Archive for March, 2010

10 Creative Success Secrets – Part Two

March 29, 2010

This is the final half of an article on business success by Norm Barnhart.

The Big Question
When you come up against a problem, or need to overcome an obstacle you need to ask the big question, “How?”  As you analyze a situation, constantly ask, “How?” How can I give better service? How can I overcome this customer’s objection? The question, “How?” also is important to moving ahead and making our business better. How can I improve my skills?  How can I achieve a business goal? The most successful people are the ones who ask themselves this question and then act on the answers that come to mind.

Creative Improvement
This world has one constant thing and that is rapid change.  We need to constantly adapt. Even better than adapting is anticipating change and making a conscious effort to continually improve ourselves and our businesses. As Pat Riley, the basketball coach, said, “If you’re not getting better, you’re getting worse.”  Set aside some creative time while on a plane or during commutes. Think about places in your life and business that need improvement. Creatively find solutions and set goals for implementing them.

A Success Essential
This obvious key to success is something worth taking an extra look at. Without sales a business will wither. The smart guys at Dun & Bradstreet spent a great deal of time analyzing thousands of companies that had gone broke over many years and their stunning conclusion … drum roll please… The #1 reason for business failure was … “low sales.”  Wow, these guys are brilliant!  They even went further and dug deeper and discovered that the #1 reason for business success was . . . “high sales.”  Successful people know that time and effort to improve sales is a vital key to success. We need to discover creative methods of doing marketing and sales presentations.

The Magic Number
The key number to your business is cash flow. This cash flow is as vital to your business as oxygen is to a scuba diver. It is important to keep your business running efficiently. Remember to keep an eye on your cash flow. Do not let it get cut off or your business could be done overnight.  Try to build a reserve, and keep some funds in escrow for upcoming payments to vendors.

The Big Picture
The chief goal for your business is growth.  Make sure you have a plan for growth and energetically move toward it. Your growth comes through creatively managing current clients and discovering new ones. You should have a goal for growth; 10 percent, 20 percent, or more each year. Some companies have actually grown 50 percent or more in one year and this is not a result of luck. They planned for it and got everyone on board working toward that goal. It is measurable by the amount of profits after the cost of doing business.
Get an A for Action!

Take a few moments to analyze your Growth Plan.  You should have a growth plan for the number of new leads you draw to your business, and also have a goal for how many of those potential customers become actual clients.  Write a complete growth plan for your upcoming sales, revenue, and profits.

Having a plan for growth will help you to focus on what matters and to track positive results. Make a map for the way you want to travel ahead in your business and you will see a bright future as you sail toward success.

I enjoy tailoring my presentation to help your group achieve their sales goals in creative ways.

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Randall Munson – Creative Corporate Keynote Speaker by Norm Barnhart

March 16, 2010

Keynote Spweaker Randall Munson

Randall Munson’s creative approach has made him a unique and sought after presenter in the business world.  His main work derives from his corporate motivational speaking that has taken him around the world.  Randall covers topics such as humor in the workplace and leads seminars on techniques for improving teamwork or management skills.

Randall’s presentations for corporate groups are inspirational, as he presents practical business techniques derived from his years of work in management at I.B.M. – the computer innovator.  His warm and humorous speaking style has made him a favorite in the Fortune 500.  He is in the Speaker Excellence Hall of Fame.

Randall has been the double-header presenter with such international figures as former IBM CEO Lou Gerstner as well as with the Prime Minister of Israel, and Nobel Laureate, Shimon Peres. Not surprisingly, Randall has garnered more than 80 Gold Medals in the International Speaker Olympics, an IBM Award for Excellence, and is listed in the Who’s Who of Professional Speaking. He is the first person to be honored as a Distinguished Speaker and he has been named a Certified Speaking Professional, this is an elite group of less than 7% of the professional speakers in the world. He has been selected as one of “The World’s Greatest Business Mentors.”

Randall’s messages stem from his business experience as an IBM Program Manager and an IBM Executive Advocate, who for 20 years led IBM research and development projects with management, architecture, education, and marketing responsibilities. He also held an executive position for 5 years in the Target Corporation. He is former Vice President of Administration at Crossroads College and member of the Board of Directors of Hope International University. He is the founder and president of Creatively Speaking®.

Randall shares his insights as an author or co-author of eleven books including the best seller Create the Business Breakthrough You Want. He has published numerous articles and a monthly column in an international technology magazine. His acclaimed electronic magazine, Business Magic, is read monthly by thousands of decision makers in all 50 states and more than 70 countries around the world who want to experience the magic of Randall’s creative insights, ideas and inspirations for themselves and their businesses.

Check him out at:

March is Full of Surprises in Minesota

March 14, 2010

Time to think about Growing your Business

Today was a excellent and lovely day. We had all the windows open and there were warm breezes gliding through our home. I got the screen windows up, cleaned garage a bit started tomatoes, cucumbers, daisies and habanero hot peppers inside. Our home becomes a greenhouse in March and the plants are fun to watch it all grow.  It’s magic! We can not wait to get them into the garden in May.

I enjoyed hearing a U. of M. Professor on the radio last week and he said that March in Minnesota is a wild month. High temperatures have been as high as 80 and the lows have been as brisk as 35 below zero! So we are in for more snow and rain and etc in March, but that is Minnesota… there is never a dull moment.

March in Minnesota is sort of like a wild comedy magic show, you expect the unexpected! I like to surprise people with my presentations that include a bit of humor, comedy and even some mysterious magic of the mind. My goal is to grab attention and get people motivated to serve each other and their clients. Topics include humor in the workplace and the magic of teamwork. It is spring and time to motivate your staff to stretch and grow in their skills and grow your business.

I like to make laughs and spread smiles with my motivational keynote presentation. This weekend included a very fun event for me. It was a Girl Scout and Boy Scout Career fair in Oakdale. It was nice to meet and encourage the enthusiastic scouts to stretch their horizons and do their best.

Other presenters included the DNR, The White Bear Lake Country Inn Manager talking with students about management and a pilot talking about what it takes to get up and into the sky!  officer Brian from the Oakdale Police Dept. encouraged the scouts to learn about a carreer in law enforcement.

I bring my motivational message to corporate meetings and special events. Check it out at

No Script Required – Listening Skills

March 11, 2010

An essential tool for success is the ability to listen and understand.

With co-workers and associates we can save a lot of time by getting things right the first time. Listening to understand and be understood is a valuable time saver. Having keen listening skills helps in so many ways.

In sales, listening to the customer provides us with keys to what they are looking for in a product and service and this helps us to adapt our presentation or to bring out the services that our company offers to help fit their needs.  When we act as a consultant, ask questions and listen, we can give superior service and get the sale.

Shakespeare said, “all the world is a stage and we are merely players”.  On stage the actors have the benefit of a script and simply follow their lines. In real life we have no script.  We are all improvisational players as we move through our daily lives. There are a few scripted moments… “How are you?” and we respond with the usual.  Or maybe we can be creative and say something besides.. “fine.”

We can learn many helpful tools for business success from improvisation comedy teams such as Second City in Chicago. Night after night these performers are thrown into situations that they would never expect to be in and they play off what they are given. Someone in the audience may be asked to give a location for the next skit. Amazing places can be tossed out and the actors must be ready to jump forward with whatever is given. Someone may say, you are astronauts on Mars or pastry chefs on a cruise ship or 4th graders in gym class.

The key to the actor’s success is that they jump into it with courage and confidence and then let the story unwind. They react to each other and the situation. No script is available and none is required – just like life.

So he key to their success is listening to the other actors on stage. If one says, “I think I grabbed the wrong space suit.” The story will move forward in a comical way if another actor builds on that line and adds, “yeah, I must have yours as it is giving me an sub – atomic wedgie!”  Consider if the second actor did not focus, listen and respond to what the first said, he might say, “yes and doesn’t the earth look pretty from here.” He just took the scene in another direction and the audience would be confused and less amused.

In real life we need to make a conscious choice to really listen and respond to associates and clients. We must focus attention fully on others and not on what we want to say next.

This focus will lead to better understanding and less misunderstanding. Most importantly, people will feel that we genuinely care.  One of the best ways that we can show that we genuinely care is by giving our undivided attention to others by listening when they speak.

It is easier said than done, but this is a skill that can be developed by practice. Try it each time you are with someone today. Practice makes better.

Risk Taking & Business Success

March 6, 2010

We are a society that admires risk takers.  We cheer on the person confidently clinging to a silver brief case While Howie Mandel waits for a phone call from a banker looking down from his corner office in a high corner of the studio.

Olympian skiers fly down hills at bone crushing speed and Brett Farve fights to the finish with bruised ribs and knees.

Risk in Business

In business we are told to push the envelope, and think outside the box. The risk takers see great success as new products and businesses are launched, yet we don’t see the trash bin out back full of half baked failures.  But a willingness to face the possibility of failure is just what it takes to come up with something new and improved.

The word improve has a root word and that is improve.  If we want to see improvement we need to experiment or be improvisational.  This skill is used by teams coming up with new product ideas or brainstormers who develop creative solutions to problems. This skill is deftly used by great public speakers and leaders who seem to be able to effortlessly think of their feet.  It is a valuable skill that can be learned and applied.

Even though we cheer on risk in others, we tend to shun risk in our own lives and work.  It seems much preferable to curl up in bed and watch Cheers or Gilligan’s Island than go out into that cold cruel world each day.

There are ways to face out fears and move forward with confidence and a positive attitude.

That confidence comes from practice and experience.  There are ways to develop this skill and we can study the lives of those who had success to learn its secrets.

One basic secret is that there will be ups and downs and that we must learn from both. No one is 100% successful in each project or endeavor. Yet there will be no success unless and attempt is made. We must step out are take a risk. Sometimes we will succeed other times come close. We can also learn from those near misses.

It took Thomas Edison over 2000 attempts to make a working light bulb. He commented after another failed attempt, “We now know a thousand ways not to build a light bulb.”  With each attempt, he discovered something – another way that does not work.

Thomas Edison also said, “I never failed once. It just happened to be a 2000 step process.”

If you would like more information about my motivational speaker and keynote presentations, check:

Improvisation and Creativity in Business

March 5, 2010

Improvisational teams such as the Second City in Chicago launched the careers of John Belushi, Gilda Radner, Dan Ackroid, Bill Murray and many other comedy greats of the past 20 years.  It was a place to play and experiment.  Some of these experiments made a very small impact – in the audience you could hear the sound of one hand clapping. Others blew the roof off!  The team had to trust each other and themselves.

In business, teams and entrepreneurs have to creatively think on their feet and improvise to bring success.

There are rules for improvisation. It is not all made up on the spot and guidelines are required for the out of the box thinking.

The First Rule of Improvisation: Believe in yourself. You have to trust that you have ideas and an innate creative ability. Many people say, “I’m not creative.” But that is simply not true. Necessity is the mother of invention and if you were placed in a situation, such as having the door fall off your refrigerator, and no repair shop open until Monday, you would quickly discover your ability to come up with a solution. You would most likely come up with several ways out of this.

Think of some solutions now to this exercise, then, read on.

In my classes on improve, several ideas came forward such as; leaning the door back up and putting a chair against it, laying the refrigerator on its back and letting the door lay on it. Another wise participant said, “Call everyone over and throw a party and eat it all up.” And of course there is duct tape!

The situation caused a need for a solution and when pressed we all can think of several ideas.  We are creative, when we have to be.

So much of our creativity has been flushed away by school and peer pressure.  But it is still there waiting to flower like a seed under the snow in March.

Second: Trust your team. Try to avoid judging ideas too quickly, instead build on the ideas tossed out and see your success grow.

An important technique is saying, “Yes and…”  You agree with the “yes” and then add more information after saying, “and.”

For example Mary says, “the color of the fire extinguisher product box would look good in that fire engine red” and Dave says, “Yes, and… we could put a window here to let them see the extinguisher inside.”   Ideas build and flourish with, “yes and…”

Get started and try some of the skills methods found in this article or invite me to your next team building meeting and let’s get the minds exercising.