30 Lessons On My 30th Birthday...

The big 3-0.

It’s supposed to be some milestone, right?

To be honest, I haven’t had a minute to think about it.

If you’re reading this on my actual birthday or the day after, I’m hopefully unplugged at a quaint resort in Coastal Maine with Megan.

Thanks to technology, I can schedule stuff to go out after writing it.

No Kaden, just us.

No phone, no e-mail, no Slack, just us.

I have no regrets, no complaints, but this last year has not been the best, and I think that’s just part of life, but you’ll certainly pick up on that in my lessons.

It’s tough for me to say that, because there were so many good things that happened this last year, like publishing my first book and all of our awesome trips we went on, but it was all a blur.

And if I’ve learned one thing….that is okay.

You don’t have be “on” all the time, and hopefully I can carry that into my 30’s because if not, this candle is going to burn out fast.

More on that in the lessons…

I really do believe we only have good days and great days, just like we only have good years and great years, and this year, it was a good year.

Here’s to hoping 30 is a great year!

I have done these “X Lessons on my X Birthday” posts for the last five years.

I really enjoy them, I don’t look back at previous years, I just start with a blank slate.

However, it’s my way of reflecting on the past year, as I sip on a hot cup of coffee in a quiet house, here’s what’s on my mind…

  1. Find your why. What is your purpose? Why are you here? Are you actually set out to do something, or are you just taking up space and getting in peoples way. This above all else has been my foundation which is why I start with it. I may have bad years, I may feel burnt out, but I can always come back to this. When the days are long and you’re feeling run down, if you have a strong enough “why” none of that matters. I keep this written down, I read it at least once a week, and it keeps the fire burning. If you’re looking to find your “why” (you already know it, you just need to discover it), I highly recommend follow Simon Sinek and his two books “Start with Why” and “Find Your Why”.

  2. Extreme Ownership. Isn’t it funny how these lessons are also titles of my favorite books? Extreme ownership is all about taking 100% responsibility for where you are today. You can spend time blaming others, but what does that really do? I take extreme ownership for where I am at as a person, a father, and a husband. I take extreme ownership for where my businesses are at and where my team is at. When you take that kind of ownership, you can move on quick, and implement change right away.

  3. You’re not invincible. You’re human. As a young kid (I know moms, I’m still young, I get it), you think nothing can stop you, you’re invincible. For the last eight years I’ve been moving 110 miles per hour. Not even physically, just mentally. Growing, growing, and growing the business. More clients, more team members, more everything. I think we’ve done a nice job keeping the quality high, but still. At home, it’s been what’s next, what project can we take on next, planning the next trip before this one is even over, never stopping. It will, and has caught up to me, and if you’re like me, it will catch up to you too. Thirty is going to be about slowing down a little. I’ve busted my ass for everything you see, but I’m not sure I’ve come up to smell the roses.

  4. Take care of between the ears. At the beginning of this year I started going to therapy. I always looked at therapy as something you go to if you have a mental illness. Well, I’m sure there are severities of it all, but I think we’re all a little crazy up there. It has been my weekly outlet for the last couple months, and it’s been a game changer. It’s the one hour in the week where I don’t feel “on.” At home I have to be “on” as a parent and a husband, when I’m around my team I’m “on” as a leader, and when I’m around my clients I am “on” as a community business owner. Just like the lights in your house, if they’re always on, they’ll eventually burn out. I’m working on that through therapy, I continue to work on that, and it’s been a game changer so far.

  5. Everyone wants to be fed, but no one wants to cook. With all of what I said before, I still very strongly believe you have to work for everything you want. You can have anything you want in life if you’re willing to work hard enough for it. The hard truth, most people just don’t want to put in the work that’s required. Once you get past that, once you realize it’s going to be 10x as hard and take you 10x as long as you think it is, then you can start to move towards it. If you want to eat, you have to cook.

  6. Taking risks is part of life. You take a risk every time you get in your car or buckle up in an airplane. But really, everything you do in life has a risk to it. Committing to a job has a risk, committing to a spouse has a risk, investing your money has a risk, and making a hard decision has a risk. I would say from my experience, the risks pay off more often than not. Will they always pay off, no, of course not, but more often than not they do.

  7. Death creates urgency. In October of 2018 I lost my dad. In June of 2010 I lost my mom. Most of you know that. How has their deaths impacted me? Urgency. Make no mistake about it, there is zero coincidence that a year after my mom passing I had an LLC formed to start what is now Spurling Fitness. We all say we would want to live forever, but where is the urgency in that? We would just put everything off until tomorrow, because tomorrow would be guaranteed. Tomorrow is never guaranteed, and for me, I use that as fire to do more, serve more, and be more. Today. Not tomorrow, not next week, but today.

  8. Success has no measurement. What is successful in your eyes? All of you reading this right now have your own version of success in your mind. And I would guarantee that each of us who answer that question has a different answer. Only you can determine what success is. For some success is being a great parent. For some success is a job or an amount of money. For some success is serving others. There is no right, there is no wrong, as long as its your definition of success.

  9. Stop living someone else’s dream. Reread number seven. We’re here for a good time and a short time. Why would you want to live someone else’s life? With todays social media heavy world we only see peoples highlight reels and we tell ourselves “if I could only be like them.” What you don’t see is all the shit going on behind the scenes and how they are just using social media as a distraction for how crappy they actually feel. But now, we tell ourselves “I wish I had what they had.” Too many kids went to a school or took a job that they didn’t want, but their parents told them it would be good for them. Too many people are not doing what they truly love, out of fear, they are living someone else’s dream. Life is too damn short to not be doing something you love.

  10. The art of being present is still by greatest area of opportunity. It’s something that therapy has helped with, it’s something that just being self-aware of it is helping with, but enjoying the present is still a large area of opportunity. I’m sure I’m not alone in this either, always dwelling on the past, always dreaming of the future, but not enjoying the present.

  11. It’s never as much work as you think it is. Do you ever have this big project that just sits over you like black cloud? It seems so daunting, and because of that you don’t spend any time on it. Earlier this year I published my first book. Was it a lot of work? My brain tells me yes, but my gut tells me no. No, it was not. I wrote a chapter (1-3 pages) every morning for a few months. I compiled them on a Google Doc, sent it off to the editor, a few back and fourths, and done. Am I simplifying it? Yes. But was it the hardest thing I ever did in my life? No. We quite often make it up to be more work in our minds than it actually is.

  12. Who is your team? We all need one. Whether you’re a business owner or not, we all need a team. Who are the people that are not competing against you, but working right alongside you. It could be a supportive spouse, it could be some close friends, we all need a team. The largest accomplishments have always been, and will always be, team efforts. Even things like individual sports, they all have teams of people behind the scenes, and without those people, nothing would be possible.

  13. What’s the first “check” you write every single month? Mortgage, utility, student loan? No. Write a check to yourself ever single month. It’s the first “bill” you pay. I’ve been able to create a strong financial security for my family because of this. We often save whatever is left after we pay our bills. Screw that. Even if it’s $5, pay yourself first. Put it in an account that can’t be touched. For more on this, I highly recommend that book “Profit First.”

  14. Good questions get good answers. Slow to speak, quick to listen is a great line I learned from my team member, Kim. I haven’t mastered the slow to speak part yet, but when I do speak I try to ask really good questions. The better the question the better the answer.

  15. The cookie. I got this one from Dean Jackson and I’ve used it a lot lately. If I’m over your house and you tell me “Hey Doug, grab whatever you want in the kitchen.” What are the chances of me doing so? Slim, right? No one wants to be that person. Instead, if you went up to me and said “Here Doug, here’s a cookie, please take one.” Who is going to say no to that? No one. So, next time, be direct. Don’t say “Do you need help?” or “Do you have any questions?” Just start helping, be direct.

  16. Problems. I was talking with a business coaching client yesterday and she was asking “When is this going to stop? I just want it to run smooth without problems.” Umm, sorry, that’s not going to happen. Life is about trading problems for better problems. Eight years ago I was not sure how I was going to pay rent on my lease for the gym, today I’m not always 100% sure how to lead a team of nine individuals. A problem, but a better problem than not being able to keep the lights on. If we approach life with the goal of eliminating all stress, all problems, we’re just going to keep frustrating ourselves. The goal, instead, might be how to trade problems for better problems. For more on this, I highly recommend checking out “The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck” by Mark Manson.

  17. A decade in a day. That’s what you’re doing when you read. Chances are the person that wrote that book is sharing a decade or more of knowledge on those few hundred pages. Is that not worth the $15 on Amazon? 250. With a quick count the other day, that’s how many books are in my office that I’ve read. I didn’t start enjoying reading until a couple years into running Spurling, so probably 2013. That means 250 books over the last ~6 years. That’s just under a book a week. Yes, I read a lot. Yes, you need to make sure what you read gets put into practice. But I do believe it’s one of the best ways to learn.

  18. You’re seeing their best work. My therapist and I talked about this just last week. A lot of times we’re modeling our 24/7 behaviors from someones else’s “best hour.” I am on stage right now as I write this. I’m trying to reflect, but also add value. This is one of “best hours.” What you don’t see is 8pm last night where I can’t move off the couch and I’m stressed out of my mind. You watch a TED talk, you read an article, or you see someone on stage, and you try to model that behavior 24/7. Little did you know, they are just like that for that one glimpse in time. It’s not being fake, it just is reality that we can’t be “on” all the time, and we should not try to model someones “best hour” behavior by trying to live our entire life like that.

  19. The power of writing it down. If you took a few notes when reading this about maybe some small tweaks you want to make, or an action you want to do, you’ll get something out of it. If you just read it, get a little spark of inspiration, and then move on, you’ll be no different tomorrow than you were today. The power of writing things down is incredible. It’s not a guarantee that it will happen, but I do know that it’s a thousand times more likely to happen if you do write it down. I write down everything. My goals, my thoughts, what I like, what I don’t like, everything. The craziest part? I have things I wrote down in 2015 like “five years from now I want to travel to these places, obtain this much financial security, or complete these projects.” And guess what, it’s not 2020 and those are already accomplished. Are there other things that I wrote down that have not happened, or a year later I decided I didn’t want to do anymore? Of course. But more got accomplished, and will continue to get accomplished by writing it down.

  20. Stress is real and we have to manage it. Similar to number 16, just like we can’t eliminate problems, I don’t think we can eliminate stress. In fact, some stress is good. It forces you to be aware, it forces you to make better choices. However, just like anything else, too much of something is never good. We know stress has a real impact on our mind and body. I can always tell when I’m under stress; I don’t sleep as well, I gain weight, I have more anger towards people. We all have our own outlets for stress, mine is reading, writing, meditation, and exercise. Find how you manage your stress.

  21. It never stops. Fitness never stops. Personal development never stops. Time never stops. Being a better father, husband, and leader never stops. In the immediate future, that can be stressful. But if we take time to stop ourselves, the excitement that we can always get better, we can always do more, we can always serve more, that is what keeps me going.

  22. The memories we make our what makes life so great. I have a lot of great memories in my 30 years. I have memories as a kid going on vacation. You know what I don’t remember? Any toy my parents bought me. I have memories from the early years of starting the gym, my dad sleeping on a recliner in the middle of the gym floor during renovations. You know what I don’t remember? What I bought during the first month for equipment. I have memories of holding my moms hand as she took her last breath, memories of holding Kaden as he took his first breath in this world, and memories of all the things we DO, not HAVE, as a community, a team, and a family. Make memories, not a collection of stuff.

  23. Communication. Communicate to your spouse more about how you’re feeling. Communicate to your boss more about what you like and don’t like. Communicate to your friends and family. Communication is how we connect, and we can never communicate enough. Most problems in business, at work, or in our relationships come back to a lack of communication. Talk out loud more. Communicate more.

  24. It can wait. The e-mail can wait. Responding to the text can wait. It can wait. The world will not end if you don’t refresh your Facebook or instagram feed one more time. I write this, and really all of these, as lessons for all of us, myself included. Whatever it is, it can wait.

  25. Success is never straight. This last year I watched Kaden learn how to walk. I watched him learn how to climb the ladder on our swing set. We could all benefit from learning from babies. They don’t try walking, fail, and say “screw it, I’ll just stop trying.” They get up, try again, and again, and again. Anything in life that is worth having is not going to happen on the first try. Fall and get back up. Life is about better iterations of things, over and over again. The best version is never version 1.0.

  26. Your environment matters. Just like a goldfish, you may need to change your water. Way too often we “swim” in toxic environments, whether that’s in a toxic work environment, a toxic relationship, etc. Change your water.

  27. I wish. That’s the last thing I want to say when I’m on my death bed. I wish I went for it. I wish I tried harder. I wish I served more. I wish, I wish, I wish. Stop wishing and start doing. No regrets. I want to say I did everything, I gave it my best, and I left the world a better place.

  28. If often doesn’t matter. We tend to stress, worry, and argue over things that don’t actually matter. I’m not saying it’s not worth fighting over something you believe in, and you can make change, but quite often the things we spend our time stressing over, arguing over, and worrying about are either so small it doesn’t matter, or it doesn’t actually have any direct impact on you.

  29. Freedom & Happiness. I believe that’s what we’re all after. The ability to be happy in the moment. Happy with who we have, with what we have, with who we are. Freedom. Freedom to do what you want when you want. Freedom to make the choices you want to make. Freedom to live life on your time, your agenda, with your goals.

  30. 1% Better. What are you going today. Yesterday is in the past, we can’t change it. Tomorrow is not here yet. What are you going to do today? How are you going to get better today? Give your best effort today. Small wins stacked daily. That’s how I try to live my life, it’s treated me very nicely for the first 30 years, and I don’t plan on changing the approach. Wake up, do the best I can do, and go to bed knowing that I did the best I could with what I had. 1% Better.

Thank you.

That’s really all I have to say.

Thank you.

I try to show up and be the best that I can be everyday.

The best father.

The best husband.

The best leader.

The best member of the community.

Thank you for being a part of it.

1% Better,

Doug Spurling

This Might Be...

This might be the most common trait needed to long-term success.

In business, and in life in general, we know we default to looking for the quick fix.

We also know that it can be very easy to get caught up in the weeds…

Should I advertise on Facebook?

How many times per week should I e-mail?

Which job posting site is best?

I think it’s deeper than that…

I think the most common behavior for long-term success is…

The ability to stick with it, stick with it when things get tough, and stick with it in the long-term.

Seriously, the amount of people that stop something because one thing goes awry is mind boggling.

This is true not just in business, but in life in general.

We often quit something too soon.

The moment we’re ready to quit is usually the moment right before something great is going to happen.

The ability to stick with it, when things are tough, when you don’t feel like it, might be the biggest key to success.

Do you try one marketing campaign and then give up?

Do you hire a team member and then just expect them to be a star, not putting any effort into leading them and training them?

There is always something to get better at, there is always something to celebrate, there is always a win to be had.

In my mind, that’s the most exciting part of business.

The ability to stick with it, when you’re busy, when you don’t feel like it, when you have 10,000 other things going on in life, that might be the biggest key to long-term success.

We’re focused on business here, but apply to this to any area of your life.

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling

We Can't Stop It...

We can only determine its use. 

Time. 

We can't stop it, we can only determine its use. 

Our most valuable asset. 

We chase things like more money, bigger businesses, and other materialistic things. 

Yet, those are all renewable, we always have the option of more. 

However, we don't put enough scarcity to time. 

The clock is ticking, it never stops, and we only have a finite amount of time left. 

Doesn't the scare you?

It should. 

Imagine if it didn't.

We always here people say...

"I wish I had more time."

"I need more hours in the day."

Well, we know that's never going to happen. 

And two, I'm quite confident that if we had more time we would fill with it with the same things we do now. 

Parkinson's Law. 

In short, work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.

If you have 40 hours to do something, it will take you 40 hours. 

If you have 50 hours to do that same thing, it will take you 50 hours. 

But I digress.

Last night my wife, Megan, and I sat on the couch looking at pictures of my son, Kaden.

As she cried (men don't cry, right?), we looked at pictures of the day he was born, pictures of each month's milestone, and memories of his first 20 months on this earth.

The last two years have flown by, just like I'm sure every year will, as I always hear from those who have kids.

We can't stop time, but we can determine its use. 

Since Kaden was born, my priorities have shifted.

He is the reason I have to say no to the guy that e-mails me and "just wants to pick my brain for 5 minutes."

He's the reason the reason I write this e-mail at 530am every morning and the reason I work so hard when no one is watching, aiming to create my ideal business. 

Time with Kaden. 

Time. 

We can't stop it, but we can determine its use. 

More time with your loved ones, more time to make an impact, and more time to leave a legacy. 

Remember, your business is just a vehicle that helps you get there. 

If you're spending all your time in the business, and not allowing any time to be with those you love, do things you enjoy, and live life, what's the point. 

Time. 

We can't stop it, but we can determine its use. 

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling

Which Path?

Which path do you take?

As humans, we're naturally wired to take that path of least resistance.

In fact, everything is designed to take the path of least resistance.

Whether it's water, electricity, or our brains, it will always default to what is easiest, what is the shortest, quickest, or least challenging way.

Did you know wolves evolved to domesticated dogs because it was easier to scavenge on human trash than track down prey?

The path of least resistance.

So what's the solution?

Awareness is always number one.

Whether it's in business, fitness, or life, we're always going to default to the easiest way of doing it (or not doing it all because that's actually the easiest).

So you have to consciously be aware of that, and continually remind yourself that the path of least resistance is not always the best way.

The people that have success, in any area of life are the ones that don't take the easiest path...

Getting up at 430am is not easy...

Showing up every single day, writing every single day (like this), for over 1000 straight days is not easy...

Thinking that a 14-16 hour work day is normal is not easy...

But I know those three things, amongst others, are my personal competitive advantages.

I simply know, because it's not easy, most people won't do it.

Because it's a harder path to take, they'll be fewer people on the path, and I'll be farther ahead than most on that path.

Now that's a personal example, but you can relate that to any one thing...

Creating a 12 month Marketing Calendar is not easy…

Being a good leader and managing a team is not easy…

Reaching out to grow your networking and expand your product reach is not easy…

And it's why most people won't do it, so if you're looking for results, those are the things you need to do.

Go against the grain, go against what is normal or status quo, and do what others just are not willing to do.

With all that being said...

You can also use this to your advantage.

Since we know our brains are naturally going to go with the path of least resistance, we can do things that play to that.

For example...

Putting the alarm clock across the room so you have to get out of bed to shut it off...

Preparing the night before with your “Big 3” things that are going to move your business forward…

Setting up reminders on your phone about important tasks that need to get done…

You get it.

Just remember, our brains are wired to take the path of least resistance, so you need to use that to your advantage in some circumstances and go against it in others.

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling

Plant Your Failures...

“Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.” -Napoleon Hill

One of my favorite people, and my favorite quotes...Napolean kills it in that quote. 

I talk a lot about mindset because I think everything starts there. 

There is only so much you can control in life and business, but do you know the one thing you can always control?

How you react to something. 

That usually comes back to your mindset about it. 

Failure is a common word in society, especially in the small business space.

"I failed to make enough money."

"I failed to get good employees."

"I failed to reach my goal."

For years, we've been taught that failure is a bad thing. 

Everything we're taught in school, everything we're taught growing up is that failure is a weakness. 

You are in the wrong if you fail. 

But isn't that when we learn the most?

If you plant your failures, they become the seeds to your success. 

One of the largest areas we can all improve upon is to not look at failure as a negative thing, but instead to look at it as a learning lesson, a chance to make a change and do it better next time. 

When we fail, we are proving that we are living life and taking chances. 

You can't be afraid to fail. 

Failure is not a negative thing. 

Albert Einstein once said, "Failure is success in progress."

Imagine how many of his ideas failed?

Without those, without learning from those failures, none of his brilliant ideas would have come to life. 

Whether you failed to hit your revenue goal this month...

Or you failed to get your product on the shelf...

None of that matters. 

Use those as learning lessons, use those as opportunities to make a change, to get better. 

Don't be afraid to fail, because failure is quite often the seeds to our success.

Failure means you're trying. 

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling 

Move The Cheese

A couple years ago we went through a big change.

We basically took our core service model and twisted it 180 degrees. 

I didn't like how the culture was, I didn't like how my coaches were spending their days, and I didn't love the experience they were receiving. 

So I changed it...

That's the short answer. 

The long answer is it was the biggest business decision I've made to date. 

5 years of doing something one way. 

You have a comfortable owner.

You have comfortable staff. 

You have clients who like it, are use to the routine of things, and overall doing great. 

The business was still booming. 

It was not a "numerical" or financial decision. 

We were happy with where we were at. 

It was a culture, community, and coaching decision. 

I just knew things could be better. 

A couple weeks into preparing for the change, one of my clients gave me a book called...

"Who Moved My Cheese."

It's about four mice who's cheese is moved, and their journey and struggles to find new cheese. 

Cheese is an analogy for things we want in life. 

A better business. 

A better relationship. 

A better financial picture. 

The sum of the book breaks down into seven lessons that I think are invaluable in business and in life. 

From big changes to small changes, our cheese is moved every day. 

1. Change Happens: They keep moving the cheese.

Change happens every day.

If you're still doing the same thing you were 10 years ago, you will never grow and evolve. 

The cheese is always moving. 

The way we communicate today is different. 

The way we buy stuff today is different.

And it will different a year from now. 

When I was preparing for these changes at our gym, this was a good reminder that change happens. 

The industry is constantly evolving and finding better ways of doing things. 

This was our way of staying ahead of it. 

2. Anticipate Change: Get ready for the cheese to move

The cheese will move. 

Change will happen. 

New laws will be passed. 

A new competition will come in. 

A staff member will leave. 

Whatever it is in your business or life, you need to anticipate change. 

3. Monitor Change: Smell the cheese often so you know when it's getting old. 

Our cheese was getting old. 

We'd been doing things the same way for 5 years, and it was good, but the cheese was just getting old. 

It was time for some new change. 

I would have never known that if I didn't have my finger on the pulse. 

Monitor your business. 

Know every number, every reason why, and constantly strive for ways to make it better. 

Monitor your life. 

Are you happy?

Do you have who you want and what you want?

Are you living alongside your values?

Smell your cheese. 

4. Adapt to Change Quickly: The quicker you let go of old cheese, the sooner you can enjoy the new cheese. 

So you know you need to change, but your stubborn and you're dragging your feet. 

In today's fast-paced world, while you were dragging your feet, 1000 other people just got shit done. 

Things move too fast today for you to be a slow thinker. 

Once you've monitored the change, and you know it's time, pull the trigger. 

We could have spent months or even years more perfecting our new model, but we followed the approach from another great book...

Ready, Fire, Aim. 

We did some prep work, trained the staff, and got some practice rounds in.

But then it was show time. 

Now we can tweak things as we go, looking to get them a little bit better. 

Perfectionism is the enemy of good. 

Your website will never be perfect. 

Your product will never be perfect. 

Your staff will never be perfect. 

The time will never be perfect.

YOU will never be perfect. 

But that's not an excuse to stand behind the curtain and spend months and years tinkering with it. 

Pull the curtain back for all to see and now you're on stage. 

Now it's go time. 

And at the next "performance" you'll learn from the last one and make it a little bit better. 

But you need to adapt to change quickly. 

5. Change: Move with the cheese. 

Pull the trigger. 

Throw the grenade. 

All 4 previous lessons are wasteful if you never actually change. 

It's go time. 

6. Enjoy the change: savor the new taste of the cheese

After we launched these new changes, I was scared to death. 

I would come home every day complaining to my wife...

"What if the clients all hate it and leave?"

"What if the staff hate it and quit?"

"What if this happens?"

"What if that happens?"

And guess what...

None of that happened. 

The clients are happier.

The staff is happier. 

Overall, it couldn't have gone better. 

Sure, we're monitoring it, making daily small tweaks, but we're also enjoying the new change. 

Enjoying the excitement. 

Enjoying the higher energy. 

Enjoying the better culture. 

Change can be enjoyable. 

7. Be Ready To Change Again and Again: They keep moving the cheese

This will not be the last big change we make. 

I don't know what the next one is, but I'll be anticipating it, and we'll be ready to change again. 

Growth mindset. 

You have to have the mindset of constantly changing, constantly evolving, and never getting complacent. 

The cheese is always moving...

1% Better. 

Restart?

Can you believe it's already April?

It's spring-like weather lately here in Maine, and people are finally dusting off those winter blues. 

Life is good. 

As we head into a new month I want to ask you a very important set of questions...

We're sitting here in 30 days, on 4/30, what does your business look like?

What does success look like?

List it all out. 

Get very specific. 

Not, I want to grow.

How about, I want to add $5,000 in revenue or I want to add 10 customers.

Not, I want to add more business.

It doesn't matter that it's not a New Year.

Use the first day of the month to "reset.”

Get very clear on what you want to achieve this month. 

Think through the four pillars of business:

  1. Marketing & Sales

  2. Operations

  3. Finance

  4. Team Development

How do you want to grow in each of those four functions?

I talked through a couple business examples above, but you can also do this for the rest of your life as well.

Now, once you have everything written down and you have a bulleted list of what you want to achieve the most important question to answer is...

What do you need to change to make that happen?

You see, having goals and dreams is great. 

We all want to be further ahead in our goals by the end of this month. 

Writing down what we want it to look like is important, but we can't stop there. 

What are you going to change in your daily life to make those goals for April actually happen?

Because remember, if you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got. 

If you want to achieve a goal that you currently are not achieving something needs to change.  

It could be your marketing…

It could be your team building and culture…

It could be coaching or accountability...

But something needs to change. 

Don't go into a new month with the same approach and expect a different result. 

So, what's your goal for April?

I'd love to hear it. 

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling

Nail The Basics

Yesterday the team and I met for a half-day meeting to review the first quarter of the year and plan out the next quarter.

We have done it every quarter for the life of our business, and it’s awesome.

I highly recommend it for your business.

This meeting was a little different…

Quite often we talk about what are the new things we can do, what more can we do, what can we add, what can we change, etc.

This meeting we drove home one message…

Nail the basics.

For us, at the gym, that means three things:

  1. Great coaching at every single session

  2. Hold every client accountable to their goals and attendance

  3. Continue to make sure everyone feels a part of the community as to not lose the “family-like” feel.

That’s it.

Nail the basics.

Because, you see, what happens, if you start to throw in too many moving pieces, too many new changes, too many shiny objects, it distracts you from the basics, and they start to fall.

So, sure, we have some cool things we’d like to do this next quarter, but we’re really just hyper focused on the basics.

I tell you all of this because it’s a good lesson for your life in general, especially business.

Sometimes we take on too much, we try to do everything at once, and as a result, we see the main thing suffer.

You see that in relationships.

You see that in families.

And you certainly see that in your business.

So, what are the basics of your business?

Think in groups of three.

It could be three things like:

  • Hitting weekly sales targets

  • Delivering your product/service at a high standard

  • Training your team

  • # of clients/customers

  • etc, etc, etc…

It can be fun to add a shiny object in the moment and talk about all the fancy things like cool new strategies, fancy things to follow, or whatever the latest and greatest trend is today on social media, but the truth is, the basics work.

I don’t know a single business owner who shows up every single day and focuses on the basics of business growth and doesn’t grow.

Nail the basics.

That’s our theme right now, maybe it can be yours too.

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling

SPF..

I’m back from a week down in Charleston, South Carolina.

A super cool city with lots of history, if you haven’t made a visit, I highly recommend you do.

One thing I didn’t account for was the sun.

It was March, it was on the cooler side (high 60’s/low 70’s), and I didn’t put any sunscreen on.

Let’s just say my forehead looks like a snake from all the peeling of a sunburn.

I should have put on some sunscreen! :)

Most of you are familiar with SPF, Sun Protection Factor, as you get ready to hit the sun, you want to protect your skin. 

But what if you want to protect your business?

There's another kind of SPF. 

Simple. 

Profitable. 

Fun. 

Those are the three keys to running a successful business.

That's it. 

SPF. 

Simple. 

Keep things as simple as you can and not any simpler. 

The more simple something is the easier it is to manage, the smoother it runs, and be happier you are. 

How can you simplify your business?

Can you reduce workflows?

Can you create typed out systems or processes to follow?

You can take it to any extreme, but spend sometime answering these two questions. 

1. What would it look like if it were easy?

2. What would it look like it I could start from fresh, start over and do it all again?

Make it simple. 

Profitable. 

Business is quite simple when we think about it. 

Spend less than you make. 

Make sure your margins are strong, know your numbers, and adjust so that you are always profitable. 

Fun. 

Is that not the point of all this?

Make it fun. 

Love what you do, enjoy it. 

Don't build a business you can't escape from. 

If you're not having fun, what do you need to change to make that happen?

Do that. 

Simple. 

Profitable. 

Fun. 

SPF. 

The only way to run a business...that you enjoy :)

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling

Tactic vs Strategy

Watching a good chess player at work is all about strategy. 

The best team on the field or court very rarely wins because of one specific play, but because of the overall strategy, they came prepared with. 

Our lives, and especially business, are filled with tactics, but not enough strategy. 

"Use this one marketing tactic to get over 100 customers."

"Do this one specific thing and your revenue will double."

Tactics without strategy never works. 

But what's the strategy?

Throw all the tactics together and hope one of them sticks?

You get my point. 

There is not one specific social media platform that is the best…

There is not one specific marketing campaign that is the best...

There are just strategies that work.

For example...

My strategy is to get my message in front of my target every single day, add value to their life, and have 2-3 very clear ways I can help them.

My strategy is to rely on two main things; coaching and accountability.

As a business owner, you need someone to coach you through things and get that outside eye on thing, and you need accountability, we all do.

Those two things combined with my one percent better approach to life, not just business, we only have good days and great days, and as long as I gave it my all today I know I'm better than yesterday but not as good as tomorrow. 

I can then fill that overall strategy in with specific tactics. 

I use e-mail and social media to get a message in front of my audience.

You can use direct mail, billboards, it doesn’t matter.

Those are all tactics, that strategy is I’m going to get my message in front of my target audience everyday.

I'm not saying tactics are not important. 

However, we don't want to stack a bunch of random tactics on top of a non-existent strategy. 

In this post I used specific examples of your marketing strategy, but the principle applies to your overall business strategy as well.

Have a strong strategy as your foundation, use that as your guardrails to keep you focused and on track, and don't get caught up in the fancy quick-fix tactics, you and I both know they never last. 

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling

Faucets & Drains

We all have those people in our lives…

You know who I’m talking about.

They just drain the energy right out of you.

They constantly complain, take a lot of your energy to keep going, and are a real drag.

On the flip side, we have faucets.

Faucets are people with an endless amount of potential, forward motion, and possibility.

They are the source provider of the energy.

It is possible to turn a drain into a faucet.

It’s mostly choice.

It’s mindset.

How you look at things…

Are you an energy drag, or are you filled with forward motion and positivity?

Life and business is filled with enough drains, be a faucet.

I heard this analogy from the great writer, Seth Godin.

I love it.

Most of this stuff comes down to choice.

In her book Mindset, Carol Dweck introduces the concept of a growth mindset and a fixed mindset.

If someone has a growth mindset they believe they can achieve anything, when they get frustrated they persevere through, when they fail they learn, and they love a good challenge.

In comparison, someone with a fixed mindset believes they are either good at something or not, they give up when they’re frustrated, they think they’re no good when they fail, and they don’t like to be challenged.

To continue with the above example, your drains are fixed mindset people, and your faucets are growth mindset people.

In business it’s important to have a growth mindset, and to be a faucet.

It’s going to be challenging….

We have to have the vision to see what currently does not exist….

We need to be the source of energy for our team and our customers…

Remove as any “drains” from your life and business (employees, customers, etc), and focus on being a faucet.

Keep going.

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling

Two Traits In Business...

Some of you know I had a humbling moment on Sunday…

I came in to the gym, had a quick 45 minutes to get my sweat on, didn’t warm-up, and pulled my back pretty bad because of it.

For the first half of the week I was walking around with the “shopping cart” walk, bent over, shuffling, you get the picture.

Luckily today, I’m feeling great thanks to some initiative on my part, some PT friends, and a couple muscle relaxers :)

However, I think it’s times like this I’m always reminded of two great traits we can posses as humans, especially as business owners.

Hunger and Humility.

And no, I’m not talking about hungry in terms of eating :)

We have to have an extreme amount of humility that we always have more to learn, that there is always things we can be doing better, that we don’t know everything, and be able to see things from the other side.

Humbleness comes in many forms…

Getting an acute injury like I had can be very humbling and reminded me of the importance of warming up and caring for my body more, it’s not indestructible.

Humbleness is admitting you need help in your business…

Whether that’s help in like hiring a coach or attending a workshop or event.

Humbleness is knowing that others may have some insight, that how you currently do things may not be the best approach.

It’s realizing that you don’t know everything, and your view point is only one view point, and it may not necessarily be the right one.

On the flip side, I feel very strongly we need to be hungry.

I attribute most of what I’ve been able to accomplish in my young 29 years to just wanting it more than others, doing the work that others aren’t willing to do, moving faster, and just being hungrier.

When the back pull came, it would have been easy to just say “I have to rest” and throw in the towel.

As I balanced the humility, I pulled out the hungriness and did everything I could to get better as quickly as I could, moving, stretching, getting treatment, non-stop, until it was better.

As always, we can take this core lesson into any aspect of life.

If you really want to make a change with your business you have to balance the humility of realizing you may need some help, with the hungriness of taking 100% responsibility for your actions, be willing to make the changes and putting in the work that others are not, and be hungry.

If you’re looking to grow your business, scale your business, and make a positive impact, it’s not easy, and I do believe that outworking your competition is part of the equation.

You have to really want it, you have to work for it non-step, you have to be hungry.

If you want something in life, whether that’s a change in your physical self, your business, your social/family/relationship life, your financial situation, you have to take ownership of it, be humble that you may need help, but be hungry enough to make a change that others just are not willing to make.

The worst thing we can do in any situation is just sit back, go through the motions, and react to what comes.

Be hungry.

Be humble.

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling

Plant Your Failures

“Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.” -Napoleon Hill

One of my favorite people, and my favorite quotes...Napolean crushes it with that quote. 

I talk a lot about mindset because I think everything starts there. 

There is only so much you can control in life, but do you know the one thing you can always control?

How you react to something. 

We can’t always control what happens to us, but we certainly can control how we react to it.

That usually comes back to your mindset about it. 

Failure is a common word in society, especially in the business space… 

"I failed to get this done today."

"I failed to get more customers."

"I failed to reach my revenue goal."

For years, we've been taught that failure is a bad thing. 

Everything we're taught in school, everything we're taught growing up is that failure is a weakness. 

You are in the wrong if you fail. 

But isn't that when we learn the most?

If you plant your failures, they become the seeds to your success. 

One of the largest areas we can all improve upon is to not look at failure as a negative thing, but instead to look at it as a learning lesson, a chance to make a change and do it better next time. 

When we fail, we are proving that we are living life and taking chances. 

You can't be afraid to fail. 

Failure is not a negative thing. 

Albert Einstein once said, "Failure is success in progress."

Imagine how many of his ideas failed?

Without those, without learning from those failures, none of his brilliant ideas would have come to life. 

Whether you failed to hit your goal last month..

Or you failed on your latest product launch...

None of that matters. 

Use those as learning lessons, use those as opportunities to make a change, to get better. 

Don't be afraid to fail, because failure is quite often the seeds to our success.

Failure means you're trying. 

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling 


4 Ways To Execute In Business Better

I did a presentation on visioning and goal setting at a local corporation early this week and one of the key exercises I shared with them was breaking down your personal or business goals using the 4DX (4 Disciplines to Execution) model.

As we look to conquer our goals in 2019 there's often one area that we often fall short in. 

Execution. 

The intent is usually not the problem. 

We always set goals that we intend to hit, but what happens?

We don't make progress, get frustrated, have no accountability, and next thing we know we're watching the ball drop for 2020 and nothing has changed. 

So how do you execute on goals?

It takes 4 disciplines  

The first discipline is the WIG

Wildy. Important. Goal

What's the ONE THING that you are after?

What's the target that you're moving towards?

Revenue? More Customers? Amount of personal income?

Pick one thing, and that's what everything else revolves around. 

Pick your WIG.

The second discipline is to track lead measures. 

Lead measures are things that predict if the WIG is going to happen. 

For example...

A lead measure could be the number of cold calls you make…

A lead measure could be adding a certain amount of products to your line…

A lead measure could be getting 200 hours of sleep per month :)

It's things that you track and measure that predict whether or not the WIG will be accomplished. 

You know if you do those lead measures, there's a high chance the WIG will be achieved. 

Pick 3 lead measures. 

The third discipline is to have a cadence of accountability.

So you know your WIG and you know your 3 lead measures. 

Now you have to stay accountable to them. 

How are you going to do that?

Are you going to check in with a coach?

Are you going to go to meet with your team weekly to hold each other accountable to the WIG?

We all need accountability. 

What's your cadence for holding yourself accountable to that WIG and those 3 lead measures? 

Finally, the fourth discipline of execution is keeping a scorecard. 

At every sporting event, there will be a winner and a loser. 

Because they keep score, we know that. 

Quite often we never think it's good enough because we don't set a scorecard of what winning looks like.

$100,000 soon becomes $200,000.

If you don't keep a scorecard and celebrate all the wins, you'll never be happy with where you're at. 

So, for this WIG, what would be a win?

Is it that you hit a certain monthly revenue goal?

Are you going to keep a “daily number” that tells you the amount left each day to hit the goal

Whatever it is, have a scorecard so you can celebrate the wins. 

I love the simplicity of this system. 

1. WIG

2. Lead Measures

3. Cadence of Accountability

4. Scorecard

Execute these 4 disciplines and the needle will move. 

If you want more on this, check out the book 4 Disciplines of Execution.

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling

Your Garden...

Every single action begins with a thought. 

The unconscious mind controls the heart rate, blood pressure, etc. 

The conscious mind is the "above the water" thoughts, such as logistical and emotional. 

But make no mistake about it, any action begins with a thought. 

Whether it's the choice to press the letters on my computer right now, or the actions of making a day a great one, they all begin with thoughts. 

And that's the best part...

We can control our thoughts, we can shape our thoughts. 

Our minds are a like a garden.

If we fill it with positive thoughts and dreams, we will live a positive and fulfilled life, full of bright and beautiful flowers. 

If we fill it with negative thoughts, our mind will be overgrown by weeds and we will live a negative life. 

Every day we have the ability to choose our thoughts, and those thoughts shape our actions. 

In every opportunity, you have the option to look at it through a positive lens, and that choice determines the subsequent actions. 

Business is surrounded by negative thoughts...

"I can't do that."

"This is going to suck."

"Look at them, they are so much better than me."

Remember, those negative thoughts lead to negative actions, and in business, a negative action is usually not taking action and just sitting on the sidelines. 

As an entrepreneur and business owner your mind, your thoughts, are your most valuable asset. 

Doesn't it make sense to fill it with positive thoughts?

What's the difference between the guy who is 36 years old and looks like he has a constant frown on his face and the girl who is 96 years old and is full of brightness?

Positive thoughts. 

If you're reading this you have the choice to make every thought a positive one. 

You can do this. 

It could always be worse. 

We only have good days and great days. 

Above every cloud is blue sky. 

Get off the complain train. 

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling

Got A Problem?

If you've been in business for more than a week, you know the road is not smooth. 

It's bumpy as heck. 

You’ve seen those graphics online of the “day in the life of an entrepreneur”

It goes something like this…

9:00am: “Today is going to be a great day!”

11:00am: “How the heck am I going to do this?”

1:00pm: “Did I really sign up for this?”

3:00pm: “Wow, that’s awesome!”

5:00pm: “Normal people are punching out and I’m still going”

That's why I preach slow and steady consistency, not beating yourself up, because, in the long-term, it's more about just showing up consistently. 

1% Better.

How can I do one thing today that’s going to move my business forward?

Ok, we get that. 

But, your business is growing, you’re making progress, and you still have "problems."

And that's the problem!

We think that once we get going, once we hit a certain goal, once we accomplish something all our problems go away. 

In his book "The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*CK", Mark Manson talks about how life is all about trading problems for better problems, but it's also an understanding that we'll always have problems. 

Let's think about it...

When you first start a business you're scared, you're intimidated, and you're not sure what the heck you’re doing…

That's a problem that you're looking to solve. 

So, let's assume things go great, you get into a routine, find a few customers, and things are starting to grow…

And guess what?

A new problem emerges...

You now have to balance work and life…

“Who and what do I say no to at home or at work in order to keep this thing going?”

Still a problem, but a better problem. 

Let's keep rolling...

You're crushing it, you've found balance in your schedule and you're starting to grow…

Another problem emerges.

How do I manage this team?

How do I find better help?

How do I learn social media marketing?

etc, etc, etc…

Again, a better problem, but still a problem. 

The problems I solve today running a business with eight employees, hundreds of clients, a consulting business, a kid, a wife, and all the other factors that play into it are completely different (and better) than the problems I had to solve seven years ago when it was a one-man operation and I just started dating Megan. 

But they’re still problems...

This is a great reminder, and something Mark preaches in his book, that we will never eliminate problems in our life…or business. If you set yourself up with that expectation you're going to fail. 

The goal is that you continue to grow and develop, in all aspects of life, so that you trade bad problems for better problems. 

But they'll always be problems....

And that's ok. 

That's what makes it fun. 

We are internally motivated to solve problems. 

As much as we dream of everything being perfect and going smoothly 110% of the time, we crave the ability to fix stuff that's broken, we crave problems. 

We just hope we're trading good problems for great problems. 

I'll end with my favorite quote from the book...

"There is a simple realization from which all personal improvement and growth emerges. This is the realization that we, individually, are responsible for everything in our lives, no matter the external circumstances. We don’t always control what happens to us. But we always control how we interpret what happens to us, as well as how we respond...

Life is essentially an endless series of problems. The solution to one problem is merely the creation of another....

Don’t hope for a life without problems. There’s no such thing. Instead, hope for a life full of good problems."

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling

Two Lenses To Look Through In Your Business...

I remember in college looking through a microscope…

I hated it.

My big head seemed like it could never get close enough, and I couldn’t get the eye squint just right to see anything.

But I microscope is an important tool.

A lens to look at things in detail.

However, we also can’t forget about the telescope.

I never have a memory as a kid of having a telescope and setting it up to lookout my bedroom window at all the stars, I’m sure I’ll do it with my son Kaden one day.

But a telescope serves a different purpose…

It’s looking out, it’s looking forward.

Two lenses, microscope and telescope.

We need both.

There are times in business that we need to look at things in depth, in detail.

Look in the business…

Maybe that is things like our marketing calendar, events, or campaigns, we have upcoming and making sure they are planned out…

Maybe it’s looking at our finances, cash flow, and the P&L to get an in depth look at our money…

Maybe it’s looking at our staffing or operations, and evaluating how they currently exist and start to brainstorm ways to improve them and make them more efficient.

It’s the detail, it’s the picking apart stuff.

In my humble opinion, that is only 50% of the equation, it’s only balanced out with the telescope lens.

We need to spend some time thinking about why we’re doing what we’re doing…

We need to get really clear on what we want success to look like in 12 months…

We need to look at how what we’re doing now is impacting the future…

We need to spend some time strategizing and planning about what we’re going to change and how we’re going to improve…

The daily grind of working in your business can be daunting and cause you some stress…

But you always know it’s worth it because those are just baby steps and details that bring you closer to the never ending pursuit of happiness, hitting your goals, fulfillment, and a better life (telescope).

We need both lenses.

They balance each other out.

Always look at which lens you’re looking through and decide which one you maybe need to spend some more time on in your business.

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling


Gamifying Your Business...

As humans, we love seeing how we measure up against each other.

Today, let’s talk about doing the same with your business, to compete with yourself, through the use of a scoreboard.

That's why sports are so popular, without a scoreboard you'd never know who's winning, and there really wouldn't be much motivation to watch.

At every sporting event, there's no denying who won and who lost.

The scoreboard tells you.

So why don't we treat our business the same way?

Let me back up a second...

Most of us are pretty good at setting annual goals.

I want to have X number of dollars, X number of clients, or whatever by the end of the year.

That's all good, but here's the problem.

You set them in January, and then think there's plenty of time to complete them.

A couple months go by, it's April, and you still think there's plenty of time.

You have a slow summer, start to panic, and now you're just frustrated because you're so far away from your goals.

Before I share with you what we use for a scoreboard let me tell you why it's so important.

Business is all about execution.

"You get paid for done."

The problem with annual goal setting is there is really no sense of urgency, you don't have to execute TODAY because you still see plenty of time left.

Because there's no urgency you spend your days and weeks in a bit of a cruise control mentality and that causes you to waste time on things that don't actually move you closer to your goals.

So how do you fix it?

The scoreboard.

It takes your annual and monthly goals and puts it into a daily and weekly snapshot.

There's no denying whether you won or lost the day.

You'll have some days that you don't win, but that's okay because it's a daily and weekly scoreboard, your urgency and drive are reignited the very next day.

So what does your scoreboard look like?

I'm going to share mine, but please know, it's the behavior that I want to instill in you, not the actual items on the scoreboard.

Your business is different than mine, and thus, you may have a different scoreboard.

So, what you want to do is break down your annual goals into monthly goals.

For example, if you want to add 60 clients in the next 12 months, that's 5 clients this month.

If you want to make $120,000 this year, that's $10,000 this month.

Once you have your goals broken down into monthly chunks, you put a score to each one.

Here's our Weekly Scoreboard for our gym:

  • 12 Leads (new inquiries)

  • 6 Success Sessions (New Client Appointments) Showed

  • 5 New Clients

  • Less Than 3 Cancel/Freezes

  • Daily Sales Number

Everything we do drives those five numbers.

Our admin fills this in every day and shares it with the team.

And if you want to take it a step further...

My admin and I know the daily breakdown of this...

She needs to get 2-3 leads per day

We need to have at least 1 Success Session every day. 

We need to have at least one sale every day

This stuff isn't rocket science.

But very few of us do it.

Gamify your business by building out a weekly scoreboard and I guarantee it will help you grow and scale your business.

If you need help building out your scoreboard just reply and let me know…

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling

4 Pillars of Business

Your business is supported by 4 pillars. Just like a strong foundation, without these 4 pillars in place, the business will eventually crumble.

1. Strong Marketing & Sales

You can have the greatest product around, or provide the best service, but if it's not visible, and no one knows about you, you'll never last. We need to have a 12-month marketing plan in place, strong sales skills, and a relentless follow-up and close process.

2. Strong Operations

This is the "how" of your business. The actual procedures, the process, the "thing." The better you can make this, the smoother you can make this, the stronger the pillar.

3. Strong Finance

Similar to marketing and sales, without strong finances, it doesn't matter how good your product or service is. We need to understand the P&L, understand cash flow, and always have money in reserve.

4. Strong Team

If you plan to have an operation that is bigger than just you, this is crucial. Having a good recruiting process, strong interview skills, a rock solid training & development program, and good leadership skills.

All 4 of these pillars are crucial.

When we look at building a better business, a stronger business, we need to make sure we're improving all 4 pillars.

Which one is the leading pillar in your business?

Which one is the lagging pillar in your business?

1% Better.

10 Business Lessons From My Trip to Disney

I’ve been to Disney a few times, but mostly as a kid and other than a few rides, I didn’t remember much.

I’ve been studying the business of Disney for the last five years or so.

I had some business meetings down here in Orlando this week, and decide to take the family down a few days early and do a couple days at the parks before our trip.

To say it was magical was an understatement.

Here are 10 tips I observed, and I hope you look at your business and decide how you can implement them as they have certainly done wonders for Disney.

1. You don’t have to compete on price. At ticket prices north of $100, Disney clearly doesn’t compete against price. They just overdeliver on value. As you’ll see in the rest of tips, and as you know from Disney, the value is 10x that. In your business, you don’t always need to compete on price, compete on value, compete on the experience.

2. According to Jay Abraham, there are only three ways to grow your business, increase the number of customers/clients, increase the average transaction, or increase the frequency of transaction. We always think about number one (more customers/clients), but Disney is a great example of how to crush numbers two and three. Not only do they get you in for $109 in admission, throughout the day you’re buying parking, food, gifts, and souvenirs. I’m sure they more than double most peoples average transaction from the $109 price of admission. How can you do this in your business? What else can people buy from you? Do you make it easy? Can you offer additional services or products?

3. It’s about the SHOW. Disney is a magical experience. Every detail matters. From the detail of the architecture to the lights and music to the cleanliness of the park. It all matters, and it’s all a part of the show. How can you add more to your experience? Do people just walk in, make a transaction and leave? How else can you make it enjoyable for them? Make it something they’ll remember, make it something they’ll talk about…

4. Everything is easy. I’ve talked about reducing friction in business in previous posts, and again, Disney is a great representation of that. From things like the magic bands, to the mobile app to having designated areas of parking strollers, they make everything so easy. How can you make buying easy? How can you make the journey your customer follows easy?

5. What is your businesses version of the guide map? When you walk into the park you’re given a guide map. It instantly reduces the stress of where things are, and what to do. It becomes not only a visual map but a checklist that you can now go through as a customer. What is your version of this? Does the customer know exactly “where to go?” Do they know what’s next, or what to take advantage of?

6. Constant cast member (employee) training. Everywhere I looked there were groups getting trained up on best practices. Learning never stops. If Disney can train 200,000+ employees, I think we can train the handful in our business. You could tell that everyone wanted to be there, they knew what to do, and they were working efficiently. Isn’t that what we’re all after in our business? Hire smart, and constantly train your employees, every day.

7. The work efficiencies were incredible. I had my jaw hit the ground when I saw how they seamlessly cleared up hundreds of feet of cones and rope after the parade, the system and workflow was so fast and efficient. The rate at which they move people through lines, the design of the stores, the routes the employees take. It all comes back to improving workflows. You most likely have several dozen workflows in your business, how can you improve them?

8. You’re called a guest. The employees are called cast members. They have their own font, their colors, and their icons like Mickey. That causes you to remember them easier. Anyone can recognize the Disney “D.” When you hear Mickey you instantly think of Disney. What is your icon? Do you have words or phrases that are specific to your brand so it creates that “exclusivity”

9. Disney is not in the amusement park business, it’s in the entertainment business. Why did blockbuster go bankrupt? They were in the business of renting movies through stores. As soon as that changed, they died. Are you in the amusement park business or the entertainment business? Think about train companies. If they were in the “train” business, they died. If they were in the “transportation” business they can constantly evolve to what’s next, and have different sectors. Just like Disney, there are several ways to deliver entertainment. It can be amusement parks, movies, resorts, cruises, and so many more. They have endless expansion opportunities as we’ll always need entertainment. What industry are you in? Have you painted yourself into a corner? Can you diversify, adapt, and look at ways to generate more business.

10. Think bigger. This is the one that stuck out to me. Walt was a shy and insecure illustrator who just had a big dream, and a really clear vision. Just think of everything that he created, and has since laid the foundation for what is today. We can all do more. We can all think bigger. We can all have whatever we want in life if we work hard and think bigger.

I hope these lessons were helpful, and like any successful business, there’s always a lot you can learn just by paying attention.

Let me know if you have any questions.

1% Better.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Doug Spurling