Fri, 11 Mar 2016 19:02:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Buy From Your Competition Fri, 11 Mar 2016 19:02:05 +0000 Sean Castrina Every business owner would be wise to systematically (on average once per year) have a full buying experience from their top 3-5 competitors. I also say the full experience; that means if you can get on estimate then get one. If you can experience their company through purchasing their services or products then spend the money and do so. I would also try to return a product or something that would allow you to experience their customer service/returns department. There are times when I learn a lot and times when I just pick up some marketing ideas from their material they gave me but I always learn something.



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Create an NFL Combine when hiring Thu, 03 Mar 2016 12:02:48 +0000 Sean Castrina Most small business owners treat hiring like grocery shopping in that they have a need and they fill the need as quick as possible grabbing

the first thing off the shelve that catches their eye. Before hiring write down all the measureables you want in the “perfect hire”. Yes you can have the perfect hire

if you know what the perfect hire looks like. Write down all the skills, personality type and experience you hope to find in the next addition to your team. When you run your ad for this new position,

shoot for the stars, listing in bullet points all the skills, experiences and traits you are looking for with a polite warning, “Please don’t apply if you do not meet these requirements”. Finally be willing

to pay for the perfect hire. This is where the small business owners fails time and time again wanting a game changer but only willing to pay 7th round draft choice money.

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Better the devil you know then the devil you don’t know Mon, 22 Feb 2016 15:13:35 +0000 Sean Castrina I fired him that no good…….. To often I hear small business owners tell great tales of a firing they are so proud of;  what they fail to also share is how the owner now had 2 jobs to do until the post was filled. I have learned to just keep the no good ……  around for a week or two longer until I have interviewed and believe I have a better replacement. I also NEVER let someone go who is in the middle of a job which always turns into an Easter Egg hunt trying to fine out where everything is and all the things that need to be done. Plus it never looks good to the client who you are presently serving to have any turnover in the middle of their job, no matter what your explanation is. Well, he stole from us so I let him go. And that is the last thing you want tell you4 present customer happened. Simply put, don’t put unneeded strain on you and your employees because you have one person who needs to go. I am all for letting this person go but just like any good invasion it should be thought out with the least amount of casualties.


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Yes you can! Mon, 25 Jan 2016 19:20:46 +0000 Sean Castrina Have you ever considered just buying into the company you work for?  I admit not every working situation fits this scenario but many do. For one if you work for a company that does $10 million or less in revenue that is locally owned; you might be able to buy into this company.  You may be surprised how little, in regards to cash, it may take to buy a share of the company you work for.  Too many companies are carrying massive debt and would welcome a cash infusion not to mention a loyal employee who is willing to go the extra mile, and if putting up your own cash does not get you to go the extra mile then you are not the right fit anyway.  The point I am trying to make is from day one you should be saving money and positioning yourself to one day buy into the company you work for assuming it is a locally owned business that you believe in.

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Partner with your employer Wed, 20 Jan 2016 10:43:38 +0000 Sean Castrina Assuming you do not work for a Fortune 1000 company or a government agency many employment situations lend themselves to partnering opportunities.  I have personally always looked for employees that I could make partners knowing they could make exponentially more as a partner. Why?  Partners don’t just turn their brains on 8 hours a day for only 5 days.  Partners should be trying to think of ways to create profit everyday and all the time and this is surely worth more to me.  Partners don’t quit when they get offered a dollar more an hour.  Partners create a mastermind group  that together should improve every idea that is brought forth.  I could go on and on about the benefits of a good partnership but I have only done this to illustrate that there is a great payoff for owners who bring on partnerships.  This fact should make you feel more valuable and my hope will get you thinking what single area do you know better then the owner that could bring them more profit if you took it over with the passion of an owner? Look for win-win situations such as taking lower pay for a percentage of profit within your area of responsibility.  Start thinking like an owner and the owner will notice the difference and when the time is right ask what it would take to be a partner. You may find it is less then you think.

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Owning a piece of the company you work for Fri, 15 Jan 2016 13:52:19 +0000 Sean Castrina Let me first say you must earn the right to be heard. Yes, that is a fact; as nothing is more irritating then when a new hire who wants to tell me how to run one of my businesses. Even if this individual has a good idea they have not earned my ear yet. So this is for those people who have been at their company for at least a year and have earned the right to be heard. First find an area to specialize in within your job description. No matter what your job is there needs to be something you can find ways to improve the process.  When you are confident you have identified a way to do something better leverage it for something beneficial to you with a simple meeting where you bet your job on it.  If you’re not that confident then your idea is not that good so I am saving you from being embarrassed.  You simply say what would it be worth the company if I could show you how to improve A (example) by whatever percent or dollar figure you believe you can achieve. Obviously this needs to be fairly significant for them to buy in. A great idea may be worth an additional weeks vacation or a 4 day weekend but it may be worth a financial pay raise as well.

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How I hired Superman and Wonderwoman Fri, 01 Jan 2016 21:36:58 +0000 Sean Castrina If you could hire one person to help you the business owner take the largest load of work off your desk or off your to do list what would this person look like? What specific skills would they be able to perform? Does social media confuse and intimidate you let alone writing this blog you were told you need to write each week?

Do you need someone who can take some of the burden of closing all the sales from you? Has your patience for customer service reached its limits? The list can go on and on and just recently I have found the secret to hiring this perfect counterpart to me. First I identified what I needed most done by someone other then me and it came down to organizational matters, graphic design as well as some Internet and social media items.

The fact I learned long ago is there is no one person who can do everything I needed so I hired 3 part-time people who each specialized in what I needed most. Two of them get 15-20 hours a week and living in a college town with a fantastic graduate school it was not hard to fine some pretty smart folks who could only work part-time. I enlisted a graphic artist to assist in marketing matters by the job. At $35 an hour it is great money for this person and great for me because I only pay when I need something done.

In short I hired an office assistant who also helps with sales follow-up, social media specialist and graphic designer all for less one full-time person who would want a benefits and vacation package. And guess what I hired them all from craigslist where the secret I found is writing your add like you’re a real person who is seeking someone local. If you can brag a little on your company without giving the specific name this does hurt either.

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Guaranteed Growth for Your Company in 2016 Thu, 31 Dec 2015 22:12:37 +0000 Sean Castrina Too many businesses I have found continue selling products or offering services that are no longer profitable. This happens because the owner or management does not know that in fact these products or services are no longer profitable. How does this happen because they don’t Know Their Numbers. Do you know your profit margins on everything your company offers? Do you know what products and services in percentages to what you offer customers are interested in?  Every year you must rid your company of the losers and next find a new winner. Now that you have eliminated the product/ service that was not as profitable.  What one product or service do you have the capability of offering that your competition is not offering? What product can you find another use for or additional market to sell to? What talent do you have on your staff that you have not maximized?  These questions are designed to make you analyze what may not be workings and stir you brain to create new and better profit streams. Good Luck in 2016!

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The Best Gifts to Give Yourself for Christmas Tue, 08 Dec 2015 15:32:43 +0000 Sean Castrina Give Yourself Time with Family

You’ve managed to launch a new business–or your current business is on track–but how much time to you have to spend with your family? It’s one thing to spend your time launching your business. I hope you took my advice about talking this out with your family before your launched. But now the holidays are under way, and it is important to capitalize on your best resource. If you ask yourself, “Am I spending too much time at work?” You are asking the wrong question, because it is always a negative question. Americans always feel like they spend too much time at work. Instead ask, “Am I focusing my time at work well?”

A Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index study shows, “Today’s small business owner works an average of 52 hours per week, with fifty-seven percent working at least six days a week, and more than twenty percent working all seven.” I really have to wonder how people can sustain this when it can take a toll on relationships and your health. Are these business owners working for the sake of work? They should be hyper-focused on results-driven work hours, while delegating all other tasks to employees or contractors who have the high-level skill sets to accomplish tasks with minimal supervision.

Give Yourself the Power to Delegate

Here is a brief conversation between me and an entrepreneur I coach who felt like he was spending “too much time” at work:

Me: “You hired an accountant at some point, right?”
Him: “Of course, she knows tax law, and her staff can get anything done in a few days.”
Me: “So you see the value of teaming up with an accountant you trust, because she can do a better job than you, and you can focus on other things.”
Him: “Yes.”
Me: “So, why are you going into your store to stock inventory at 6am when you could be coming up with a new marketing plan?”
Him: “I don’t trust my first shift employee to stock right.”
Me: “Then why did you hire him in the first place, and why haven’t you given him tasks he can do right instead?”

I went on to point out two major mistakes to him. His first mistake was hiring someone who did not have the basic skills to do a lower-level task. His second was to take up the slack himself, instead of training the employee to improve or hiring someone new who had the skills already.

Hire yourself a team that you can delegate to. When so much rides on the line in a new business, you can fall into the trap of hoarding all the work. Give yourself a gift of delegating. See it as a form of investing in quality employees based on their skills. Delegate website content to a creative employee. Delegate filing to your most organized employee. Etc. etc. At some point between the business plan and the end of the first fiscal year, many business owners get it in their head that their skills and know-how are limitless. Of course, like the employee who would “try their hand” without previous experience, these owners think the following: “If I had all the hours in a week, I could do everything needed to run my business.” Some people actually try to do this. I just spoke to someone who thought working a 60-80 hour work week was the key to success. I had to sit him down and let him know that he wasn’t the right person to do every job. What he really needed was to invest in employees that could take on more responsibility with the proper incentive and become invested in the business themselves.

This will free up enough time for you to focus on what you do best, and hopefully that includes being a member of your own family. Take time to thank them for their support and spend time with them. Limit the hours you need to work and don’t go for the phone to call or text your employees outside of these hours. Of course this is the ideal, but strive for it!

Give Yourself the Gift of Accomplishment

Now do not get me wrong. As a business owner, you are on the clock 24-7. It’s exactly for that reason that you need to know your best skills, learn to delegate, and spend time with your family. Taking a moment this time of year to appreciate your family is a must. But you should also take the time to go over your journal and give yourself a pat on the back. What were you most proud of? When did you push through doubt and take a leap of faith? Boost yourself up for the final push through 2014. A New Year is ahead of you. You’ve earned it.

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How to get a huge raise Sat, 05 Dec 2015 12:16:41 +0000 Sean Castrina For those who follow this blog and noticed I took a sabbatical it was because I was finishing my next book to be released November 3 , 2015- “The Greatest Entrepreneur in the World”. I bet you could you use a raise in pay? Most people would say yes to that question but would tell you there is little chance of it happening. If I may confess that is what pushed me to be an entrepreneur. When I first got hired out of college and realized I would basically be getting a 3% pay raise, assuming I did a good job, for life starting at that point. That was an eye opener to the fact that I was officially on a fixed income. Sure my income was good but the reality that my standard of living was somewhat cemented jarred me into making the leap to starting and owning businesses. Over the next couple weeks I will share how to dramatically increase your income within the framework of staying employed.

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