Strategy For Extraordinary Growth

Our fresh idea for business success this month comes from Mike Michalowicz, someone I’ve had the pleasure of meeting a couple of times over the last year. He was the featured guest at my mastermind meeting in Nashville twice already this year and is scheduled to join us again in July.

Entrepreneurs don’t do most of the work. Entrepreneurs identify the problems, discover the opportunities and then build processes to allow other people and other things to do the work.

~ Mike Michalowicz

Mike’s first visit was to share his book, “The Pumpkin Plan,” a strategy for growing a remarkable business in any field. He walked us through a process for finding the sweet spots in our business and how to replicate it for extraordinary growth. Mike guided us through his unconventional strategies to help build a truly profitable company that is the best in its field, no matter what field you are in.

His last visit he shared with us advanced copies of his soon to be released book, “Profit First.” Profit First is a simple system to transform any business from a cash-eating monster to a money-making machine..

I love when Mike joins us, because his tell-it-like it is business advice and fresh ideas always come with a very specific process, a real plan of attack that aligns with your goals! AND that is exactly what we do with technology at CIO.

Our business focused, fresh technology solutions come with a real strategic plan for using technology to make your business better. All the fresh ideas and new technology in the world will not do you any good unless there is a solid strategy in place that supports your business goals.

So what specific strategies do you have in place to help your business grow this year?





Juicy Read: The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur

The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur


By Mike Michalowicz


This tell-it-like-it-is guide to cleaning up in business, even if you are at the end of your roll is uniquely entertaining and useful all at the same time. Whether you’re just starting out or have been in business for years, Mike’s “get real” approach to business is a much-needed swift kick in the pants.





Fresh Ideas For Business Success

Mike MichalowiczCIO is more than just a tech company. We are a partner in your success. So we are calling all experts to share their fresh ideas to help you succeed. This fresh idea is from Mike Michalowicz. Mike is the CEO of Provendus Group, a consulting firm that ignites explosive growth in companies that have plateaued; a former small-business columnist for The Wall Street Journal; MSNBC’s business makeover expert; a keynote speaker on entrepreneurship; and the author of the cult classic book The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur. His newest book, The Pumpkin Plan, has already been called “the next E-Myth!”


1. Miracle On 34th Street

What You’ll Learn: The greatest lesson in salesmanship that no one follows.

The Entrepreneur’s Lesson: Santa Claus, working at Macy’s, goes out of his way to help customers, often encouraging them to shop elsewhere for the best deals. Instead of losing customers, Macy’s becomes overwhelmed with customers seeking Santa’s help. Macy’s sales increase simply by doing what’s best for the customer – too bad they don’t do this in the real world, but you should. 

2. Click

What You’ll Learn: What it’s like to fast-forward life.

The Entrepreneur’s Lesson: Adam Sandler wants to keep fast-forwarding to the major accomplishments of his career. He loses the balance between work and home, and misses the lessons hidden in life’s daily routine. Entrepreneurs are generally of the “I want it all now” breed, and this movie will show you how wrong that is. Take the good with the bad, and never stop pursuing your entrepreneurial AND family dreams.

3. Glengarry Glen Ross

What You’ll Learn: Lying, cheating and stealing never work long-term.

The Entrepreneur’s Lesson: Hard-close sales work…for a single sale. Ultimately your reputation is ruined, and deceived people lie in your wake. This movie is all about what not to do as an entrepreneur. Unfortunately, too many businesses still follow these practices. Get in an industry with a “Glengarry” reputation and be honest, reliable and go out of your way to be helpful. Your business will flourish.

4. Office Space

What You’ll Learn: If you don’t like what you are doing, change.

The Entrepreneur’s Lesson: Follow your gut. If you hate what you do, change. Just don’t steal – that never works. Instead, find your passion and pursue it. And if you already own a business you love, don’t mess with Melvin. He might just burn down your entire building.

5. Jerry Maguire

What You’ll Learn: What you expect when launching your business never comes true.

The Entrepreneur’s Lesson: Hands down, the best movie of all time for entrepreneurs. Jerry leaves his big-money agency position to go out and start his own shop. Just like any entrepreneur who leaves to start their own business, he suspects every client will leave with him. There is no easier way to start a business, right? This movie shows the real deal. Nothing ever goes as planned.


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Microsoft Excel Functions To Make Any Company More Productive

diagram-155894_150Microsoft Excel is such a powerful tool. We all know it, but most of what we use the program for are simple calculations and data collections while we know there is so much more there. The problem for most is that there are TOO MANY functions and tools to use, so we get lost, don’t know what we could or should use and don’t even try.

To help you out, we’ve picked 3 of our favorites to share with you. Using any one of these functions is certain to improve your company and make you more productive.

Conditional Formatting. Did you know that you can apply this simple tool to a collection of data and Excel will automatically format your data via color coding so it will “pop out” based on any criteria you choose? If you have any size data set that you need to analyze, this function greatly simplifies your job.

CountIF, SumIF and AverageIF. These rarely used functions are amazing when you apply them. If you have a spreadsheet full of data with common classifications or labels, you can easily count, sum or average each label using these 3 formulas. The supercool part is that if you update any data, your functions will automatically update based on your changes. If you’ve never used any of these 3 IF functions, give them a whirl.

Paste Special. You may have used this function before, but you probably never realized the power it contains that we hardly use. Use the paste special function to convert your spreadsheet data from rows to columns (and vice versa), divide (or multiply) a whole series of numbers and more!


Get A Grip On Your Business

wendyheadshot2cropDo you ever feel like your business is in a rut? You get stuck on some obstacle that you just can’t seem to get past?

Those of you who know me know that I’m a big believer in the power of the mastermind. I’ve been involved in industry peer groups for years. My current group recently decided to step up our efforts and take all our businesses to the next level. We’ve really opened up about our challenges only to find that we all share the same issues.

We have also found what I consider the most important business book I have ever read: “Traction,” by Gino Wickman. There is nothing new in terms of what he suggests. He talks about vision, goals, roles and responsibilities, process development, metrics, etc. What IS different is how he layers all these together, in a very cohesive way. Every single exercise links to all the rest, with no waste and no fluff. It has given all of us the clarity and focus we need to tackle issues and move our businesses forward. Challenges that once seemed overwhelming and unsolvable suddenly seem common and fixable.

In my group, we are going through this book chapter by chapter, diligently following the process and spending the time it takes to really dig deep and work “on” the business, as they say. We are sharing ideas, but more importantly we are being critical when needed, in order to hold each other accountable to the highest standard. It takes a lot of trust to open up like this, but the results are amazing. My team is already seeing and embracing the change. Turns out the clarity and focus is huge for them too!