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Authentic Deal-Making

Referable Brands Help Grow Deals

This week’s guest, Michael Roderick, shares so much valuable information about the power of creating a referable brand. When you can get people talking about you when you’re not in the room, more folks will come your way. Some of you may think this only relates to growing organically, but that’s not true. People who have brand value beyond just sales are that much more attractive as acquisition targets. They’re also set up better for possible joint ventures, strategic alliances, and more. Referable brands and deals were made for each other!

Organic Growth & Unique Selling Propositions

As a deal maker, Michael differentiated himself with a unique selling proposition. He appealed to the people with whom he was dealing. He points out that every industry has vulnerabilities. If there’s a normal doorway that everyone is trying to use to get into the space, where are the windows? What other model can you use? How can you be different?

As humans, we are wired to look for contrast. And when you take an approach that is high-contrast to what others around you are doing, you’ll draw attention naturally.

People will talk about what you’re doing, and they’ll remember that you were different.

In Michael’s case, he combined his creative and business interests in the realm of Broadway. Rather than taking the fundraising approach that he saw everyone around him taking – rasing money in exchange for a producer credit, he looked for the proverbial “window”. In his industry, that looked like initially raising money without asking for any credit. This gave him access to more shows. He could then present a portfolio of potential shows to investors and setting up events for theatre companies and actors as a way to raise money.

In the course of putting these events together, Michael started meeting people and getting known. From off-Broadway producers to Broadway producers, he built a reputation that served as the basis for his growth.

And as he grew, he got questions —

People wanted to know how he was meeting these big names, how he was hosting these events, and how he was raising money so effectively. Part of his answer revolved around understanding who was on the other side of the table.

The Benefit Doesn’t Have to Be Financial

Broadway isn’t usually about investing to make money, which means the selling point isn’t going to focus on financial gains. Even though a large part of his role was based on financials and raising capital, Michael understood that what mattered to the people he was making deals with wasn’t just dollars and cents.

On Broadway, there’s an old saying:

You can’t make a living, but you can make a killing.
By its nature, Broadway is high risk, high reward. And the reward people most wanted wasn’t about the money. Rather than try to force a financial focus that wasn’t there, he had the awareness to consider what mattered most to the people who were doing the investing.

In this case, it was often experiential. Often Broadway investors have theatre backgrounds, and their investment exchange is attached to outcomes. They’re interested in learning more of the process, connecting with producers or actors, or otherwise gaining enjoyable experiences in the theatre community.

Michael shared that he often felt out how exciting a project opportunity may seem to a potential client. If they didn’t have an intrinsic desire for a certain project, he never pushed it on them.

Most investing scenarios are similar. You can share the value behind a deal. You can also share why you think it makes sense, but you shouldn’t want to force it. The right person will see the value in what you’re offering, and they’ll step up to the plate.

Negotiating with the “Halo Effect”

Using simulated networking experience, Michael was able to identify common behavior patterns that cropped up during social and networking interactions. He was also able to build a framework to help people do better.

He recognized that many of us don’t consider how to package ourselves in order to get others to talk about us. But when other people DO share about us with their friends and acquaintances, we can start to harvest the power of a referrable brand.

When your name is frequently getting dropped in positive, powerful ways, you walk into the room, the conversation, or the negotiation with the “halo effect”. The positive regard and social clout you’ve garnered pave the way for any sort of deal or interaction you may encounter. It also brings you into contact with more people and connections, which means collaboration opportunities abound.

This packaging of ourselves is something we have to be intentional about. All of us have unconscious competence; things we do that we are good at, but that we hardly recognize. You may find it worthwhile to work with someone who has a bigger picture view of who you are and what you’re doing, because it’s quite likely that you’re missing some of your own points of genius!

(You can go all the way back to an earlier episode to listen in to how Ramon Ray garners affiliate deals using this type of approach as well!)

To learn more about income ceilings, re-positioning, deal-driven strategies, and more, listen in to the full episode!

Corey Kupfer is an expert strategist, negotiator and dealmaker. He has more than 30 years of professional deal-making and negotiating experience. Corey is a successful entrepreneur, attorney, consultant, author and professional speaker who is passionate about deal-driven growth. He is also the creator and host of the DealQuest Podcast.

If you want to find out if you’re an authentic negotiator, take the Authentic Negotiating Success Quiz today!

Categories
Authentic Business Relationships Authentic Deal-Making Authentic Negotiating Deal-Driven Growth

Deal-Driven Growth

Stephen Woessner is the founder and CEO of Predictive ROI, host of the Onward Nation podcast, a digital marketing authority, speaker, educator, and bestselling author of two books. He comes from a long lineage of business owners, and the early exposure to entrepreneurship primed him to follow a similar path. After serving in the Air Force for four years, Stephen landed a job with an advertising agency in La Crosse, WI where he became a partner in just three years. There, he honed his craft in digital marketing and devoted his energy to understanding how business owners think, act, and achieve.

Predictive ROI

Predictive ROI has always operated as a digital marketing agency, but over the last ten years, it has transformed into something entirely unique. Predictive’s core services were built to help business owners identify financial opportunities and hemorrhages in the digital space. But recently, Stephen and his team have added podcasting to their service line. Now, Predictive ROI helps business owners build their thought leadership through podcasting and supplementary content, so they can monetize that content with courses, workshops, events, sponsorships, and a variety of other opportunities.

Inorganic Growth in the Agency World

While Predictive ROI’s client base continues to grow organically, the agency is finally at a point where the world of strategic partnerships and acquisitions is finally opening up to them. It means Stephen and the leadership team at Predictive can look into different plays such as acquiring a software company that will increase their analytics capabilities; possibly even absorbing smaller agencies in different verticals with client rosters that are strategically advantageous. But if you are considering inorganic growth as an option, there are a lot of indicators you should be watching to determine if it is the right move.

Will it help you hit your revenue goals within your current timeline?

Are you making the right acquisition or is there a better alternative?

Stephen shares advice for navigating this process in the latest episode of Fueling Deals.

Corey Kupfer is an expert strategist, negotiator and dealmaker with more than 30 years of professional deal-making and negotiating experience. He is a successful entrepreneur, attorney, consultant, author and professional speaker who is passionate about deal-driven growth. He is also the creator and host of the Fueling Deals Podcast.

If you want to find out if you’re an authentic negotiator, take the Authentic Negotiating Success Quiz today!

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Authentic Deal-Making

Authentic Leadership & the Hero’s Journey

Acting From Your Inner Truth
Dov Baron works with the world’s top business leaders and high-level entrepreneurs to help them answer the question, “What’s next?” It may sound like a simple question, but when you’re already operating at the highest level, there is rarely an obvious choice to make. Dov takes his clients on a heroic journey to chip away everything that isn’t real. The journey enables leaders to unbind their success from their identity so they can leave old parts of themselves behind and move into their soul’s purpose.

It is an intense process that only rewards the committed, but the people who push through see incomparable results.

(Interested in growing your own ability to lead authentically? You can get a FREE copy of Dov’s ebook, Authentic Leadership!)

Discover Your Soul’s Purpose

When Dov’s clients grow their businesses and achieve new successes, it is not because they are focusing on business and strategy. Rather, it is because they are focusing on building a stronger connection with their soul’s purpose. Really doing that work has measurable results; one of Dov’s recent clients even grew his business by 5000%. But in our own world where we may already be highly successful, it is extremely difficult to be willing to go deep and chip away everything that is not truly who we are.

We are always doing, but we are rarely being.

Learning how to enter that state of being will put you in a position to handle anything life throws at you. Doing this work will also transform you, your personal life, your business and the deals you do.

Win-Win-Win

We have talked about the fundamental principles of negotiating and dealmaking many times on Fueling Deals. With Dov’s philosophy, we can build on those ideas.

In a deal, we always want to serve the souls on both sides of the negotiating table. One way to do that is by figuring out what drives the other person so we can reshape the context of the negotiation. Shift away from the win-lose mentality and approach the deal intent on enriching the lives of every party involved (beyond just the money). By creating a deeper connection with our soul’s purpose, this is all possible. But only you can make that happen.

You can always make the deal a win-win-win.

Corey Kupfer is an expert strategist, negotiator and dealmaker with more than 30 years of professional deal-making and negotiating experience. He is a successful entrepreneur, attorney, consultant, author and professional speaker who is passionate about deal-driven growth. He is also the creator and host of the Fueling Deals Podcast.

If you want to find out if you’re an authentic negotiator, take the Authentic Negotiating Success Quiz today!

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Authentic Deal-Making

From High School Dropout to Entrepreneur

At the age of sixteen, Ralph Peterson was told that he was a hands-on learner destined for manual labor, so he quit school and began working in construction. Despite the fact that he always wanted to be a writer, Peterson took these words of “wisdom” to heart and spent eight years on the mud-boots path until he woke up. Peterson always knew that he was capable of doing so much more with his career, but it wasn’t until twenty-four that he decided to finish high school and enroll in college, where he eventually received an associate’s degree in creative writing, a bachelor’s degree in U.S. history, a second bachelor’s degree in business administration, and a master’s degree in organizational leadership.

The Power of a Good Story

Ralph Peterson achieved his dream of becoming a writer, but with all of the accolades aside, he considers himself a teacher before anything else. At its core, Peterson’s role is to teach people in the ancillary departments how to make their processes better, but the ability to monetize his expertise came through an unexpected opportunity during his time as a sales representative.

One of the main reasons that Peterson was driven to become a writer was his passion for storytelling and public speaking, but he only got to employ a half-hearted version of his skill during a thirteen-year career selling housekeeping management systems. The client-facing role provided a means to showcase his skill in the art of speaking, and eventually, he was asked to fill-in for a keynote speaker at a seminar for “housekeeping as a business.” Peterson un-begrudgingly agreed to do the event for free and at the end, he was offered a consultancy opportunity by one of the attendees and his business was born.

Housekeeping in Long-term Care

Peterson deals with two competing business models in the realm of housekeeping and long-term care, but he was able to find a solution that spans both sides. With housekeeping, laundry, maintenance, and dietary, some businesses will come in and take over everything including staff, purchasing, training, oversight, management responsibilities etc. Other businesses choose to opt-out of paying for everything while still providing the management, training, and oversight. Peterson’s niche is right in the middle, where he comes into the same businesses and develops a program for them to follow, then provides oversight of the program moving forward.

Doing Deals as a New Small Business

Initially, Peterson was doing everything himself, but as his client roster grew and the territory expanded, he brought on a Director of Operations for support. The business had limited resources since it was just starting out, but Peterson forged a PTO and benefits package that no one could resist. He prioritized company culture at a very early stage, but he also learned the importance of doing deals internally to increase performance, morale, and employee retention.

On top of increasing his capacity with an additional employee, Peterson is moving a lot of his work to digital platforms so that he can travel less and do more. He hosts webinars with current clients to ensure the success of their new programs, but he is also using technology to bolster a new offering; education and breakdown of nursing home systems and processes. The new product is taking off right now, and 75% of it is done online.

Pay it Forward

Peterson wants to work with clients who are motivated, passionate, and want to get better. It is not about the size of the client so much as their intention since they are both fighting for better care. This includes prospective students for which Peterson is currently building a business model. He is extremely passionate about teaching other adults that there is more to a career than what they currently understand, and he wants to give them the tools to achieve entrepreneurial success in the same industry like he did, regardless of their specialization. Housekeeping used to have a negative connotation for Peterson but now, he understands that it gave him every opportunity and he wants to pay it forward.

You can learn more about Peterson’s story in his episode on Fueling Deals.

Corey Kupfer is an expert strategist, negotiator and dealmaker with more than 30 years of professional deal-making and negotiating experience. He is a successful entrepreneur, attorney, consultant, author and professional speaker. He is also the creator and host of the Fueling Deals Podcast.

If you want to find out if you’re an authentic negotiator, take the Authentic Negotiating Success Quiz today!

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Authentic Deal-Making

Corporate Therapy

Dr. Rachel Headley is the type of person who always wants to dive into the next project, and she has never been content in stagnant situations where her skills and processes aren’t being pushed to their limits. That said, entrepreneurship is kind of a double-edged sword. But the type of work Dr. Headley’s company focuses on is in alignment with her need to tackle new challenges regularly.

People-First Solutions in the Workplace

Rose Group International helps people work, by providing companies with organizational efficiency coaching and training to address challenges around teamwork, productivity, time management, and retention. Dr. Headley was inspired after she identified a major disconnect between executives and their employees and knew that there was a solution. With Rose Group International, she examines the organizational deficiencies on a case-by-case basis and tailors a solution that will help her clients achieve their aspirations and transformational goals.

People are the main culprit when a company is experiencing inefficiencies, but it is often addressed by leadership in the wrong way. M&As and other types of deals provide a window into the abyss because productivity usually tanks in these types of deals. Different types of deals have a major impact on the employees because executives generally do not approach them in a way that allows their people to thrive.

Visualizing Employee Traits to Create a Strategy

You can draft the best legal agreement or integration plan in the world, but if the people are unable to work together it is not going to yield the desired results. This is where Headley comes in and her process starts by understanding how the people work. Her first step is to identify the different personality types including fixers, stabilizers, organizers, and independents. Headley assesses all of an organization’s employees so leaders can start to understand who is on their team, who is going to pose a challenge, and the strategies that need to be developed to get different types of employees on board.

Once you understand how people are going to react to change, it enables you to form a strategic plan to roll out your deal to the rest of the organization. It doesn’t have to be utter chaos, and that is why getting Dr. Headley involved sooner than later will only help smooth out the transition. This type of coaching and training is much more effective as a preventative measure than a restorative measure, but it will help either way.

Leverage Your Employees During Periods of Change

Whether it is an internal reorg or restructuring a marketing plan, a lot of CEOs are willing to roll over and accept that it is going to suck for a few years instead of taking the initiative to tackle the problem right away. Dr. Headley and her team come in and help employees adjust to these organizational changes and thrive in ways that you haven’t seen before. If you can get everyone on board with change the effects are powerful because it enables employees to enter an innovation stage, where hesitations are overcome and creativity flourishes. The same change that was a force of destruction becomes an agent of growth, and the company will benefit drastically in the long run.

Dr. Headley developed this assessment to reflect who your people are in a way that is actually relevant to your decision making. The whole point is to problem-solve with your people in a way that no one else does. Change doesn’t have to be hard or take a long time and once you give people a toolkit that works, they will take it and run with it.

Listen to Dr. Headley’s interview in the Fueling Deals episode.

Corey Kupfer is an expert strategist, negotiator and dealmaker with more than 30 years of professional deal-making and negotiating experience. He is a successful entrepreneur, attorney, consultant, author and professional speaker. He is also the creator and host of the Fueling Deals Podcast.

If you want to find out if you’re an authentic negotiator, take the Authentic Negotiating Success Quiz today!

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Authentic Deal-Making

Evolving With the RIA Industry

From an early age, David Selig was exposed to financial advisory because his father was a thirty-five year veteran of the stock exchange. But, after a significant life event took place that essentially forced his father to retire on the spot, Selig was inspired to pave his own way and help others avoid falling into a similar fate with no succession plan.

Before his interview with Pershing in New Jersey, Selig truthfully didn’t know what an RIA was, but despite mispronouncing the term and pulling terminology out of thin air to sound well-read, he landed the job. As Selig began his journey, he became familiarized with the world of RIAs, its opportunities, and its challenges. The RIA industry is extremely fragmented and there is a lot of difficulty surrounding the fundamental concepts of expansion, succession and scale, but Selig learned to navigate them while acquiring valuable lessons to take into the next chapter.

The Formation of Advice Dynamics Partners

After Selig left Pershing, he ended up in a consulting role for one of the industry’s largest aggregators, and the nine-month project forced a shift in mindset that would lead Selig to entrepreneurship. He liked the aggregator’s business model and the work he was doing, but he was faced with a huge window of opportunity that he couldn’t ignore. Selig started to look at the aggregator as his first client instead of his employer and was hungry for more; eventually, Selig would found Advice Dynamics Partners, where he is currently CEO.

The Evolution of the RIA Industry

At Advice Dynamics Partners, Selig has been focused on M&A advisory and succession planning from day one, and is approaching the eleven-year mark with undeniable success. Part of the reason for that it ADP’s ability to evolve in alignment with the evolution of the RIA industry. The statistics surrounding companies that have a viable succession plan has not necessarily changed during Advice Dynamics Partners’ lifespan, but what has changed is the number of options those businesses have in forging a succession partnership. The options for monetizing a business has expanded far beyond the banks and NFPs to include things like private equity firms with short or mid-duration investment timelines. In addition to bespoke M&A advisory, ADP has a specialty in helping large wealth managers navigate the complexities of evaluating financial sponsors to find the right permanent capital partner.

The buyer landscape has also evolved and afforded RIAs more choices, but with more complexity comes more challenges. Nevertheless, ADP’s job is to help their clients navigate the different options so they can articulate their value and choose the best partner for their business; the industry may have evolved but ADP’s fundamental function has just been adapted to match the changes.

There are a lot more options for external succession nowadays, but internal succession is extremely high on the menu for most advisors and their clients. However, there is a major gap as approximately 80% of businesses would prefer an internal succession plan while only 20% have the ability to carry it out. In order for internal succession to work, businesses need to have certain things in place such as the ability for the parties involved to compromise. There is always a tension between buyers and sellers when it is an internal context and the price becomes an issue, but it is still a lot easier to finance now than it was before.

Doing Deals in the RIA Industry

Aside from succession, there are some exciting things happening in the deal space of the RIA industry. A lot of entrepreneurial firms with younger management teams are seeking an outside partner to buy them and help them achieve scale. These deals are more attractive now because it is no longer a binary choice. Outside partners can enable these firms to achieve succession, growth, and scale while helping them accomplish their long-term vision. There are at least fifteen options in the investor category, and ironically, it is a lot more common for investors to prefer a lower-risk minority stake nowadays. The industry has matured as a whole, and it has been mutually beneficial for both the management team and the partner because the management can run the business with financial backing that will help them reach the next level.

Listen to David Selig’s interview on the Fueling Deals podcast episode.

Corey Kupfer is an expert strategist, negotiator and dealmaker with more than 30 years of professional deal-making and negotiating experience. He is a successful entrepreneur, attorney, consultant, author and professional speaker. He is also the creator and host of the Fueling Deals Podcast.

If you want to find out if you’re an authentic negotiator, take the Authentic Negotiating Success Quiz today!

Categories
Authentic Deal-Making Authentic Leadership Deal-Driven Growth

Entrepreneurial Freedom

As the CSO of Popdog, Niles Heron embodies an entrepreneurial spirit driven by freedom and the ability to control his own destiny. He has witnessed successful careers built under the restraint of golden shackles, but when the going is tough and failure is imminent, Heron finds comfort in the fact that his decisions yield the final outcome. Wealthy and untethered is the name of the game, and Heron has lived by that notion since he started his first internet radio business at fifteen years old.

Popdog is fundamentally focused on content creation and consumption in the world of live streaming, and they provide services and technology to some of the top content creators in the esports and video-on-demand spaces. This includes analytics tools that better portray their value to brands for sponsorship and monetization, and management services for nearly the top 40 content creators in the gaming industry.

Organic and Inorganic Growth in the Startup Space

Heron’s experience with accelerator programs in Michigan gave him a lot of access to early-stage startups where he found inspiration in nurturing the next generation of entrepreneurs, but a lot of businesses try to raise money to solve problems without finding a proper product-market fit. This led Heron to realize that his true passion was not in raising capital, but in helping people make their products work. As a result, Heron shifted his focus to consulting and built a powerful resume that paved the way for his future endeavors.

“If all you need is money, you can go to the bank, but what you need is proof that your business works.”

There are many types of deals out there and organic growth has to be the foundation, but once you’ve found the actual customers for your actual product, you can start augmenting. From this position, you have the ability to force growth in any number of directions, but if you go in all directions you will grow much slower. If you’re trying to scale, you need to pick one direction and understand that this is where investment really matters.

The reason you need to have one customer is so you can comprehend why you don’t have two customers, and if you can’t answer that you might as well have zero. The whole point of the partnership is to expand your customer base by deepening the relationship with existing customers or finding new ones. Demand limit is important to consider but if you can’t figure out why you’re not acquiring more customers, the partnership grows frail.

Doing Deals vs. Adding Value

People don’t go and seek deals because they often don’t understand the problem they’re trying to solve when they get the deal. The reality is that you can’t do deals if you’re not willing to be extremely self-critical. On the other hand, if there is no natural limitation set, deals become arbitrary since your focus should always be getting more customers. Unfortunately, that is not the way most businesses work since the markets have become over-saturated.

Before this episode, Niles Heron never saw himself as someone who does deals, but he always identified as somebody who seeks to add more value by any means necessary. Whether he is helping someone generate organic growth or finding a partner that can provide the means, he stresses that anyone trying to “do deals” should really be focusing on how they can add value. This requires time, but if you strive to accomplish something a “deal” is just the facilitator.

Click here to listen to his Fueling Deals podcast episode.

Corey Kupfer is an expert strategist, negotiator and dealmaker with more than 30 years of professional deal-making and negotiating experience. He is a successful entrepreneur, attorney, consultant, author and professional speaker who is passionate about deal-driven growth. He is also the creator and host of the Fueling Deals Podcast.

If you want to find out if you’re an authentic negotiator, take the Authentic Negotiating Success Quiz today!

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Authentic Leadership

8 Books to Help You Run an Authentic Business

I have found that reading is one of the best returns on your investment in the business world and it is the way that I keep myself grounded and ensures that I remain authentic in my business. When you arm yourself with the ideas and innovations of the best in their industry, you will be continuously collecting tools and ideas to keep you operating authentically and at your own highest and best use.

At Authentic Enterprises, I make it a point to attend every client meeting and every team meeting with my whole self. There are several ways I remind myself of the big ideas which influence me. My time with my forums and coaches helps me center and recalibrate my goals and realign my actions and mindset with those goals. The energy I put toward self-care keeps my lifestyle sustainable and, occasionally, I reassess if my needs have changed and adjust my focus accordingly.

There are several books which have influenced me and the way I do business. Below are 8 of my favorites (in no specific order):

  1. The Birth of a Brand by Brian Smith, UGG Founder
    Brian is a talented businessman and his book explains his journey from accountant to founding the internationally known and loved UGG. He gives generously of his time and talent in The Birth of a Brand and gives a look behind the curtain at what makes an idea ready to launch a business.
  2. The Book of Mistakes by Skip Prichard
    Skip’s new release is an excellent example of learning from past mistakes. You will always make some of your own, but what you can learn from observing others’ mistakes will help set your business apart. The Book of Mistakes reminds you to move on from the past to focus on building your future.
  3. Master Your Cash Flow by Al Zdenek
    Al is a good friend and a financial wiz. This book gives business owners the knowledge and leverage they need to manage the company finances. Whether your business is a fledgling startup or has been running successfully for more than a decade, Al’s Master Your Cash Flow is worth a read.
  4. Profit First by Mike Michalowicz
    It’s no secret that I run both of my businesses based on Mike’s Profit First idea. The premise is to allocate a percentage of each incoming check to different parts of your business such as marketing, administrative, etc. The main idea of Profit First is to pay the owner first!
  5. The Science of Getting Rich by Wallace Wattles
    Many people are not aware of the work of Wallace Wattles but his work is one of the foundations of much of the personal growth work over the last century. Fortunately, as his books were written in the early 1900’s, they are now out of copyright and in the public domain. The title link is to a PDF of his book, The Science of Getting Rich.
  6. The Image of Leadership by Sylvie di Giustio
    Sylvie is a dear friend and fellow NSA NYC member. She is an expert on “People Packaging” as she puts it. Her book The Image of Leadership explains the ways that we project a message to the people around us without even trying. Sylvie rightly suggests making sure your projected image presents your product in the best possible light.
  7. Jab, Jab, Right Hook by Gary Vaynerchuk
    It is no secret that I am a big Gary V. fan. In fact, I sent a recent Tweet offering his team free negotiating advice. Most of the advice in this well-known marketing book is timeless. Gary V. has updated his messaging to clarify that the right hook can require some more nuance and planning than cleverly placed jab. If you haven’t read Jab, Jab. Right Hook yet, you are missing out!
  8. I Can See Clearly Now by Wayne Dyer
    One of Dr. Wayne Dyer’s most wide-read books, each of his books are best sellers. In I Can See Clearly Now, he uses his memoir to share the truth and wisdom he amassed over decades of studying manifestation. For me, Wayne Dyer was a master teaching people how to connect to source and manifest in their lives from that place. He wrote countless books and gave many talks including several for PBS fund drives that are available without cost. Check out his work at www.drwaynedyer.com.

I hope you celebrate National Book Lovers Day with your fellow book lovers. I would like to know what you are reading and which books are inspiring you in your own business. Comment below or tag me on Twitter @coreykupfer.

Categories
Authentic Conversations About Difference

Stop Checking Your Own Email if You Want to Run an Authentic and Successful Business

Do you want to know how I run two businesses and still have time for the things that are important to me? I hire great people and delegate to them. The most time-consuming task I delegate is my email.

My whole email system is based on three premises.

1. My assistant reviews my email.

When the emails come in, they get redirected to a box that I have renamed “xRedirected Inbox.” You can set this up as an automated process through Outlook, Google Mail, etc. It is “xRedirected Inbox” so I will have to scroll to get to it. It’s out of sight because of the alphabetical sorting of my folders. The beauty of this is that I can still access it if needed (e.g. when a client emails something while we are on the phone), but I don’t otherwise look at it. Instead my assistant review it every hour or so. She sorts and handles the emails that are about scheduling, sending copies documents and other things that she can handle which is more efficient and responsive for clients as well.

2. Projects get handled quickly.

Have you ever been copied on an email thread that didn’t require your immediate attention? I bet that makes up 90+% of your email. My assistant is great about coordinating with our team members to make sure that client matters are handled efficiently. By the time I would have checked my email, my team has already finished their part of the task at hand and I am ready to review and take more advanced action. The few emails that I need to know about before the end of the day get moved into an inbox that I review in real-time.

3. I get a daily briefing.

At the end of the day for any emails that didn’t require my immediate attention or that my assistant has not been able to handle, I get a simple briefing. I’ll look at that briefing at six, seven o’clock at night, and it takes me literally 15 minutes to review it at most. This is could be the distillation of what was 100-200 emails, but there are usually only 10-20 items in the briefing as everything else has been handled or consolidated in the briefing.

My email system allows me to use the time when I’m in the office to focus on my highest and best use areas. And when I’m away, I’m not worried about my email pinging and interrupting my business meeting, retreat or vacation. In fact I don’t even have notifications on because I know someone else is reviewing it. I instead just occasionally check the box where my assistant would move anything that’s crucial.

If you want to learn more ways you can build an authentic business, check out my video series Authentic Business: Retreat Edition.

Corey Kupfer is an expert strategist, negotiator and dealmaker with more than 30 years of professional deal-making and negotiating experience. He is a successful entrepreneur, attorney, consultant, author and professional speaker. He is also the creator and host of the Fueling Deals Podcast.

If you want to find out if you’re an authentic negotiator, take the Authentic Negotiating Success Quiz today!

Categories
Authentic Negotiating

Deal or No Deal – What is Your Bottom Line?

Do you remember the television show Deal or No Deal? You know the one hosted by Howie Mandel and on which now Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, was a briefcase model. The premise was a contestant would choose a numbered briefcase and then have to decide whether the sum offered by the game show was worth more than the value inside that case. The participant would be able to keep asking for additional briefcases to be opened and would receive new offers. If they accepted any offer, the amount in the briefcase would be forfeited.

Viewers at home could guess how this would go. They could yell from the safety of the couch for them to take the big number offered early on rather than risk settling for a lower amount at the end of the game or to go for it but they had no more information than the contestant. In the moment under the pressure, not many contestants had clarity about the deal they would accept or knew their true bottom line.

In my law practice, I answer the same questions for my clients, “How do I know I am getting a good deal?” or “How can I get the best deal?” and “How do I know my bottom line?” I remind them to go back to the basics. Ask yourself the following questions before you start negotiating a deal:

What is my purpose? Why are you in this room making this deal with these people? If it’s just a means to an end, you may not be in the best position for a positive deal. If your purpose is to sell your company, dig a little deeper to find out why you want to sell. Get 100% clear on your why.

What is my desired outcome? Once you have established your purpose, you can spend some time defining your desired outcome. What are the main goals you hope to accomplish in this deal? How will this deal change your circumstances for the better? What, specifically, do you want to achieve?

What is the least I am willing to accept? You have a number in mind that you would be thrilled to get. If that number is realistic and appropriate for what you have to offer, great. Often your ideal number is at the top of, or above, market values. If that number does not make sense with the value you are providing in the deal, then you will, likely, have to accept less. It is crucial, therefore, to ask yourself: What is the lowest number that I would be content accepting? When you reach a number and know that not a penny less and you would still take the deal, then you have found your true bottom line.

Do I mean literally not a penny less? YES, I DO! People say come on, Corey, are you telling me that if I got everything else that was important to me in the negotiation and instead of getting for, example, the $1 million for my business that I said was my bottom line, I am offered $999,999.99, I should turn it down? YES, YOU SHOULD or else $1 million was not your true bottom line. Why should you turn it down? Because what if its $999,999.98 or $999,999.97 or . . . . You can keep going a penny less until you reach $0. So, if you do not to get crystal clear and commit to a true bottom line/not a penny less number then you have no ground to stand on, no way to evaluate what is and is not acceptable except by emotion – which never supports authentic negotiating success.

What is your bottom line? If you want a hand preparing for your next deal, I have a best-selling book on Authentic Negotiating and consult and train people on negotiating regularly. In addition to that, I negotiate for clients in my law practice pretty much every day.

Corey Kupfer is an expert strategist, negotiator and dealmaker with more than 30 years of professional deal-making and negotiating experience. He is a successful entrepreneur, attorney, consultant, author and professional speaker. He is also the creator and host of the Fueling Deals Podcast.

If you want to find out if you’re an authentic negotiator, take the Authentic Negotiating Success Quiz today!