The Biggest Lie In The World – Are You Guilty Of It Too?

pinocchio the lier
pinocchio the lier

Today morning, I was doing a bit of reflection on my life, after a meditation session. I accidentally discovered the biggest lie in the world. It’s a lie that almost everyone of us are guilty of speaking. Unfortunately, and I’m ashamed to say, I’m guilty of it, too. I’ve spoken this lie probably thousands of times over and over again in my life. And most probably you must have said it, too. You may not have intended to or realized that you’re lying, but that doesn’t change the fact that you have lied.

As I write this, I’m making a resolution today, to avoid “speaking this lie” as much as I can. I’m not promising that I’ll never, because it is an old habit, and old habits die hard. But I’ll try my best. I’ve also thought of some “alternate words” which, when spoken instead, won’t make it a lie. In fact, I am also advising others to avoid speaking this lie as much as they can. I’m hoping that you help me spread the word, by sharing my post on social media networks.

Having said that, let me reveal the “big lie” that we’re speaking all our lives. The words are… “I don’t have time”. This, my friend, is the biggest lie in the world. Think about it, we all have 24 hours in a day, how can we NOT have time? Are we on our deathbed and going to heaven (or hell, whatever)? If that is the case, then speaking “I don’t have time” would be justified. But we’re not dying all the time, are we? However, we speak these words all the time. Sometimes, even to ourselves. Which means that we are not only lying to others, we are lying to ourselves, too!

If this is a lie, why do we say it all the time? It’s because we have heard everyone say it all their lives, and now we copy them and will probably continue to say it all our lives, too! It is our childhood programming, and follow the herd mentality. But, it is still a lie. “Samir, if this is a lie, what is the truth?” Good question. If you want to say the truth, you need to say the “right alternate words”. Let me think of an example… OK, let’s assume that I asked you “Why don’t you exercise regularly?” You want to reply “I don’t have the time to exercise”. In this case, let me come up with correct alternates:

  • I don’t consider exercise to be valuable (to me), that I should spend time on it.
  • Exercise is valuable but I don’t need it, so I don’t want to spend my time on it.
  • There are other activities that I give more priority than exercise, so I will not spend time on it now.

It is NOT EASY to give a reply like one of these, because you need guts to speak the truth, to reveal yourself. Even to yourself. Because when you do, you are opening yourself to debate, argument or even criticism. Especially, when the reasons don’t hold water.

On the other side of the coin, you are consciously and deliberately lying. In which case, your reply (provided you tell the truth) would be like:

  • I am a lazy bum and I prefer to stay in my comfort zone.
  • I am not self motivated enough. I am good-for-nothing.
  • I am not confident of myself that I will succeed.
  • I am scared of hurting myself in the gym.
  • I don’t like to work hard by working out.
  • I am afraid of being criticized if I don’t continue my exercise regimen. I would rather not start at all, than start now and repent later.
  • Eating, drinking, chilling out, watching TV, etc is what I prefer to do in my spare time. I am a couch potato.

It is almost impossible to give a reply like one of these, and we know why. So, what to do now? How can we avoid saying “I don’t have time”?

First of all, you should be downright honest with yourself. Lying, especially to yourself, is not going to help you in any way. So, get over your fear and speak the truth. Next, if you think you don’t have time to _______ (fill in your point here), then you need to analyze the issue. How important is it to you, and for you, to spend the time necessary to “do it”? If it is really important, stop giving excuses to yourself and others and do it NOW. If you can’t do it now, immediately open your diary and create a schedule in your calendar for the nearest possible date and time, to do this important thingy.

Making a written commitment is important. And remembering to take action on the scheduled time is even more important. If you lack motivation, learn how to motivate yourself. Learn how to manage yourself and eliminate time wasting activities. Curb your television addiction if you suffer from it. Improve your productivity. Reflect on your life and analyze where you need to put a stop-loss! One you have done all of this, you won’t say “I don’t have time“! In fact, you won’t need to, if you have followed these instructions properly. Now do what it takes, before your “lie” becomes the truth and you actually run out of time. All the best!

(Have questions? Post it in the comment box) Click here to be informed when I post my next article.

Bead-Box, My Secret Productivity Tool

I like to play psychological games, especially with myself. In one of my productivity experiments, I came up with this idea, that I am sharing with you today. I created a goal that I wanted to complete in sixty days. I wanted to visually track how much time I have consumed and how much time is still left. So I went out and bought a few hundred beads. Then I took a box that had two compartments, and loaded sixty beads in the left compartment. Each morning when I wake up, I would pick one bead and drop it in the right compartment. Look at the picture and you will see what I mean.

bead-box
Bead-Box, My Secret Productivity Tool

On the face of it, this may not look like anything great. There are probably hundreds of online apps and other digital ways that you can track progress of your goals. Some of them will even give you sophisticated graphs and pie charts to show progress. I myself use these apps, too. However, this bead box experiment has proved to be very powerful to me. Each morning when I think about my goal and pick up a bead physically with two of my fingers, dropping it into the right compartment, I visualize and realize that one day has reduced from the time I had yesterday. The pile of beads in the left compartment is depleting. I am running out of time. This motivates me to be on my toes. It keeps me productive by staying away from wasting time in mindless activities. And when I reach my goal on time, it is a huge accomplishment for me. Cool na!

Now, for those folks who think I’m a productivity maestro and assume that I “always” complete my goals on time, let me tell you the fact – No! I usually set very difficult time-frames, so I don’t always complete my goals on time. But now, I don’t easily get emotional whenever I fail. In fact, I even start feeling happy later on about the “substantial” progress that I make, which would not have been the case had I not set a challenge for myself in the first place.

There should always be a time limit for any goal you set in life. Otherwise, there is no urgency, hence, no motivation to accomplish. “I will stop smoking one day” is a futile goal, you will never stop. If you’re smoking 20 cigarettes a day and decide to reduce to 5 per day within six months, it is a good goal. It’s better than not reducing at all. Even if you manage to reduce to only 10 cigarettes per day, it will positively impact your health. If you want to lose weight, have a target, like “I will lose ten pounds within thirty days”. Even if you lose five, you have LOST SOME WEIGHT! You have made progress!

Always focus on taking action. Make some progress on a daily basis, even if it is small. Don’t break the chain. When you want to progress upwards, it’s like driving a car uphill. Drive slowly if you want, but keep driving. Keep the momentum. If you stop, you’ll slip backwards. Stop only for re-fueling (rejuvenating).

Make yourself a time-bound challenge today. You don’t need a bead-box like mine, to track progress visually. Come up with your own idea. Be creative. It can be coins, pebbles, or wheat grains from the kitchen, for all I care. What is important is, do something where you can track your progress. Don’t set a very difficult time-frame like the way I do, if you’re afraid of failing. Be easy on yourself, initially. You don’t even have to follow the two-compartment box idea like mine, have something that suits your situation. For example, you wish to stop smoking within 30 days. You can buy a monthly pill organizer / medicine box and keep adding beads or something similar each time you smoke, on the first day in the first compartment. Next day, do the same in the second compartment. Continue for 30 days. Your main goal in this case should be to ensure that the bead quantity continues to decrease as you progress towards the end.

Note: This article is part of my upcoming book, where I reveal many more productivity hacks. If you wish to be one of the first to know when I launch my book, you can subscribe to my mailing list. I’ll keep you updated.

Curb Your Television Addiction

Television Addiction
Television Addiction

Research says that the average person spends about five hours a day watching television. This equals to 35 hours a week, which is almost equal to a full time job! (Assuming a 40 hour work week). It is also equal to about a quarter of our day. And if you remove the sleeping time of about 7 hours, it comes close to 30 percent of your waking day time! At 5 hours a day, you spend 1825 hours a year watching television, which is about 76 full days (two and a half months per year).

Since sleeping, washroom activities, eating, taking care of daily chores and other necessities are an essential part of life, there’s hardly anything you can do about the time you spend on them. But when we talk about television, it is time that you can actually get back, only if you choose to do so. By watching television you are getting lost in another world, which isn’t your own. You’re paying to get entertained by folks who are doing what they love to do and also making money as you watch them. Don’t you think you should stop and rather make some money yourself? You bet!

Let me ask you a question – Apart from entertainment, do you know why people really watch so much television? Because they consider it as an escape mechanism from their problems. They use it as a distraction and to keep themselves engaged, that fills an empty void in their life. They use it to fight boredom and to neglect responsibility for their lives and circumstances. Basically, they’re looking for instant gratification. Unfortunately, it is nothing but an illusion. Once the program is over you’ve back in reality and you find that nothing has changed, everything you wanted to avoid is still there. In fact, you are making it worse because of the time you have used up. For once, try comparing the shows you watch on television with something else, for example, reading a book. Ask yourself, “Which one has been more motivating and inspiring? Which one was responsible for adding more value to your life?”

I’m not saying that television is evil and it is always affecting your life negatively. Since I don’t know your TV addiction, you will have to make that judgment yourself. I also agree that there are some good programs that you should certainly watch. Programs that inform, educate and inspire you to achieve goals and improve your life, and which are empowering should certainly be on your watch list. It’s also OK to watch TV as an accompaniment to another activity, like cleaning, exercising, cutting vegetables, etc. News and current events / finance topics are also required watching at times. I am only against shows that don’t contribute any value and are unrealistic. I am concerned that what begins as an entertainment break for relaxing and chilling out, turns into an addiction which slowly and gradually steals our life away. We resort to it just because we show it as an excuse that we are bored and can’t think of anything better to do. It’s no different from tobacco or alcohol.

Why you should leave television addiction:

  1. The most important benefit you get by leaving television addiction is the time you save (as quantified earlier), that you can utilize in many other constructive and productive activities. These activities range from starting a side business, learning new skills, fulfilling hobbies, etc.
  2. Another benefit is that you save a bunch of money. Cable connection, electricity, and the wear and tear on the equipment, all add up to a substantial amount over time.
  3. You also sleep more soundly. Research has already proved that watching TV before bed is a bad idea as those who watch TV at night tend to sleep much later than those who don’t. This is probably because of the content or the light exposure.
  4. Television programs, especially some entertainment shows often create extremely glamorous images of life which are beyond the financial capabilities of most people. Watching them often creates an inferiority complex and guilt in the minds of viewers when they reflect on their own lives. Their self-worth goes down when they think that they cannot provide such luxuries to their own families. Sometimes this feeling even drives them to resort to crimes, gambling and other illegal fast money options which ultimately lands them in deeper trouble.
  5. Television burdens you with heavy bombardment of advertising messages which are forced upon you and are only designed to sell you stuff. In fact, they even work in concert with the programs that create a sense of guilt.
  6. Television is a major contributor to the obesity problems in the world. Most viewers are so involved watching programs, they don’t move a single muscle, forget walking or exercising. Their sedentary life style affects posture and energy levels, and leads to tremendous health issues, followed by excessive medical expenses.
  7. Leaving the television addiction will also free up the clutter in your brain so you can use it more constructively. You will stop wasting time by thinking about what will happen in the next episode, and instead of worrying about problems of fictional characters you will start solving your own problems.
  8. Successful people usually associate time spent on television with the opportunity cost – what are they missing out on, that they could be rather doing. They find more time to think and reflect on their own life and goals. It stimulates their imagination and creativity.
  9. TV addiction affects your beliefs. What you believe is a direct result of what you focus on, so your beliefs are heavily influenced by the shows you watch on television. Your beliefs shape your life, so if you’re not happy with how your life is now, your TV set could be one of the culprits.

I’ll reveal a secret – I was an addict too! I would sometimes watch TV from 9.00 p.m. after dinner till 3.00 a.m. in the morning. I hate to say it but to be honest, I have spent most of my early life watching television. And now I openly admit that leaving television addiction has been one of the largest contributing factors in increasing the quality of my life.

Action: You now have a choice in front of you. You can choose to continue living in an artificial world and fall into the instant gratification trap, eventually sabotaging yourself. Or, you can choose to utilize the additional 76 full 24 hour days per year you get by avoiding TV addiction, to pursue your own real life goals. To create the life you truly want and deserve. Think about it, what will you do?

Note: This article is part of a chapter of my upcoming book. If you wish to be one the first to know when I launch it, you can subscribe to my mailing list. I’ll keep you updated.

Samir Jhaveri

Stop Loss

Stop Loss
Stop Loss

Today, I made a substantial financial loss in the stock market. It was my fault that I did not maintain a stop loss. I was over confident, so I deserved to be taught a lesson, to avoid making the same mistake again. Not being in the mood to work, I decided to write an article and see where it goes. I’ll go with the flow of writing and, hopefully, I’ll find some good out of the bad experience. For those who are trading in shares and / or derivatives, you may already be knowing the term “stop loss”. For the others, let me explain briefly, in one paragraph:

Assume that you bought some equity or took up a derivative position, in the hopes that it will go up and you will make a profit. However, in the stock market, anything can happen and the trade can go against you. When you keep a stop loss order in place, your equity or derivative position will automatically square off if the loss crosses a limit that you have set beforehand. This limit is the maximum loss you are willing to accept if the trade goes against you. A stop loss order will prevent you from incurring “further loss”. Its wise to have a stop loss order in place, so you don’t panic when the loss is high.

But why only stock exchange?

Maintaining a stop loss mindset in every aspect of your life can be very useful and advantageous. It will give you some pain in the present but will prevent  potentially larger pain in the future. The way to do this is, be alert and aware of the various aspects of your life and business. Then keep asking questions to yourself – “Is this working the way it should? If not, how can you make it work? What are your options?”  Let’s consider some examples:

You are a retail trader and sell stuff from your shop. If there’s some product that is not moving, you should sell it at a loss, before it’s value depreciates even further. This seems common sense, but there are many businessmen who hold on to their wares in the hopes that they’ll find some buyer in future. They get emotionally attached to their business instead of being practical. Finally, they end up selling the wares at “scrap value” or even “pay” to get rid of it.

Now let’s assume that you just got into a relationship with someone, and you find that your wavelengths don’t match. You should certainly try to sort out the issues, even if it means slight adjustment. But finally, it should be a two way relationship. Its all about give and take, everywhere. If things don’t work out and you find that only you are being concerned, put a stop loss. End the relationship amicably, before it gets too late. I know several folks who push on with their partner in the hopes that things will work out some day. That day never comes and they live a live of frustration, anxiety, emptiness and futility in their entire life.

Take some time off to reflect on your life and business, regularly. What’s working? What’s not working? Where should you be putting stop losses? Which of your habits are responsible for the deterioration of your health? Which habits are wasting your time? Which ones are draining your energy? Who is making a negative impact on you, your resources, your life or your business? Then make a stop loss!

  • Wasting too much time on social media? Schedule a fixed period of time for your social media using an app or alarm, and stick to that schedule.
  • Boyfriend always turning up late? Dump him!
  • Girlfriend having too many expectations? Dump her!
  • Too much time wasted on your smartphone? Leave groups and uninstall useless games.
  • Business not working out well with all partners? Split!
  • Smoking or drinking too much, recently? Not easy to quit, but find something else to fill the void. Adding some excess physical activity also decreases the cravings.
  • Regular ads in media no longer generating enough leads? Negotiate a discount or dump the ad.
  • Employee no longer being productive, or rather, influencing other employees negatively? Throw him out.

Stop loss!

Before I started writing this article, I was off to the washroom at the office when I was confronted with one Mr X, who is a big “time leech”. He has a habit of chatting about useless stuff, so the moment he tried to start chatting, I cut him off with “Hey X, sorry buddy, something just came up and needs urgent attention. Talk later, OK?” Stop loss! Avoid time leeches and negative talking people altogether. If one of them happens to be your family member who you cannot avoid, spend less time with him.

Stop Loss
Stop Loss Page In My Diary

Action: You know the biggest problem with people? Procrastination. Lack of action. They may get somewhat motivated by reading an article or a book, but the buck ends there. If immediate action is not taken, the motivation fizzles out very soon, just like a soda bottle. Now, if you got even a teeny weeny bit of motivation from this article, grab your daily planner, diary, journal or whatever you use for writing and designate one page, and write “STOP LOSS” on top. Now try to think of as many things as you can, where you need to put stop losses. Give it at least fifteen minutes, if not more. Keep adding new ones regularly. Whenever you succeed in one of them, put a tick, a smiley, and give yourself a treat. Celebrate your success, even if it is a small one. This will keep you motivated to clear the other stop losses. I just did (see the image). I hope you do, too. All the best!

Article update (15th Dec’2018):

If you are from India and wish to trade in the stock exchange, I highly recommend Investar, an integrated investment tool for doing Fundamental Analysis, Technical Analysis and Portfolio Management for the Indian Market (NSE, BSE, NSE F&O, MCX and NCDEX). End-Of-Day data is supported for all above exchanges and in addition, for NSE and NSE F&O, you have a choice of both 5-min and 1-min data.

I use Investar personally and have a special partner arrangement with them. If you happen to purchase their software through my affiliate link, I get some pocket change that goes straight to my “Caffeine Fund”. In return I’ll send you some excellent eBooks on equity trading, as my way of saying thank you for buying Investar through me!

Click here to claim your bonus ebooks, after your purchase. In addition, you can even post any queries in the comments section of this article and I’ll try to guide you in the best of my ability (you need to have an active Investar subscription through me).

Samir Jhaveri

P.S.: Don’t forget to subscribe to my mailing list, I’ll keep you updated when I put out more cool stuff!

Self-Motivation

How To Get Yourself Self-Motivated To Do Anything You Want

To be self-motivated, you need fire in your belly. You need a burning desire to achieve your goals, and a strong determination to succeed in life. It is generally believed that successful people naturally have the fire within their belly, thanks to their genes. Others believe that the fire is “lit” in normal people when something drastic or sudden happens in their lives, and that event ends up being responsible to inspire them. While both these points hold true, the good news is, you can light this fire yourself in your own belly! There is a secret which I have been using myself to light my own fire. This secret is a three word sentence, only. What? Three words only? Yes, it is true, following only these three words you can light a fire in your belly, starting today! I won’t keep you in suspense for long, so here they are:

DOING WITHOUT THINKING.

Now, I don’t mean that you actually do anything without thinking, in the literal sense. What I mean is, when it’s established that there’s something you need to do that is important and is in the best of your interest (and of everyone else), you just do it immediately without thinking. Don’t give time to your brain to re-consider your action. And don’t listen to anyone who tells you that you can’t do it, because you can. When they say you can’t do it, they’re showing you their limits, not yours.

If you follow these three words, nothing and no one can stop you from succeeding in whatever you have set to achieve in life. These three words have been responsible for my personal self-motivation. Today, information is freely available on the internet. You must have done a fair amount of reading and research for succeeding in your goal, whatever it is. You already know “most of the things” that you need to do. Whether you want to lose weight, build your physique, make money, improve your relationships, or whatever. You even know that there’s no “magic pill” that will get you the results you desire without taking the efforts that are required. But you still continue to hope and search for that magic pill. You want the “end result” but you don’t want to take the “journey”. This, my dear friend, is your problem. And the only solution is, doing without thinking.

For example, you know that you need to exercise almost daily if you want to remain fit and strong, and live longer. So, are you doing it? What about eating healthy food and avoiding junk food? Are you generally in control or do you mostly give-in to your cravings and temptations?

If you want to succeed in your goal, you have to “do it without thinking”, meaning, you have to take the action that is required for your goal without giving it another thought. Primarily, you have to avoid two enemy questions that have a high tendency to come into your thoughts and prevent you from doing what you need to do, to succeed. These are:

  1. When will I do this?
  2. How will I feel?

When you have these thoughts, acknowledge them and bid them good bye. Show them the “EXIT” to the way out. “When will I do this?” Sorry boss, you have to do it right now, without giving it another thought. There is no “later”. “How will I feel?” Again, sorry boss, it doesn’t matter how you feel. If there’s something that’s important, that you have to do whether you like it or not, then you just have to do it immediately. No second thoughts.

By the way, do you know that highly successful people are “Very Bad” in doing one particular thing, which is why they are actually successful? This “one thing” is something in which everybody else is an expert. This one thing is….

GIVING CREATIVE EXCUSES TO YOURSELF AND OTHERS.

  • I am not yet ready or mentally prepared, maybe later.
  • I don’t have the time, or the energy, or the money.
  • I don’t have the talent or skills.
  • I don’t have the confidence.
  • What will others think?
  • Luck never favors me.
  • I always try and fail.
  • It’s too late now.

Etc., etc., etc.

Remember, for whatever action that you should be taking but are not, no one cares if your reasons are “genuine” or just “creative excuses”. Why should they even care, after all, it’s “you” who will be affected and not them. So please don’t give excuses, especially to yourself. Sometimes you need to do things that are counter intuitive; do it anyway. At times, there is no choice. Delaying the action will only make the problem bigger or the issue worse, over a period of time.

For example, if you were suffering from high fever and the doctor gave you a bitter tablet to take immediately, will you think “when should I take this” or “how will I feel”? Of course not, you will take the bitter tablet and that too, immediately. That’s because you’re suffering in the present and taking the tablet is a “magic pill” for you which will impact you in the short-term. You won’t make excuses to take that tablet.

Do you know the real reason why most people are not so motivated in doing things that are important in life, especially in forming good habits and leaving bad ones? It’s because if they don’t do that “important thing”, there is no immediate negative impact in the short-term. If you don’t exercise today, you won’t fall sick tomorrow. If you eat junk food today, you won’t become obese tomorrow. If you don’t floss your teeth today, you won’t get cavities tomorrow. If you don’t work on your marketing and business ideas today, your business won’t crumble overnight. You get the point, right?

If you don’t do something today that you need to, the sky won’t fall on you. But if you maintain discipline by forming good habits and sticking to them, soon, they will become a natural routine for you. And before long, you will transform into a much better version of yourself. As they say in Navy Seals, “The more you sweat in peacetime, the less you bleed in war”. The harder you are on yourself, the easier life will be on you. Don’t think, just do it. No excuses. That, my friend, is the real secret to self-motivation.

Before I end this article, I have one last necessary point to convey. I know that it’s easy to read an article and maybe get inspired, but difficult when it comes to actually taking action. It’s because life has it’s ups and downs. We’re so busy in juggling around with our countless tasks and responsibilities, that by the end of the day we’re tired and when it comes to doing something that is “important but not urgent”, we tend to put it off until later, because its not urgent. We think “Not today,  I’ll do it some other day”. That day never comes, unless you forcibly do it immediately, whether you like it or not. I’ve been in this situation several times and I’ve learned to overcome it. Let me help you too.

Remember, whenever you feel lazy or find it difficult to do any action that is important and necessary, ask yourself these questions:

  1. If I don’t take this action now, what are the consequences?
  2. If I continue to delay, will the consequences multiply or intensify?
  3. What negative impact will it have on myself and others?
  4. How will it affect my quality of life, and of others?
  5. How much will this cost me financially, physically, mentally and spiritually?
  6. How will it impact my family members and my relationships?
  7. What regret will I have after a year? What about after 2 years? And what about after 5 years?

Then ask yourself opposite questions, like “What will be the consequences if you took necessary action today? What positive impact will it have and on whom? In what way?” Then compare both answers and take a logical decision. I can guarantee that this questioning method will convince you and give you the push required to take necessary action!

Challenge: Here’s my challenge to you. Think about what you have been delaying on purpose and giving yourself or others some creative excuses. Come on, think fast, we don’t have time. What is that “piece of action” that is important and necessary for you, that you have been procrastinating on, or you may be fearing to do because what others may think about you. Got it? Good! Now go and do it NOW. Don’t even delay a minute. Don’t think, just do it, now. And when it’s done, let someone you love and trust, know you did it. You can even let me know if you want in the comments below.

If you did it, I salute you! Happy to be of help.

P.S.: Don’t forget to subscribe to my mailing list, I’ll keep you updated when I put out more cool stuff!

Samir Jhaveri

Four Ways To Grow Your Business

Do you know how many ways are there to grow your business? A hundred ways? Two hundred? In terms of tactics, there are thousands of ways, and new ones are invented each day. But fundamentally speaking, there are only four ways to grow your business:

  1. Increase the number of clients.
  2. Increase the average sales value per transaction.
  3. Increase the buying frequency per client.
  4. Improve the sales and marketing related systems and processes.

That’s it, only four ways. Once you know this, it becomes less daunting, as you know where to keep your focus. Since I do not know you or what your business does, I will try to keep this as generic as possible. Let’s look into them individually:

Increase the number of clients:

Everyone wants to have more clients for their business because it’s not rocket science to know that the more clients you have, the more you sell, and therefore, the more you earn. Easier said than done! Today, unless you’re an established business, it’s not easy to get new clients on a consistent basis. Advertising has become quite expensive. So before you embark on your goal to acquire clients, you first need to know the….

Life Time Value (LTV) of your customers.

Life time value is the total profit generated from an average client over the lifetime of his spending for your products and services, after subtracting all expenses related to advertising, marketing and product fulfillment. Each business owner needs to find this out. Without knowing this, how will you know how much your clients are worth and how much can you afford to spend, to acquire new clients? For example, you sell widgets for $50 each. The average customer buys two widgets each time he makes a purchase, for approximately four times a year. On average, a customer sticks around for three years (retention rate). This means that the customer spends $1200 with you over his lifetime.

50 * 2 * 4 * 3 = 1200

If your margin is 100% after expenses, you earn $600 per customer. This is the lifetime value. This also means that theoretically, you can afford to spend up to $600 to acquire a customer, which is the breakeven point. At times, some business owners spend more than the LTV to acquire a customer. You’re probably wondering how is it possible to survive if they make a loss. This is generally observed with highly aggressive business owners with deep pockets who want to eat up their competitors. Their calculations are extremely advanced and they even consider the referral sales. So if a customer refers two new customers in their lifetime, they consider the LTV as $1800.

Client referrals: The best and cheapest technique to increase the number of clients is to have a good referral system in place. The client is already happy with your products or services and should have no issues in referring other clients to you. You should always encourage your clients to refer their friends, family members, and business associates to you at various communication levels. This includes follow ups after a sale to check their satisfaction, re-order or renewal times, new product launch invitations, etc. You can even consider some type of reward in cash or kind for further encouragement.

Increase the average sales value per transaction:

You have already won the trust of your client and got the order, so why not make the transaction more profitable? Once the client has decided to make a purchase, he is in the buying mindset and it is your duty to ensure that he gets the most value. Following are some ideas to increase the sales value:

Up-selling: Your clients may not be aware about the higher, bigger or better versions of the products or services that you may be selling, which you need to tell them. It is your job to educate and give suggestions for the upgrade options. If you don’t do this, not only are you missing out on extra income opportunities, but you are actually doing a disservice to your client. For example, you are a car salesman and your client is a businessman who is serving corporate clients. He is looking out for an economy car which can seat four family members. Based on the discussion with him, you may arrive at a conclusion that he needs a bigger and better car due to his expanding family and his need to maintain a particular status for his clients. If you do not help him see this need and just give him what he wants, your client may be upset with you once he realizes this. It would cost him much more to upgrade later, than what he would have spent initially.

Cross-selling: Your client has made the decision to buy (let’s continue with the example of a car). It is your duty to offer him additional products or services that makes his initial purchase more pleasurable, helpful or advantageous (and profitable to you). You can offer to sell accessories, upgraded warranties, insurance, car club memberships, etc. Why let him buy these things elsewhere if you can provide the same yourself? You don’t necessarily need to have an official business for the cross-sell items, you can simply refer them to such business owners and make a commission from it.

Increase the buying frequency per client:

Some business owners focus only on the one time sale to a client, they fail to have clients make a recurring buying commitment from them. While in some businesses the recurring is quite obvious like a web hosting service, it is not so obvious in other businesses and you need to think and strategize how you can implement a system and encourage your clients to sign a re-billing contract. In the lawn mowing business, most folks call the mower when the lawn is in a mess and requires lot of seeding, weeding, mowing clipping, etc. But there are many folks who would prefer to have a sensational lawn at all times, without requiring to call up the lawn-care fellow each time it is in a mess. You can have a yearly contract where you get the job done at a fixed time interval as well as in emergencies. In the car example, you can have a contract with your client for routine oil check and change, full service, etc.

Improve the sales and marketing related systems and processes:

Businesses will have their cash flow in check and sales growth improved if they take care to ensure that their systems and processes are running at the highest efficiency. You need to constantly focus on improving conversions, replace obsolete and out dated systems, check and monitor effectiveness of marketing and advertising procedures, and check ageing of any physical assets if they need repairs or replacement.

Like this page? Subscribe to my mailing list and I’ll update you when I publish interesting stuff like this.

Secrets Of Drinking Water – Revealed!

(Pssst…. can I tell you a secret about drinking water) 😉

This is my first blog post and today being 22 March which is World Water Day, it makes sense in writing something about water! That being decided, I was planning to title this article “The Importance Of Regularizing Water Intake” or maybe “Drinking Water Dos and Don’ts” but the marketer in me found them boring, hence the “secret” word to get your attention 🙂

You’re probably wondering…. what has water got to do with someone who wants to focus on marketing and business? A lot, actually. I urge you to read this post even if you think you know everything about water, you may be pleasantly surprised! In fact if you do nothing else but regularize your water intake, you will feel fuller of energy than you have ever felt before! You will see a noticeable improvement within 3 days for everything you do, physically and mentally.

Basic Facts: About 60% of your body weight is water. Water helps transport nutrients, removes waste from the body and regulate the body temperature. Water is also essential for the brain. Studies have shown that a mere reduction of 2% body fluid due to dehydration not only reduces physical performances but causes a decline in mental functionality, cognitive performance, psychomotor (origination of movement in conscious mental activity) and visuomotor (coordination of movement and visual perception by the brain). So if you find difficulty in thinking or focusing it’s probably nothing but time for a water break!

Some Benefits: Drinking adequate water daily decreases threat of a heart attack by preventing thickening of blood and lowering blood pressure. It also strengthens immunity against kidney stones, enhances metabolism, strengthens bones by helping rebuild shock absorber cartilage, and moisturizes your skin and keeps it soft, glowing and wrinkle free. It also helps produce more saliva, reducing the chances of bacterial overgrowth, which is responsible for bad breath.

So, how much water should you drink per day?

Most of us have heard the popular “8 glasses a day” advice. Unfortunately, there is no scientific theory to support this measure. How much water should you drink every day depends on a lot of factors, like your body weight, your environmental conditions, your daily exercise regime, your body fat and body muscle ratio, etc. As a general rule of thumb, men should drink 13 cups and women should drink 9 cups daily. You can also gauge your water intake by looking at your urine colour, which should be very light (pale) yellow. Do note, however, some medications especially dietary supplements can change the colour of your urine to a bright yellow or a darker colour. Another indicator is if you have bad breath. Even mild dehydration can reduce normal saliva production thereby reducing the flow of saliva. So drinking more water throughout the day will help with your bad breath problem especially if it is accompanied by a dry mouth.

How often and how much water should you drink at a time?

Most people believe that you should drink water “whenever you’re thirsty”. This is only partly true. You should actually drink at least half to one glass of water “every hour” to keep yourself hydrated! In fact you should first start your day by drinking a large glass of warm water immediately after waking up. This helps activate the internal organs and stimulate proper bowel movement. Always avoid drinking cold water. Best is to drink warm water and better is normal temperature. Cold water dampens the energy and weakens the kidneys. Cold water or any cold beverage taken with meals will solidify the oily stuff which will turn into fat and sludge in the body, creating imbalance.

While it’s a good idea to drink a little more water than the recommended intake for you, drinking “too much water” can actually harm you! Water overdose can cause an “electrolyte imbalance” in your body. The more water you drink, the more you need to replenish your electrolytes. But in certain situations and environments you will need to drink more water. You will need to increase your water intake when:

  • You have a fever.
  • You have diarrhea.
  • You’re pregnant / you’ve recently delivered and you breastfeed your baby.
  • You had several drinks last night and now you have a hangover.
  • You live in a very hot location.
  • You are very active physically and do hard labour / exercise.

So how do you manage the right balance of electrolytes? Don’t worry, you don’t need any expensive sports drink to do that. I’ve learnt that the simplest and the cheapest way to balance your electrolytes is to add 200mg (about a pinch) of unrefined mineral salt to a large bottle of water (2 liters), and you’ll have all the electrolytes your body needs!

Can a person die from drinking too much water?

Yes! Drinking about six liters of water at a stretch is sufficient for a normal human to die of water intoxication. This is why you should never encourage or participate in water drinking competition or challenges. The kidneys can eliminate a maximum of 1 liter of water per hour, so excessive water causes the level of salt or sodium in the blood to drop to dangerously low levels, called hyponatremia. The excess water which cannot be flushed out by the kidneys enters the cells and causes them to swell. This situation rapidly becomes lethal when the brain cells also begin to swell.

Weight loss or weight gain?

While drinking a little more water helps decrease your appetite and indirectly helps you not to overeat, excessive water drinking backfires and actually makes you gain weight, called water weight.

Water and food – the before and after:

It is advisable to keep a 30 minutes gap from drinking water before and after having a meal. Since it takes about 2 hours for the stomach to digest food, drinking water just before a meal, during meals and immediately after a meal dilutes the essential gastric juices and increases your insulin levels. It also disturbs the fluid – solid proportion, fastening the digestion process, resulting in the food entering the large intestine much sooner than it should.

Some more important things to learn about water:

Insufficient water intake causes dehydration which makes you feel tired and distressed. It can also result in headaches, constipation, chronic fatigue, dizziness, impotence, hair loss and more. In fact, over hydration also causes throbbing headaches. Water is required to get rid of the poisonous toxins in the body. I would highly recommend finding a reliable source of drinking water instead of relying on tap water. Many times, these contain various chemicals which will only increase the toxins instead of decreasing them.

Always sit down and drink water slowly.

You should never drink water when standing as it won’t fully quench your thirst. In addition, the water flow in the standing posture doesn’t dilute the acids sufficiently and affects digestion and kidney functioning. Side effects also include ulcers, early invitation to arthritis and heartburn.

Now stop reading and go get that water bottle first 🙂