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Business Breakthrough Thursdays

Author: David J Fionda

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A bi-weekly podcast for business founders and CEO's who want to improve their financial, sales, marketing and operational expertise and take their business to the next levels of growth, productivity or profitability. We'll interview thought leaders who are creating change for their businesses and will provide actionable ideas and strategies to help you create your own breakthrough business.
10 Episodes
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In Episode 10 of Business Breakthrough Thursdays, mental toughness expert Matt Phillips speaks about the true business differentiator. Matt, a former pro athlete, helps business leaders transform their teams and crush their strategic goals. His focus is the one differentiator that makes the difference between business success and failure: mental toughness. Learn:What mental toughness is and why it is important How to build a strong teamWhy fear is your friendHow to respond instead of reactWhat athletes can teach business leaders about perseverance and resiliencyHow to apply the "film review" concept to address performance issuesHow baseball can teach you to accept failure (a .300 batting average means you fail 7 out of 10 times)The five elements of mental toughness, according to Matt, are:ConfidenceFocusEmotional controlEnergyConsistent actionsThese five elements are instilled in athletes by their coach. Matt coaches business leaders to use these same five elements in their day-to-day lives to achieve success. He offers three big pieces of advice in the podcast:Belief in yourself trumps all other beliefsBe direct, and be bluntTake care of yourself first during your entrepreneurial journeyMatt Phillips is the Founder & CEO of Pro Athlete Advantage, and is regarded as one of the leading experts on human performance and mental toughness development in the world.  A former professional baseball player, Matt discovered that peak performance requires a dominant “inner game”. Using his Mental Toughness approach, Matt teaches business leaders and professional athletes how to systematically build their confidence, focus, emotional control, and energy so they can take their game to the next level. Matt counsels corporations on how to build high performance leaders and teams to crush their financial and strategic goals. His unique business model, a five-step process called "Ignite Your Mindset," is a mental toughness program that helps corporate teams and leaders increase their self-confidence so they take consistent action towards their goals, get laser-focused on hitting their numbers and results, master their emotions, and make sure they have high energy every day so they come to work to perform at the peak of their capabilities. 
In Episode 9 of Business Breakthrough Thursdays, award-winning Sandler trainer and sales coach Joe Ippolito explains how to build a scalable sales process. Joe shares how even inexperienced salespeople can consistently qualify and close in a few simple steps. If the thought of selling scares you, Joe is the person to listen to. Learn:How a series of simple steps can help you map out your prospect's sales journey and identify the right opportunities to close the saleWhich questions to ask during the discovery callHow to detect when a prospect is just looking for free consultingWhy the "show up and throw up" sales pitch just doesn't workHow to avoid wasting both your time and your prospect's timeA simple way to identify (and address) needsHow to apply basic psychological techniques to quickly assess a prospect's interest levelJoe Ippolito is the President of TOPLINE Performance Solutions, an authorized Sandler Training franchise. For the past decade, Joe has been an award-winning Sandler trainer, author, coach, and speaker. His columns on cutting-edge sales topics have appeared regularly in the Boston Business Journal. Joe has successfully trained and consulted with business owners, senior managers and sales professionals from a variety of industries including professional service firms, manufacturing, consumer product companies, information technology providers, healthcare and biotech, to name a few. He has worked with start-ups, building and scaling their sales process infrastructure, as well as established organizations committed to growth. Joe’s successful clients are both companies and entrepreneurs that are committed to becoming leaders in their industry by developing their human capital and themselves, giving them a true competitive advantage.
In Episode 8 of Business Breakthrough Thursdays, Ken Cheo shares his secrets to business development success on LinkedIn. The world's largest professional social network, LinkedIn is the perfect place to grow and nurture important connections, before, during and after the sale. Ken will give you the understanding and the techniques you need to get the most out of this great business resource. Learn:Why LinkedIn isn't just the #1 professional social network, but the best place to grow your business What the benefits of LinkedIn business development areWhy using a professional headshot is critical to getting those first connectionsHow to write a killer LinkedIn headline for your profile What to include in your "about me" sectionWhen it's time to upgradeHow to use the 80/20 rule to reach the right peopleThe three best ways to grow your business on LinkedIn, according to Ken, are:Use LinkedIn powerful free and premium tools to find the right people to connect with, and use your connection request message the right way to introduce yourself and start a conversation. LinkedIn is the super high-quality email list that you could never afford (or even find). Use all of LinkedIn's communication tools like messaging, InMail, groups, company pages, updates and articles to get your message in front of these highly qualified connections. Then use multiple message formats: text, links, surveys, images, video. Find what works for you, which of course ultimately is what works best for your connections and prospects.Don't treat LinkedIn as a cold-calling channel for your business — treat it as an opportunity to establish credibility, and eventually, thought leadership. When they're ready to buy, they'll think of you first.Some excerpts from the great conversation between Ken and host Dave Fionda:"LinkedIn is the biggest professional network in the world. There's no question about it. 706 million people are on LinkedIn, and it's going to a billion really fast.... Every Fortune 500 company is there.... 75% of ... corporate buyers use social media and 50% of them say they use LinkedIn.... 76% of [those] say they have a positive image of people they're connected to.""[Who] knows if there's ever going to be another trade show, [but] everybody who is anybody [is on Linkedin now].""[On] social media, it doesn't matter which platform you're using. It's a vehicle to develop a relationship. Once you develop that relationship, then you've earned the right to take it into a conversation outside of the platform, and that's what LinkedIn enables you to do: ... connect, build a relationship, and take it outside email or phone.""It's not about what you did. They don't care about what you did. It's about what you're going to do [for them]. So, put in there who you help, how you help them, and what key results they can expect from you."Ken Cheo, is the President of Our Sales Coach. Prior to forming Our Sales Coach, Ken had been training and coaching business owners and salespeople since 2006 as the owner of a Winfree Business Growth Advisors practice. He had enjoyed over 20 years of sales and sales management experience with consistent results growing engineering service and construction companies in the Greater Boston area at rates between 25% and 100%. His broad experience includes assistance in hiring key staff members, coaching and training salespeople, sales, marketing, and new business development. Ken Cheo has participated in speaking engagements and seminars on a variety of sales and marketing related subjects. His goal over the next five years is to empower 100 local small to medium-sized business owners to achieve their corporate vision. 
In Episode 7 of Business Breakthrough Thursdays, our regular show host Dave Fionda shares his tips on how entrepreneurial CEOs and tech founders can grow and hone their business development skills—even if they're not good at the "hard sell." Business development isn’t about selling, he reminds us. It's about identifying, closing and nurturing the key relationships you need to acquire many customers.Learn:Why founders and owners need to learn or improve business development skillsWhat the three most important sales and business development skills that owner and founders need to focus on areWhy sales and business development aren't the same thing, and what the differences areHow technical founders and owners can become great business developers, even if it's "not who they are"What steps can owners and founders take to develop these skillsAre you a natural-born sales person? If not, don't despair: Dave tells us you can still become a kick-butt business development professional. Business owners have to wear many hats—sales, customer service, marketer, human resource, finance and others.  Many times critical business development skills for founders is overlooked.  But business development isn’t about selling. Sales is about acquiring one customer.  Business development is about identifying, closing and nurturing the key relationships you need to acquire many customers. Selling (closing) is part of that equation, but it's not the only part.So how do business leaders without a sales background learn to build and hone their ability to close the deal? First, don't forget that these are learnable skills, not inherent traits or personality characteristics. The three most important skills that owners and technical founders need to develop, according to Dave, are:Never give up. Persistence is the biggest skill. And this is a skill that technical founders have in spades. Learn how to listen. Business development is 80% listening and 20% speaking. Active listening is a learnable skill. Learn how to build trust. Your prospect doesn't necessarily need to know how you're going to solve their business challenge—they just need to be confident that you're the person who can best solve it.Sales skills, Dave argues, will get you one sale. Business development skills will get you many sales. He gives a specific example from his own experience—how he was able to turn on his business development skills to get a deal made that launched a successful overseas business where 14 previous attempts had failed. Dave is a 35-year sales and business development veteran, a CPA, author, mentor and, most importantly, a technical founder himself. Dave’s entire career has been focused on helping companies grow and be more successful. He loves helping companies succeed. Dave founded and grew 5 ventures in his career and sold three of them successfully. He is a mentor for the Mass Challenge startup competition and has also  taught at three of the leading business universities in the US ( Babson, Northeastern and Bentley) and has presented keynotes and executive briefings all over the U.S. and Canada. Dave received his BS in Accounting from Bentley University and an MS in Technology Commercialization from Northeastern University.
In Episode 6 of Business Breakthrough Thursdays, marketing and business growth guru Tim Fitzpatrick shows host Dave Fionda how entrepreneurial CEOs and technical founders can quickly scale their marketing through an innovative, agile-inspired marketing plan approach. Throw away your 50-page plan and listen in!Learn:How spaghetti and walls have no place in the marketing officeWhat the 6 key elements of a 90-day marketing plan areHow to find the low-hanging fruit among your many marketing channel optionsWhy staying top-of-mind is even more critical todayHow to create repeatable marketing successesWhat the 3 major benefits of short, tactical marketing plans areHow to integrate your 90-day tactical marketing plan into your marketing strategyWhat the best channels are for early marketing winsTim advises that your strategic marketing plan should include six major elements:A clearly identified target market (1-3 ideal client types)A SMART goalA budget (and of course a staff)A baseline survey of current channels—what (if anything) is working now?A 90-day action plan, with tactics for each priority channelSuccess metrics for each channelHe explains these elements in detail, and shows Dave how to create sprint-like processes to "find" and "fail" marketing channels quickly, moving the successful ones into your longer-term marketing plan. He also suggests which channels to take advantage of early on, and which to give more time to ensure they're given the time they need to show success. Some of his favorite channels for early-stage businesses include "offline" referrals, the oft-forgotten website, online reviews and the extremely powerful (and also easily overlooked) email marketing channel. He reminds us to respond to our reviews, keep engaged, and show empathy and understanding. Tim is an entrepreneur/business owner with expertise in marketing and business growth. He has more than 20 years of entrepreneurial experience with a passion for developing and growing businesses. That passion served him well as a founder and executive in a wholesale distribution company that grew 60% a year before it was acquired. As president of Rialto Marketing, Tim helps small business owners and entrepreneurs eliminate the confusion of marketing using an amazingly simple plan so they can grow.
In Episode 5 of Business Breakthrough Thursdays, host Dave Fionda speaks with growth advisor and exit strategist Kerri Salls about the pain points associated with building a business, how to create an employee-powered culture of excellence, and how to break through the growth obstacles your organization is facing.  Learn:The five keys to building a successful business in the "new normal"How leaders drive culture, for better or for worseHow to quickly re-write the rules for business operations The biggest obstacles to creating change in an organizationHow to identify your leadership blind spotsThe importance of deadlines and the cascading dangers of procrastinationHow to transition from a "startup" to a "scaleup"How even the smallest of organizations can use free tools to implement world-class management strategies and frameworks to drive change and create successKerri's five keys to building a successful business in the "new normal" are:Fill in the blanks in your corporate vision, plan, and forecast. You've got to ensure that all aspects of your business are strategically aligned with each other.Know your finances, funding, cash flow and burn rate inside and out. If you start spending money you don't have, or you continue spending money without knowing where you're trying to end up, or without knowing where your future cash is coming from, you will be out of business before you really get ramped up, and maybe before you even figure our exactly what your company's "new normal" is going to be.Make sure you have the right team in place for today's business environment. Everyone's team has been decimated by COVID-19 and people are having to regroup and redesign who should be on their team, where they're going to work from. What's the purpose of everybody's role on the team? You need to be sure that your team, your partners, your executives are the right people on the bus for this new normal. Re-evaluate your competition. What are they doing to succeed during the "new normal" and what can you do that's far better than them. You can't afford to start something new in this environment to start something if you're not going to be able to be the leader right off the bat — the first, the best, or the only. Get your pricing right. You can't afford to position yourself as a commodity just to get in the market, or just to have cash flow. That shortchanges you and your business long term.Kerri is an experienced owner, consultant and advisor who helps owner led businesses develop scalable growth strategies, performance excellence and multiply their businesses long term value. She is among the elite exit strategists entrusted by owners of private companies to guide them through pre-transaction preparations to reduce risk and increase intrinsic business value by 70-100%. Kerri is also an accomplished speaker, podcast host and the author of the books "Harvest Your Wealth" and numerous other books, white papers and articles. 
In Episode 4 of Business Breakthrough Thursdays, host Dave Fionda speaks with brand strategy consultant Doug Fox about the top five branding and messaging mistakes marketers make. If you worry about how to balance sales and goodwill during COVID-19, this is the podcast episode for you.Learn:When message maps don't workHow to close the "brand gap" between where you want to be perceived and where your consumers actually see youWhy pain points are the key to activating brand loyalty and advocacyHow to solve the conflict between allocating budget for marketing your product with the need to raise awareness and goodwill, especially in COVID-19 timesWhat the biggest mistakes that brand managers and communicators are making today areWhen competitors are hiding in plain sightThe five big messaging mistakes, in a nutshell:Trying to be all things to all people. Don't become a Lionel Hutz — a "jack of all trades." A single, well constructed, sharp message will beat out a comprehensive message playbook every time. Connect with your "thin deep wedge," and then convert.Skipping the differentiator entirely. Don't forget to include the language of differentiation in your core message (examples are "first/best/only" or "better/faster/cheaper"). But if your differentiator is "too good to be true," you may have to lead with a relevance message, follow up with a credibility message, then hit them with the differentiators.Talking like an industry insider. Don't assume that your buyer speaks "jargon" and risk talking over people's heads. The best acronym is NAA — "not another acronym."Ignoring emotion. Logic may drive you toward a decision, but it's emotion that closes the deal (and logic again that rationalizes your choice after the fact). Science shows that we can't make decisions without our emotions. Ignoring the "why." You know how your product works, inside and out. You know what the features are. Don't lead with those. Lead with the why, then explain the how and what. The "why" is inherently emotional. It's the "benefits" message.Doug is a proven brand and marketing strategist with 20+ years experience successfully building and repositioning global brands and businesses. He has a proven reputation of helping his clients be more ‘Foxy‘, strengthening their brands and generating more demand for their products, services and solutions. He specializes in taking very complex offerings and simplifying them down to what is most compelling and motivating for prospects. We're proud to have him as one of our experts, and one of our podcast guests.
In Episode 3 of Business Breakthrough Thursdays, host Dave Fionda speaks with Elevator Pitch Coach Andrew Winig about those crucial 30 seconds you get to introduce yourself to someone new. If you've ever struggled with what to say in that tiny "elevator pitch" window, this is the podcast episode to listen to.Learn:How getting "pigeonholed" or "typecast" might actually be a good thingWhat the biggest mistake in networking you can makeHow to be remembered as a "great conversationalist" without actually talking muchWhat the goal of your first conversation should beHow to break through the noiseAndy draws on improv, sales and even his dating experience to share wonderful insights into networking dynamics and the principles of successful pitches.As an entrepreneur and business owner, Andy discovered that business networking success starts with an effective 30-Second Elevator pitch. His proven 3-Step Elevator Pitch Coaching Process is based on his 10 year journey from cold call to referral salesman. Andy’s mission: to help small businesses get better leads from business networking. Andy received a BSCS from Yale University, where he was awarded a magna cum laude and elected to the Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honors Society. And of course, he's a Business Breakthrough Network expert.
In Episode 2 of Business Breakthrough Thursdays, Dave speaks with Hal Miller, co-owner of Inpopnito, about his experience growing his retail and online "popcorn in disguise" business before and during COVID-19. Inpopnito had been building its brick-and-mortar retail presence steadily for several years, until the pandemic struck. With his retail operations shut down, Hal quickly switched to online sales, growing his ecommerce business 500%. Learn how he pivoted his business successfully in the middle of a crisis. 
In Episode 1 of Business Breakthrough Thursdays, we meet our host, David Fionda. We figure out what makes him tick, and learn what we can expect from future episodes of this weekly show. Dave tells us how he came to join the Business Breakthrough Network, explains our three "buckets" of business questions, and shares a bit about his background. We get to interview our interviewer! 
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