Ep. 26

How can businesses continue to network, virtually. with Guest Ivan Misner

Ep. 26: How can businesses continue to network, virtually with Guest Ivan Misner, Founder of BNI.

Brian: Modern networking which is going to be a really interesting conversation in light of, where we are in the unprecedented times that we as business owners now find us in.

Announcer: Welcome to the Home Service Toolbox a podcast dedicated to helping home service providers. Every Wednesday, your host Brian and Olivia interview [inaudible 00:25] our guests will help you nail down what will and what won’t work…

Brian: [unintelligible 00:51] is working but we got Tech on, isn’t interesting when we have Tech all going crazy we talk about how we love spectrum prior to the podcast and it’s going all over the place? Well Dr. Ivan Misner and you joining us today we’re excited to have you on. Known as the father of modern Networking, you know, how do you think this in light of where we are today with networking, not be able to even be in person with each other. How do you find yourself being the father of networking today?

Ivan: well we live in an interesting times as the old Chinese curse goes, you know, I think what we need to understand is a couple of things you. You need your network today more than ever and I would rephrase the concept of social distancing, I would call it physical distancing not social distancing. That in fact right now if you want to come out of the other side successfully you need to activate your network today more than ever. And what I love about the technology that exists today is that you can do that you can have a virtual face-to-face meeting with somebody. when I started being AI in 1985 you couldn’t do that, I mean you know the internet didn’t exist and it’s my fact that’s the second-largest line item in my budget back in 1985-86 when I started BNI, I was the telephone bill. Salaries were number one, phone bill was number two because we were becoming national and those long-distance calls were killer. We can do this technology for virtually free and so I think today more than ever you need your network it’s
physical distancing not social distancing. You need to be social more than ever right now.

Brian: I think that’s so true and I think that just differencing of language I think it’s going to be a big determining factor businesses who succeed and get through this through the seasoning so, you know, I think it’s going to be interesting to innovation that people get to do and we’ll talk about a little bit about that and innovations that you guys have done as an organization. so tell us a little bit about that innovation, you know, you talk a little bit about pre-show that you’ve developed you know the BNI online and you’ve done that in in such a quick fashion, why is going online during this season that we live in that we don’t need to be socially distant but we need to be physically distant important?

Ivan: yeah, so let me put it in perspective BNI presently has over 9,500 what we call chapters, groups of members that meet every single week so we have 9,500 meetings in person every week. I cannot think of many businesses disrupted more, there’s some that have been disrupted maybe as much but I can’t think of any that have been disrupted more than BNI. I got to say we were very lucky and that my CEO for BNI, he saw this coming. He was looking around a corner, you know, he was talking about she’s shifting online and I’m like really you take your time, we’ve been through you know epidemics before it’s not going to be a big deal, was I wrong? He actually started
flipping online in our operations in China back in January then he flipped in Italy in early February and then he’s sort of flipping countries all over. We now have nine 9,500 groups that were meeting face to face, now meeting online running the same program, the same system, the same processes of giving referrals but all of it online. And the point here is that whatever business you’re in, you better be mentally prepared. You may not be prepared to know exactly what you’re going to do but you better be mentally prepared to innovate. Because we are all in a position today where you’re going to innovate or die. If you wait until these times are over your business will be over and so you cannot wait.

Brian: well I think that’s so important to be thinking about innovation, you know, at new there is a marketing agency and we are constantly living in a world where literally
everything is changing. You know apps are being created right now because of the tech that’s being done, you know, how many businesses were started in the last downturn. They talked about Airbnb, obviously, they’re struggling right now because of the epidemic, everyone’s struggling but that business was founded out of struggle and, you know, those who are doing what you’re saying you just being innovative or going to find
themselves on the other side of that.

Ivan: right absolutely and you need to be prepared for that in general, not just because of this virus. I’m going to give you a couple of examples of companies that were way behind the eight-ball. Sears in the United States, you know, at one time
was the largest retailer they had the Sears catalog and you know I have enough
gray hair to remember the Sears catalog which was it’s thick book and you could
buy anything in the Sears catalog. And in 1993 Sears decided you know we better close the catalog down because it’s not doing the business it used to do. So guess who opened their doors in 1994? Amazon.

Brian: yeah.

Ivan: so Sears could have been the Amazon of today, if somebody had said hey, you know, why don’t we take this catalog thing and put it online? But no they didn’t do that. Here’s another one, this is one of my favorites, Kodak. Kodak invented the digital camera, they had the patent for the digital camera and Kodak said well we don’t want to
take away from our film business so let’s license it out to other people. How’d that work out for him? And I’ll give you one more blockbuster, there we’re the 600-pound gorilla,
they had a chance to buy Netflix twice. Netflix went to them and said, you know, we need an infusion of capital would you like to buy us? They’re going to sell Netflix for 50 million and blockbuster’s like no you’re not even on our radar. That’s what the president CEO said, you’re not even on our radar as competition. Well today blockbuster is out of business and Netflix is worth billions, billions of dollars. And so you can’t get fat and happy, if you get too complacent you’re going to get disrupted and you might get disrupted even if you’re not complacent like all of us have been now. So you have to have the mental preparation to think, what will I do if disruption happens? And I think
BNI has so far been a great example of, oh heck, look what’s going on, what are
we going to do and act it quickly. Actually we use stronger language [unintelligible 08:40]

Brian: well that’s okay, life happens, we got to get around the corner and figure how to do these things so I think disruption Oh what we’re in, the kind of agency world that we’re living is called inbound marketing and went to a conference called inbound in Boston last September and I’m curious actually, if they’re going to have it now with all those Corona Virus yourself but disruption was a huge conversation piece and being able to be aware of that and be on the front lines of that not being scared of taking
those next steps.

Olivia: so can you tell us a little bit more about BNI online and what that platform looks like, to our listeners who might be interested?

Ivan: so yeah we would basically white labeled you know we took zoom and we have BNI’s branding on it but we literally set up 9500 zoom accounts seriously 9,500
accounts and our chapters meet on zoom. So digitally face to face and it’s been
amazing to see photographs of all the members on the screen in a chapter and
and one person is talking. so our meeting is handled just like it normally would where there’s a president who runs the chapter meetings everybody has a chance to give a brief introduction of who they are and what they do and what’s a good referral for them. We have a speaker every week it’s always a member who spends about 10 minutes going into depth about what they do. We do some administrative things and then we have the most important part of the meeting, the referral part of the meeting and that’s where everybody goes around and they’ll say I have two referrals today
or I have one referral today.

And then they pass referrals last year we passed
16.3 million referrals. We generated 16.2 billion US dollars’ worth of business for our
members all around the world. We do that now for now anyway we intend to go back to in-person meetings although the genies out of the bottle, we might end up doing a hybrid system, I don’t know. so we have all these people running an exact BNI meeting including at the end of a BNI meeting the visitors are taken to a different part of the room or into a different room in the in-person meetings and then the visit of your hosts explains what the visitor just saw and how it works and what it costs to join and we still do it, but they go to a new virtual room. So zoom platform has the ability to do virtual breakouts so the visitor hooks a virtual room with the visitors and talks to them separately the meeting is virtually identical it’s online.

Brian: we definitely should have all invested in zoom prior to all this.

Ivan: [crosstalk] it’s not that much but I think they’re up right now 60% and everybody’s down from when I bought them maybe in November, December.

Brian: Wow, that’s so interesting. that’s so incredible that you’ve been able to use lots of technology so, you have your own podcast and, you know, one of the things you recently talked about is individuals must choose between fear and focus and so what are some proactive ways that business owners can focus on expanding their network during this time we live in?

Ivan: yeah well let me start with the fear versus focus and then maybe talk a little bit about working from home because I am experienced in that and maybe we can drill down on networking. I believe people don’t make good decisions based on fear and there’s plenty of that going on around the world, don’t succumb to it. I don’t know about
you but for me challenges like we’re going through give me an absolute singularity of focus and I think in the middle of a serious challenge it’s hard to see through the fog that surrounds our thoughts but there are opportunities and to see those opportunities you have to have that singularity of focus.

and so it’s fear versus focus and I think what is happening is a lot of people are so afraid they’re not being focused and I know of people who are sitting at home, they can’t go anywhere and rather than do some of the things that I’d love to talk about they’re in front of the television obsessed with everything that’s going on with the virus. And I’m like why are you doing that? First of all you’re putting all this crap in your head, look you have to have micro doses of the media right now, that’s a big bit of advice I have for people micro doses. You’ve got to know what’s going on but you can figure out what’s going on ten minutes in the morning on an app for, you know, or don’t watch a show read in the app what’s going on and ten minutes at night. and you’re up to date with what’s going on don’t sit in front of the TV you should be connecting with people and working it’s a great opportunity to do a lot of things that you didn’t have time for before.

Brian: Well I think you’re, I mean the fear is huge paralyzing factor, you know, this really hasn’t paralyzed me but in the midst of this I’ve been selling a house and dealing with some stresses with that and that fear has definitely paralyzed me. So I can certainly understand you know how fear can paralyze people and I think you’re right you have to you have to physically make a choice to do something different. And so the difference that you’re saying is it’s not fear its focus? You also talked a little bit about that focus and how the choosing focus can be that difference maker.

Ivan: so I think the first thing you do most, if not all of us are working from home, you know I’ve worked from home for a lot of my career I’m talking to you today from my home office in Austin Texas but I started BNI in my house. So I started BNI in my house we now have real offices all around the world but I’ve kind of gone full circle I’ve gone
back to working from my home again and so there are a number of things that I’ve learned and the first thing that people should do is really wrap their head around the process of working from home and here’s a few suggestions. You got to have dedicated
workspace. if you don’t have an office of your own then, I mean when I started BNI I didn’t have an office of my own and a room that we kind of use this offices and I shared it with a couple of other people. But you got to have a dedicated workspace it shouldn’t be where you that your living space should not be there, even if it’s a table in the
in a living space it should be as quiet as possible but a dedicated workspace don’t get distracted by bright shiny objects don’t get distracted by the television or by other things that are going on stay very focused.

Brian: how about kids?

Ivan: Kids, let’s talk about kids. So I think you need to set ground rules with the
Kids, you know, I worked at home when my children were growing up I work from
home a lot. I would write from home so I would leave the office and go home and be there all day to do writing so you just have to set ground rules with kids and if you’re not talking about a toddler or an infant you can set ground rules with them. How about hey I’m going to be here for you we’re going to have fun maybe at lunch we’ll do together and you know we’ll play a computer game or something at lunchtime, but dad’s got to work right now so I’m going to be in my office working. so you got to set ground rules with them I think that’s really important and most of the kids they get it they get it and you’re going to have time to spend with them a little bit more you know maybe you don’t have to work that 9, 10 hour a day we’re going to work a 7 hour a day and spend a little more time with the family.

Here’s an important one no social media except for business so I do a lot of social media. So I’m on social media for business night or day but no cat videos, no funny YouTube videos, [crosstalk 17:05] talk about covid on social media. That’s one of the bright shiny objects stay focused on business and social media is a great way to do some business right now. If nothing else if not make sales stay connected with your customers through social media, I think that’s a great thing to be doing. You want a couple more?

Brian: sure go for it.

Olivia: sure

Ivan: So, you got a plan your day don’t let your day control you don’t let the tail wag the dog you have to control your day and so now more than ever you need to really have a schedule in a calendar. I have operated off of a much regimented calendar for years, I say regimented but I would say managed is probably a better way of saying it. And I color code my calendar. and I recommend people do that, color coded based on a number of factors I mean I use all of the colors in Outlook I use them all but they’re things related to working in the business versus on the business. These are things that I just got to do and those are certain colors and the things that I should be doing and I want to do and then I’m passionate about those are all in some various shade of green.

So I can look at my calendar you know on one day and know immediately am I working on the business today? Because if it’s if it’s a green day then I know I’m doing the things I should be doing to take the business forward. it’s kind of point where when I come on down to my office my commute is 52 steps from my house I come on down to my office my wife said I do have a green day today. And you know I can tell her at a glance it’s a green day or no there’s some red in it, red’s bad. red usually lawyers I love you all by the way lawyers and accountants but usually it’s not good stuff, anyway you got a color code your calendar and I think that’s really, really important. so there’s a few
stay-at-home techniques tip tips I’m happy to talk about how do you activate your network from home.

Brian: well so speaking about that like I want to have a little more into that so you know for someone like you who have been working from home for four months and years, the three of us alone on this podcast are probably more of the maybe more organized more, you know, working from a desk type employee or a business owner you know a lot of people are listening to our podcast you know are in the field and so transitioning from field work to kind of like home life work is very hard being organized like my guess is most of our listeners do not have even a calendar … the colored calendar so how would you…

Ivan: Speaking of a calendar and a colored calendar with Google now outlook, that’s what I use but Google’s got it, you know, you can get it for free.

Brian: Yeah, so how would you encourage to someone that is like, this is completely like changing their entire world, how can you get help them get started?

Ivan: yeah so I get people yeah I’ve had people in Vienna who are like you know they had a hard time getting online to do referrals forget about meetings online and a chapter president say to me she had this seasoned member I think she meant baby boomer who would just didn’t want to get online she said he hates change he’s not crazy about technology. I said tell him this, you can change or you can fail. I hate change but I hate failure more and so you can change or you can fail. You pick you can’t make him I told her you can’t make him do it but you can give him those options you’re going to either change there. you’re going to fail you decide I you know and if you decide okay hey you’re going to make the change I’m here to help you I told her be there to help him in the process but when you put it to people that way that’s like, oh yeah I don’t want to fail, okay I’ll do it. They don’t say yeah I know they’ll say all right they’ll do it and then you know hold their hand and help them through it.

Brian: wow

Olivia: that’s a lot of awesome information and now I’m a little curious what inspired you to found this incredible company and did you ever imagined that it would be what it is today when you first got started?

Ivan: well when I first got started no I you know I knew I just needed some referrals I was a management consultant my doctoral work is in organizational behavior and so I was just looking to get some referrals for my business and to help my friends get business. and someone came to the very first group see we only take one person per profession so it’s one per professional category I was the only business consultant and someone came to the group but she couldn’t join because her professional was represented and she said would you help me open my own group? and I actually said
no to her I said no this isn’t what I do, I’m a business consultant I don’t run a network I just got this network and she said, “well this is kind of consulting you know you’re helping me build my business”. All right that’s a stretch but okay and so we opened it and people came wanted to join and so I opened a second one and a third one and a fourth when we ended up having 20 groups in the first year. And that’s what it hit me that we don’t teach this in colleges and universities anywhere in the world, we don’t teach networking and referral marketing and that people were hungry for networks. Before I started BNI, I went to networks some of them were mercenary I mean they were just mercenary with sell, sell, sell, sell, sell. I’d leave those meetings I felt like I needed to get a shower because I’ve been slimed by so many people and then I went to these other networks they were totally social it’s happy hour and hors d’oeuvres no business was being done.

I formed that first group with the idea of business but not transactional and social but not but more relational rather than just you know party and there’s a glue that would hold it together is our principle core value of givers gain. This idea that you come together as business people and help each other and if I help you you’ll help me we’ll all do better as a result of it. and I think it was in that second year in 1986 that I thought you know what I think we could have 10,000 chapters someday and here we are 9500 we’re going to have a little bit of a setback this year I think. But we’ll get through this and we could end up hitting 10,000 chapters next year.

Brian: you guys may end up having more I mean with a virtual stuff I mean you guys could turn into something even crazier.

Ivan: we haven’t talked about that too much to our members because they’re struggling so much right now. we didn’t want to you really put that out there but you’re correct, I think when this is all over and things normalize I believe we will go from hundreds of thousands of members to millions of members quicker than we would have. Because the online ability just makes it so easy to attend, I got a photograph of a BNI member in Calcutta India and his wife had some issues and he had to stay at home with his newborn daughter. And he couldn’t make the meetings and it was going to be for like at least two or three months and he was really devastated because he really loved his BNI group. and now with BNI online he was there for the meetings and he said I’m so excited I can be an active member during the middle of all this.

I know it’s a crisis but it’s great to be a member and be online and at the end of the meeting they had a little break out of a committee and his daughter woke up and he introduced his daughter to everyone. I mean it was just incredible and so we’re going to have the ability to have members meet more effectively and I wouldn’t be shocked if we end up with a hybrid system, of in-person some periods of time and then online other periods of time. My crystal ball is about as good as yours but that’s what my crystal ball says.

Brian: well I think that’s really interesting, you know, for the people that are not really used to like jumping on a zoom call, this is probably something you’ve done hundreds… of times and you talked about earlier in the podcast get social, you know on the previous podcast we were talking about how does picking up your phone and doing like a Facebook live right now. but, so many business owners like tech scares them, you know, jumping on a Facebook live or a video or zoom call is going to scare them so you know it’s very possible that someone was listening and they were like I have no problem watching someone else do that but like doing it themselves it’s like, you know, you might as well put them in the bikini here’s a lot of that.

Ivan: I wouldn’t like that…

Brian: so giving tips for those or, you know, kind of…

Ivan: well you got to start with the right mindset and the mindset is change or fail. I mean you got to realize that if you’re not willing to make those changes she’s good and you better be prepared to fail. and so what that is the mindset there are platforms that are pretty darn easy to use I mean, Skype is, you know, just sign up press a button zooms slightly more complicated but not much but the beauty of zoom is you can have a lot of people on it in a way that’s better but Skype face to face I used to Skype almost every day to talk to people. So Skype is easy it’s a good entry for just about anyone to use and it’s free so, you know, I would use skype. One of the things I recommend isn’t when you make that decision then it’s really important to do one to one’s. If you want to go old school call them on the phone that’s fine but at least on a digital platform you can see them face to face 2d but you can see them face to face and I think that’s powerful.

do online one to ones where you would do it just like if you were sitting down at a Starbucks with a cup of coffee except you’re sitting down at your home office talking somebody else probably in their home office. And you do what you would normally do in a one-to-one which would be things like how are things going right now? I mean the first thing I would do is ask somebody how are you doing how are you handling all of this, how are you doing with business if it’s somebody I really know I would say what can I do to help you right now? is there anything I can do to help you and then you know you do the same, you talk about how you’re doing we’ll find out, be there, support each other, build that relationship. Now there are techniques to use with people that you don’t have a really strong relationship and you want to deepen them, it’s called a gains exchange where you exchange certain information with each other. I’m happy to talk about that but you got to do one to one you got lots of time. Go deep with your network, do this stuff that you said you didn’t have time for before and you’ll find you come out of this with a much stronger network than you went into it if you do that.

Brian: I think you’re so right you’re even the earlier of a podcast we were just talking about you know investing in your in yourself, you know, either you’re working in the business or on the business and I think right now it’s so important to work on the business. Use this time that we have been given I mean in some way that’s it’s a gift you know.

Ivan: I know it doesn’t seem like a gift but…

Brian: for those that are being impacted and, you know, it’s that you go sick and that level and that is not the gift but…

Ivan: well that’s not a gift for sure but anyone sick you know that you got to stay healthy but for those of you who stay healthy you still may be thinking how is this a gift, I get that. and so that’s why Olivia you mentioned you’d listen to my podcast and I think the special I did special podcasts for all of this not my normal stuff and in the first one I told a very personal story. About how I when I was diagnosed with cancer and I left the doctor’s office and I had a two-hour drive to go see my family they were down in San Diego. we’re going to spend the weekend together at some hotel and have fun and so I had a two-hour drive and I was in LA then and you know le traffic is you know bumper-to-bumper and it was it was during rush hour so I’m mostly sitting there. I had a little notepad didn’t know I was kind of stunned diagnosed with cancer and I thought you know what I’m going to write a list and I just jotted bullet points on the possible positive outcomes of a cancer diagnosis and I shared this in my pop podcast.

and I didn’t know if any of them would come true but I thought okay I got this problem, I told you and rather than get afraid I try to get focused and to me one of the ways to move through fear quickly is to focus and my focus was okay look what could happen that’s positive? and I came up with the list I mean it included things like hey I’m going to lose some of that weight I’ve been wanting to lose. I’ll drop some weight that’s good I wanted to do that for a long time, I thought it would bring my wife and I closer together because she was very into holistic medicine I wasn’t. and there were a number of things that I had a list of like seven, eight, nine items and here’s the amazing thing, and by the way I’m in remission. It was eight years ago I never did radiation, surgery or chemotherapy I went holistic and went into remission and it’s been eight years, but here’s the amazing thing every single one of those things that I wrote down that might be possible positive outcomes came through. Every one including losing the weight and I’ve kept it off for eight years she completely changed the way.

so my advice to people who are frozen in fear this seems so crazy but I’m telling you what they need to do is sit down and write a list of possible positive outcomes. One would be I’m going to have a deeper relationship with the people in my network because I’m going to reach out to them and see how they’re doing. second one might be I’m going to pour into myself one of our core values in BNI is lifelong learning, I’m going to pour into myself rather than watch cat videos I’m going to watch videos on teaching me how to run my business better, teaching me how to deal with a business after this chaos is over. I’m going to pour into myself and when you do those things you are going to be ahead of your competition, your competition is at home crying the blues and complaining about what’s going on in the world you are preparing to exit this quarantine in a better place mentally because you’ve prepared yourself. And so I told people in BNI on my podcast write a list of possible positive outcomes I hope many did.

Olivia: it was such an inspiring podcast I mean all three I believe you’ve aired so far I’ve taken the time to listen to. and one
thing that really stuck with me was how you said that everything was going to be okay and you know the power of positive thinking and just really taking that time to self-reflect and absorb and think about how you can expand your network or how you can expand yourself. And personally I mean I have many, many friends in grad school right now who are job hunting and things have become very difficult for them in light of all this and they’re trying to expand their networks and they’re kind of at a loss for what to do because they can’t really pursue this job search. so they’ve had to turn to outlets in ways that they don’t really know but the power of positive thinking is just so tremendous and I really respect you know the content you’re putting out there and it’s really inspiring to a lot of young professionals who are kind of in this crossroads right now.

Ivan: yeah, well let me tackle that it’s from a networking perspective because I do talk to young people and they say, you know, I don’t have a network I’m just out of school. So, I like to quote the old it’s called a Chinese proverb but in reality it wasn’t the Chinese who originally said this, it’s when’s the best time to plant an oak tree? And the answer is 20 years ago. And it goes on to say when the second best time is? Today. so if you weren’t around 20 years ago to plant that tree if you’re new in business or just out of school today’s the day to plant that tree and you can do the things like one-to-ones and you could certainly pour into yourself virtual mentors pour podcasts like this where you learn ideas that you can implement. This is powerful and rather than you know playing video games, pour into yourself it’s okay to play a few videogames but spend some time pouring into yourself as well as those video games and stay away from the news no matter what except in micro doses.

so I think they can build their network they can reach out to people they know they can ask people you know do you happen to know someone who’s in this business or in this field they’re at home, would you make an introduction to it for me so that I could have a
conversation with them? I’m not going to ask them for a job I just want to, maybe they
could give me advice on what I should be doing to prepare myself for that field and you know there are a lot of people out there who’d be willing to do that. So go to your network and ask if they know someone you never know who people know, and so you’ve got to activate your network now more than ever.

Brian: so kind of switching gears on outside of the Corona virus but, you know, what
would you say is one of the biggest obstacles that you’ve overcome just as a business owner and how did you address it?

Ivan: well there’s a number of obstacles, you know, you start a business that’s now got 9,500 groups around the world, the growing pains are immense. I’ll give you I’ll give you three quick ones that are very actionable and then three that are more mental. first is you’ve got to write everything down you’re in business, you’ve got to write it all down and create processes, it’s sort of the entrepreneurial myth 101 by Michael Gerber. He talks about creating processes so that, it’s called the entrepreneurial myth because people start a business and they think they’re entrepreneur but their
not behaving like an entrepreneur they’re behaving like they have a vocational job of some kind but not really like an entrepreneur, entrepreneur is different it’s about running a business it’s not being about being in the business and so write everything down. I recommend people set three levels of goals for themselves every year and I know when I start talking about goals you can just see people their eyes roll up and they’re like, yeah all right goals, goals, but the truth is you cannot hit a target you’re not aiming at you got to aim at things, you got to put in writing, you got to share it and so I recommend you do three levels of goals, not one three.

highest level is I call it dancing on the roof if you hit that you’re going to have a party it’s like your dream come true you were able to hit that number that year. Then the second one’s your target, this is the number that you absolutely believe is achievable it might be a stretch but it’s achievable. And the bottom one is the floor, if you can’t hit that barring something like the Covid virus which is giving us all, you know, challenging time. Barring that, if you can’t hit that lowest level you might be in the wrong business and so three levels of goals I like that. And then here’s the third piece of that, reverse-engineer the goals so start with your target and reverse-engineer you want to be there in a year. where you’re going to be at 11 months and 10 months, in 9 months and 8 months and
7, where you’re going to be at the end of this month? What happens is people set goals they you know forget about 2, 3 months into the year they go, oh man I’m way off. They’re looking at the paper 3 months later and trying to do catch up. Now, you got to know your numbers, set your goals reverse-engineer those are 3 very specific techniques tactics which like 3 emotional things to think about?

Brian: yeah because I mean I think you’ve mentioned it earlier in the podcast that you know if we’re not there mentally for not here to handle this, we’re not going get through it, so definitely.

Ivan: so you want to be successful in business, do 6 things a thousand times, not a thousand things 6 times. I see so many business people that are doing a thousand things 6 times and they cannot figure out why they’re not successful, you have to pick a handful of things. Doesn’t just have to be 6 it could be 5, it could be 7 but you do those things and you do them over and over and over and again and people say to me well what 5, what 6? Well I can’t tell you what 6 things you need to do but I can tell you that you can figure it out by talking to mentors. Virtual mentors, real mentors figure out what are the things that you just need to be doing over and over and over again and then be a dog with a bone. If I have any superpower as an entrepreneur it’s that I am a dog with a bone I just work on something and work on something until I get it to where I want it.
So do 6 things a thousand times not a thousand things 6 times that’s one.

Two- I have discovered the ignorance on fire is better than knowledge on ice. Ignorance on fire is better than knowledge on ice now the best thing is knowledge on fire however if you’re a reasonably new entrepreneur you may not be able to afford hiring somebody who is really knowledgeable and on fire. My advice to you is never hire somebody who’s really knowledgeable and not on fire I would much rather hire somebody who has some knowledge but they’re coachable and they’re on fire. Look I was the poster child for ignorant on fire when I started BNI, people don’t understand this I was method acting my way through the process. I didn’t have a Network, I mean I was 28 years old, everyone in my group was older than me and so I was trying to figure it out as I went but I was on fire and so I really believe you want to look for people who are on fire and bring them into your team. And here’s the third thing culture eats strategy for breakfast and you in your business you need to start creating your culture and the foundation of the culture are the core values that you have for the business. So you got to be really working on your core values and let me tell you something if you don’t work on your culture your employees will be, I promise you and it may not be the culture you want it may be the exact opposite of the culture you want.

and so culture is the secret sauce of a successful organization and if you can create an organization with an amazing culture, you can have problems you can go through crisis and get through the crisis because you all are you’re all growing in the same direction at the same time headed to the same place and when that happens magic happens, absolute magic happens. And so those are three things I think mentally that you need to go into business that no one taught me when I started my business.

Brian: incredible stuff I mean that ego it’s talking about focus like we’ve talked about like
so many different things already on the podcast I’m like all right what am I going to do you know we’re going to get off the podcast, you know, what’s the first thing I’m going to do? And I think the first thing I’m going to do is write down the positive elements that can come out of a situation because I think that that’s my struggle. I’m a half glass full kind of person unfortunately, and so I see the bad before I see the good a lot of times.

Ivan: yeah we all do it to some extent some far more than others some live in that place. but we all look we all have we all throw a pity party for ourselves every now and then I have, you know, I’m throwing pity parties where I’m usually down but at some point you just got to smack yourself and say, hey look, you know? When you throw a pity party and you’re really down and you feel like nothing’s going to work, when you get through it do you feel better? I don’t feel any better so instead you know I try to move through those as fast as possible and focus on the, what little opportunities there maybe focus on those. and so I would tell you if you’re listening to this podcast right now you should be just absorbing it, don’t even be taking notes, go back and re-listen to the podcast and take notes and the things that jump out at you are the ones that you want to apply in your business.

Brian: Wow, so you’ve written quite a few books, what’s something that you’re reading right now? Let’s go that you….

Ivan: oh, let me see here, I’ve got a couple of books right here that I’m about to start Here’s one by a friend of mine, “all you have to do is ask how to master the most important skill for success” and it’s really about an about networking and here’s another one that’s sort of about networking friend of a friend of a friend of a friend and those are on my to-do reading list. I’ve started this book of the family board meeting which is about you know if you have a family business or a family trust how do you manage that and how the family in effect acts as a board. the book I’m actually reading at the moment in addition to the family board meeting is a book called “Happy Money” by Ken Honda from Japan and it’s a really good book it’s a little bit of a stretch, it’s not a normal business book it’s more of a self-help book to be honest it’s for people who want to have a better relationship with money. and I know Ken, he’s a good friend and when I saw him and he was talking about this book before it came out he said to me, “money can be happy or it can be unhappy” and I’m like I’m a hardcore business guy and I’m like, come on Ken, seriously it’s paper, it’s cotton, it’s ink, it’s not happy, it’s not unhappy, it’s inert. And he said no, no it can be happy or unhappy and I said I don’t get it and he was talking to me and my wife Elizabeth.

And he said to the two of us I want you to think of a time that you spent a fair amount of money not on yourself and it gave you immense joy and my wife and I looked at each other we’ve been married 31 years and we gave each other the same day. In 31 years we both had the same day and we were like, oh my gosh, and Ken looked at us and he said that was happy money. And what we did it was a day that we donated a lot of money to some charities and we looked forward, we made an Excel spreadsheet and made a list of all the charities we were going to give the money to starting with the smallest amount and then the last phone calls would be the largest amounts. and we couldn’t do it all in one day and so we woke up every morning for about four days it was like, okay let’s go back to the list and who are we going to call him when we told them we were going to give him this money they scream, they yell, they cried, that was happy money. And two he talks about in the book the difference between happy money and unhappy and money. Money that you give and you’re not happy about giving it and how that is different than the money that you give which is happy money. it’s an interesting
book, it’s a stretch, it’s not a business book but it does give you a different relationship with money. Ken Honda, happy money it’s in English, he’s from Japan.

Olivia: Wow, I’m definitely going to have to add that to my reading list because I’ve
decided to not Netflix and binge my way through my time spent working from home.
So I’ve definitely been looking for books and that sounds really, really awesome, I’m all about some happy money.

Ivan: it’s a good book yeah, I like it I really do. Let’s talk about binge watching Netflix, my answer is going to surprise you here. I am a 100% good with binge watching TV, I watch a fair amount of TV, movies, Pay-per-view movies, Netflix shows, I do but here’s the thing. I block time off my calendars with… I do, well look, I think it’s important that we, we’re really busy entrepreneurs I put in a lot of time and so I need to have time for myself, time to just decompress. and so I have since I was a young man taken one day a week I call it my mental health and day, I’ll go nowhere you could probably not even get me out of the living room. oh my god I might go down to the pool I might go out to the Cabana a little bit but I’ll binge-watch shows that I’ve recorded, you know, DVR is a great invention and Netflix or Amazon Prime, I’m all for it but you do it with a plan so that you’re not killing day after day doing that. And so I do there’s nothing wrong with that it’s a great way to clear your head and go back to work a little more revitalize. So I think it’s a good idea I I’m not opposed to it Olivia, I’m for it.

Olivia: Well that’s good, I have one last question for you Ivan what’s the best part about running your business?

Ivan: well I think the best part about running a business is that it gives you a level of control that you don’t have when you’re an employee and, of course, it means that you know you make all the decisions and you make a lot of mistakes so that’s sometimes a bit of a challenge but I think the best thing I’m running your own business is it’s yours. I’ll tell you what, I have a good friend who was doing a vocation day and in elementary school and his vocation that he was supposed to talk about was being an entrepreneur and these are like 10 year olds, 8 year olds and you know how do you explain what an entrepreneur is, he was really struggling with what’s great about being an entrepreneur? So he said this to the 8 year old he said, “You want to know the coolest thing about being an entrepreneur? Yes we want to know what is it. He said “you have no boss” and they were like that’s the coolest thing.

Brian: that’s awesome. So you’ve mentioned BNI a lot, where would people turn if they’re interested in joining a BNI even in the light of this Corona virus?

Ivan: Oh bni.com there’s a section on there on find a chapter and they’re all online right now but it’ll tell you where the local ones meet when they meet and they will go back to meeting in person, so you want you want to look for one that is near where you live or where you work. Even if we go back to partially online I am pretty certain we won’t go back to a 100% online so you want to be in a chapter near you. So go to bni.com and find a chapter.

Brian: that’s great, so thank you so much for being on our podcast today, you know, in this code months in advance and who knew that we even see talking about how the network today in light of Corona virus, being digital. So we appreciate your stories, you being vulnerable and just being able to share the major success you’ve had.

Ivan: oh wait can I leave you with one last comment?

Brian: please.

Ivan: I think that networking is more about farming than it is about hunting, it’s about cultivating relationships with people, it’s all about getting to know people. And that if you go into the process understanding that it’s about building professional relationships you’re going to have a whole different view point on what networking is. And it’s good, it’s fun, it’s interesting, it’s not superficial, it’s all about relationships. I really believe it’s not what you know or who you know it’s how well you know each other it makes all the difference in the world and building a great Network. Also for your listeners, I have a blog ivanmisner.com, I’ve been writing and doing videos there since 2007, [crosstalk 51:55] so near the content they’re all free go check it out.

Brian: and spell that just so in case people…

Ivan: yeah, Ivan, I- V- A- N, Misner, that’s M as in Mary M- I- S- N- E- R, ivanmisner.com.

Brian: well thank you Ivan for your time today we’re excited about our next week’s podcast, it’s Natalie Peters the marketing and business developer of Housecall Pro and you know Ivan mentioned this the concept of having systems in place. Housecall Pro is a software that businesses can use to organize everything they are doing for their business and from leads to quotes and all sorts of other stuff, we’re excited about having Natalie on podcast.

Olivia: and if you guys really like us please give us likes and subscribe we can be found on Apple podcast we air live on Facebook live at 12:15 every Wednesday and we appreciate you guys stopping in. please feel free to check out Ivan’s blog and if you like the podcast as much as I do stop by at bnipodcast.com to listen to his podcast as well.

Brian: Thank You Ivan stay safe not socially distant but – physically distant — that right, all right well enjoy the rest of your day, thank you so much.

Ivan: thank you thanks to both of you.