read or listen.
• An exciting opening produces dopamine in our brains.
That helps to focus our readers’ attention.

3. Put flesh on your characters.
What are the people in your story like?
How did they act, feel and look?
Make readers care about your characters
Their brains will produce oxytocin, the bonding hormone.

4. Build tension.
Deepen your story. Create cliffhangers and surprise.
These give a reason to care about your characters.
It will engage them with your story.
When they are emotionally engaged, they bond with you.

5. Make personal disclosures.
Research shows that self-disclosure helps people bond.
But don’t exaggerate. It kills credibility.
You can make yourself the butt of the story.
Readers love those of us willing to show our vulnerability.

Final tip: If you’re retelling a story, admit it.
Research shows repetition makes you look inauthentic.
But if you admit it, it seems to make it all right.
Write or say, “One of my favorite stories is…”

Is someone secretly stealing from you?

How do you know your bookkeeper, employees or vendors aren’t helping themselves to your hard-earned revenue?
After working with business owners for 38 years, our friend Ruth King can almost smell when the books are not right.
Often it is a bookkeeper, employee or vendors. Ruth hates telling owners, “Someone is embezzling and here’s the proof.”
All leave tell-tale signs. Sadly, most could have been caught quickly by owners doing one simple thing – having their bank statements sent to their homes.
If you aren’t getting your bank statements sent home, stop reading this and get your bank to send your statements home.
Check them carefully. The microfiche’s show signatures, who the checks were written to and the numerical sequences. If something doesn’t make sense, ask questions. This is your first line of defense!
Ruth has caught vendors changing the amounts on checks before depositing them. A $40 auto repair invoice became $400 when the vendor deposited the check.
You have to watch your vendors, too.
Get Ruth’s helpful newsletter by writing her at
We share such ideas in “Maverick Entrepreneurs’ Million Dollar Strategies.”
For a $20 personally autographed copy, contact us at 803-359-7633 or email
Copyright 2019, The Bellune Co., Inc.

Your best source of new business

All of us know we should ask for referrals but we too often forget to ask.
Our friend Ruth King advises her coaching clients to place a statement at the bottom of their bills, proposals and the backs of their business cards.
Print “We grow our company through referrals from satisfied customers. If we provided excellent customer service, please tell your friends and colleagues. If we did something wrong, please tell us and we will fix it. Our goal is 100% customer satisfaction.”
This statement lets a customer know that you are serious about providing outstanding customer service and that you appreciate referrals. Some will call you with referrals. Some will let you fix a problem rather than spreading the fact that they were unhappy to friends, neighbors, and social media.
The statement on proposals should be slightly different: “We grow our company through referrals from satisfied customers. If we provide excellent customer service when you become our customer, please tell your friends and colleagues. If we did something wrong, please tell us and we will fix it. Our goal is 100% customer satisfaction.”
We share such ideas in “Maverick Entrepreneurs’ Million Dollar Strategies.”
For a $20 personally autographed copy, contact us at 803-359-7633 or email
You can also order an electronic edition through Amazon by clicking here.

Save time and get more done

Many business owners boast that they have an open door policy. That’s great – if they have nothing else to do. But for many, it is a mistake. They should encourage their people to seize the initiative and solve problems they encounter themselves.
Multiple studies have found that interruptions cause tasks to take 30% longer or more. Many of those tasks are ones that only you as the boss can and should do.
One solution to keep them from coming to you with every 5-cent problem is to teach them to be self-reliant and take responsibility for their work. When they come to you, ask them what they consider the best solution. If you agree, congratulate them and ask them to take care of it. Let them know your confidence in them is growing.
An easy way to improve your productivity 30% is to close your door. You can even post a sign: “Please call back at 3 pm.”
Your employees will get the message and learn that they can talk with you later.
Most of us do NOT have to be on the premises all day every day. We can work part-time at home with few interruptions.
You will get more done and make more time for your family and personal projects.
We discuss this in a new book, “Maverick Entrepreneurs’ Million Dollar Strategies.”
For a $20 personally autographed copy, contact us at 803-359-7633 or email
Copyright 2019, The Bellune Co., Inc.

Take off your blinders, widen your footprint

Too many business owners are hampered by blinders.
They think of their businesses and their customers too narrowly.
If MacLeod and Jerry Bellune had thought of their publishing business that way, they might not be in business now.
They did not stray from communications, advertising and news. These were industries they understood even if the market was changing almost daily.
They chose instead to widen their footprint in the communications and publishing industries.
The lone exception was to start a real estate investment company to house their enterprises. They believed investing in real estate was a good bet for them.
Today they publish books, ebooks, self-study courses and print and online advertising, magazines and newspapers.
They offer advertising, marketing, sales and leadership courses. They use more than a dozen strategies to advertise, market and promote their businesses.
Wannabe entrepreneurs and business owners often ask for the Magic Bullet of success. The truth is, one Magic Bullet won’t do it. You need many Magic Bullets.
As an entrepreneur, embrace as many of these as you can. Make them work for you.
Bellune and 10 co-authors reveal their strategies in “Maverick Entrepreneurs’ Million Dollar Strategies.” For a $20 autographed copy call 803-359-7633.
Copyright 2019, The Bellune Co., Inc.

A sales secret anyone can practice

Our friend Chuck McCurry recalls a salesman who thought he was smarter than everyone else. His relationship credo was: “Prospects aren’t your friends and never will be. If you want a friend, get a dog.”
This brash young man did not last long.
Chuck spent most of his career practicing what he calls Golden Rule Selling. It’s a simple principle. “Treat others,” as Jesus said, “as you would want them to treat you.”
Chuck first heard about Golden Rule Selling from Zig Ziglar, the well-known author, and Mary Kay Ash of Mary Kay Cosmetics. They were good friends and had similar philosophies about selling.
Mary Kay reps depend on repeat customers. If their customers think they have been taken advantage of or didn’t get their money’s worth, they cease to be customers.
No one can please everyone, Chuck writes in “Maverick Entrepreneur’s Million Dollar Strategies.” Even Jesus was not accepted by everyone. Don’t beat yourself up when it happens, because it will.
But at least be honest in selling. You will be tempted to embellish the benefits of what you are selling. But when the truth comes out, you lose the customer’s trust.
Chuck has talked prospects out of buying if he didn’t believe they would benefit.
Chuck talks more about selling in “Maverick Entrepreneur’s Million Dollar Strategies.” To order a copy, call 803-359-7633.

Copyright 2018, The Bellune Co., Inc.

Who are you selling?

Little-known secrets of selling yourself

Do you have a competitive service or product? Do you, work for or run an amazing company that treats each customer the right way?
If so, you have 2/3rds of the perfect formula for racking up outstanding sales, strong profit margins and the income of your dreams.
The missing ingredient is you.
That’s right. The other 1/3rd is you.
All of us must learn to sell not just our products and services and their benefits but ourselves first and foremost.
Learning to sell yourself to the potential client is the secret. It may sound simple. You might think that people already love you. But if they’re not doing business with you, they must love someone else more.
Think how you can build trust with a potential client. Think about a few more ways you can build a relationship with a complete stranger. Strangers are only strangers until you get to know them.
If you focus your energy on selling yourself to the prospect, you’ll more easily sell your product or service to prospects.
“Once I learned this,” entrepreneur Mike Ward says, “I focused on selling myself.”
Mike reveals his secrets of selling in “Maverick Entrepreneurs’ Million Dollar Strategies.” This new book will help you sell and run your business profitably.
To place your order for a $20 autographed copy or a discounted bulk order for Christmas gifts, call 803-359-7633.