What You Accept, You Get

Only Accept SuccessHere’s a secret I’ve discovered about millionaire and multi-millionaire entrepreneurs: they want what they do and their companies do to be right. Not 80% right. Not 90% right. Right, period. They are, therefore, very much disliked by a lot of people, and if they are “big” enough, by the media. Jobs. Bezos. Trump. Working for them, many ex-employees say, was hell. But maybe it was being incompetent in their employ that was hell.

Winning isn’t just a statistic on a spreadsheet or a bank account balance. It is the customer, Mrs. Matilda Smith, in Rockford, Illinois, getting what she asked for on her pizza or the right product in the delivered package or a human answering her call in fewer than four rings.

Customer appreciation is not a once a year sale or an automated thank you e-mail. It is an authentic attitude, top-down, permeated throughout an organization, actually occurring – and measured, policed and enforced – every day. I don’t care how big your company, if you don’t actually care about the people, the individuals, giving you money, they will drift off in search of a place where they feel valued and appreciated.

Another secret about rich entrepreneurs: they don’t just seek success. They HATE failure.

They often react to it violently. Martha Stewart was known to drop into a K-Mart store, find her branded goods sloppily stocked and throw the entire inventory from shelves onto the floor. Eisner instantly fired a group of Disney Park employees caught not smiling. Walt had a fit over one’s lousy delivery of The Jungle Cruise script. I saw Trump tear an empty towel dispenser from a restroom wall in a Trump hotel and throw it 20 yards down a hall.

These people are said to terrorize their employees, their associates, their vendors. But how calmly should you accept failure?  Should you “stay calm and carry on”? Only if you want more of the failure you calmly accept. If your blood doesn’t boil and offenders see fire shoot from your eyeballs, your lesser response will be taken as permission. If there is failure and new training, new controls, new supervision is not installed as remedy, the “let’s TRY and do better” will be taken as permission.

There are places where incompetence as failure has dire and instant consequences. The jailer who forgets to lock the inmate’s cell or misses the razor blade in the body search may wind up quickly dead. It’s a fine object lesson for other jailers. The cruise ship captain who is busy texting  and gets into too-shallow water and capsizes and sinks the whole thing, and injures and drowns passengers, goes to prison. As it should be.

Creating dire and instant consequences for incompetence and failure is a good thing in any and every business. I’ve told of Chuck Sekeres’ “3 strikes and you’re out” for his in-bound telemarketers: three calls in a row without a set appointment, you’re out. Next batter up. No quarterly performance evaluations. Don’t even wait to be told. After 3, get up and slink out. Minute by minute. Drop three passes in a game, butt on bench. If possible, traded.

Fail at managing the V.A., the IRS and Benghazi, shouldn’t three strikes be enough?  They tried to impeach Clinton over one intern. I used the word RUTHLESS in my book title “No BS Management of People and Profits” because, damn it, we desperately need a lot more ruthlessness in a lot more places. In homes, in neighborhoods, in small businesses, in big companies, in government. You can start with you.

– By Dan S. Kennedy, serial entrepreneur, from-scratch multi-millionaire, speaker, consultant, coach, author of 13 books including the No B.S. series, and editor of The No B.S. Marketing Letter. FOR A SPECIAL FREE GIFT FROM DAN FOR YOU including newsletters, audio CD’s and more: visit: www.FreeDanKennedyNewsletter.com

5 UN-Creative Thoughts About Creativity

Uncreative Creative Business IdeasEntrepreneurs and marketers are constantly challenged to be creative. But creativity as it is commonly thought of and practiced is sin not virtue, because it is slow and ponderous; because it begins with a blank slate.

One of the most profitably creative entrepreneurs of all time, Walt Disney, said “….stop talking and begin doing.” To be profitable in the real world, creativity must be fast, decisive, practical, implementable and implemented. There’s little room for creativity for creativity’s sake.

I tend to practice “creativity cheating” – and thought I’d give you a few quick “cheats”, from the many I talked about at my one day Creative Thinking For Entrepreneurs Seminar.*


From Tony Baxter, Senior V.P., Creative Development/Imagineering at Disney:

“For the climactic scene in the Indiana Jones Adventure at Disneyland, we wanted the ride vehicle to suddenly start backing up as the giant rolling boulder comes thundering toward us. Having a ride vehicle back up in the middle of a ride is SOMETHING THAT’S NEVER BEEN DONE, BECAUSE IT’S NOT POSSIBLE.”

“With eighteen vehicles traveling down the same track at the same time, a vehicle going in reverse would collide with the next vehicle coming behind it along the track. But if you’ve ever ridden in the Indiana Jones attraction, you know your vehicle does suddenly start backing up. At least that’s your perception.”

“Your vehicle has actually stopped. It’s the walls and ceiling that are moving, giving you the undeniable feeling that you’re traveling backward…….so, where did we come up with this solution? A car wash. One of those self-service machines at the gas station where you pull your car in and park while a series of brushes and spray heads mounted above and beside your car travel back and forth.”

There’s more to Tony’s story, but enough here to make the point: whatever you’re trying to do, somebody has already figured out and built — just not in your business or industry or in an application you might ordinarily, easily think of in connection with your business. You do NOT want to invest umpteen days, weeks, months duplicating all the figuring out and innovation and engineering – you want to find the thing that’s already built.

Oh, and a key question to ask every time you see anything, go anywhere, experience anything: how can I use that?


Most people approach creative thinking from the front – the idea. Let’s say you’re going to open up a new restaurant. You’ll probably start with the name, maybe the theme, the menu.

But the best place to start is with what will insure a customer keeps coming back. Or his final few minutes in the place. What goes on at the cash register. What will create the highest average ticket. In short, you start thinking about outcomes and then build backwards.

Right now, in the movie business, a ton of very important money comes from stealth advertising and product placement. So very, very, very early in the creative process, in many cases prior to script and definitely prior to picking actors, the list of every possible product/advertiser that can be integrated into the film is thought through.

I am told in one blockbuster movie of 2005, a scene that took place inside a ski resort’s dim-lit bar at night in the book was moved to daytime, outside on the restaurant’s deck because they could get a sunglasses company, a parka company, and a liquor company with its name on patio table umbrellas to pony up money.


I started out, ever so briefly, in the ‘traditional’ advertising business, and have occasionally been involved – such as a few years back when I butted heads with Weight Watchers’ big name Madison Avenue agency. They tend to start their creative process with random ideas.

If you watch the advertising-related exercises on ‘The Apprentice’, you’ve seen this same mistake made. So, gather a bunch of ad industry creative types together to talk about advertising for a new perfume, they’ll instantly leap off a dozen creative cliffs: names, colors, package, celebrity, music.

I say: wait a damn minute! Tell me who the ‘target’ is – don’t even bother telling me about the product. I don’t give a rat’s patootie that it smells like jasmine or ocean breezes or beached whales in the last throes of death or is made from cedar planks or horny minks’ glandular secretions. I want to work backwards from who the intended buyer is.

And it matters whether she’s 18, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 55, single, married, etc. I catch clients constantly playing BLIND ARCHERY. Don’t develop a product or service or offer or Marketing Message unless you are developing it for a particular somebody. Not only is that the best and surest way to make money and avoid flops, it’s a terrific creativity shortcut because it narrows your range of creative work from the git-go.

If you want to manage time better, by now you probably know my best strategy is to give yourself less loose time to manage. If you want to get through the creation process quicker, give yourself a smaller canvass.


I get real joy out of hearing from GKIC Members as I did the day I wrote this, and hearing one after another telling me how they took an example from the NO B.S. MARKETING LETTER, etc., etc. Again, you should never start with a blank slate. Too hard, too slow. Gather up some stuff to give you a jump start.


One of my favorite shortcuts is finding the little doodads, promotional items, grabbers that are available, that suggest or furnish the theme for my marketing campaign — especially when doing direct-mail. The copywriting I did for Rory Fatt’s boot camp one year, ‘The Magical Business Life Boot Camp For Restaurant Owners’, was because I first found a bunch of magic stuff in the Oriental Trading catalogs: tricks, cards, top hats, etc. I picked the theme because these things were available cheap.

If you don’t get these catalogs, you must:

Hands On Fun – Creative Tools: www.handsonfun.com

Oriental Trading/Business: www.orientaltrading.com

Fun Impressions: www.funimpressions.com

Here are just a few items that beget ideas:

Magnetic Construction Set

“Build a better _____________”

Foam Fall Leaves

“The leaves have started to turn colors – your reminder to __________”


“Once upon a time, mighty dinosaurs ruled the earth. They no longer even exist/ Why? Because they didn’t adapt to change. Don’t risk extinction!”

Jumbo Foam Dice

‘If you want to gamble, go to Vegas.

If you want a sure thing: ________________”

Seasonal Themes….a little more obvious. For example, Chinese New Years, St. Patricks Day

So, for example, instead of the Magic theme, next year Rory might use : Build A Better Restaurant Business. There’s the construction set I just talked about, hard hats, toy hammers and tool kits, sales letters printed on architects’ blueprints, building permits, and on and on and on. Who else could use this? Kitchen remodelers…..fitness center (build a better body)……karate school (build a better kid)….

See, wandering through one of these catalogs is another creativity shortcut.

There’s a business term: “speed to market.” It’s extremely important. The entrepreneurs I work with who make the most money are “speed to market” people. They rely on creativity shortcuts. You should too.

– By Dan S. Kennedy, serial entrepreneur, from-scratch multi-millionaire, speaker, consultant, coach, author of 13 books including the No B.S. series, and editor of The No B.S. Marketing Letter. FOR A SPECIAL FREE GIFT FROM DAN FOR YOU including newsletters, audio CD’s and more: visit: www.FreeDanKennedyNewsletter.com

Leading the Pack Even When You’re Out-Ranked and Out-Gunned

“Leadership depends more upon the man than the rank.” – Harold Geneen

Being the leader For good or bad, I consider myself fortunate to have missed the Vietnam experience. But I’ve talked to enough vets to know that “fragging” was much more common than the public knew; meaning, grunts shooting their leader in the back. This demonstrates that rank doesn’t necessarily guarantee respect. The same thing is true in less deadly situations. Just because you’re the boss no longer means anybody will do as you ask.

Fortunately, this has a very positive flip side. When I first read this, I was also reading Ringer’s stuff, and I realized that you can take control, assume leadership and be the boss in situations where you have no rank. This is a very liberating idea. It frees you from structure, from intimidation and from a whole lot of very limiting past programming. You can become the leader in a defined marketplace in under a year, even if there are companies competing there with 100 years’ tenure. You can lead a meeting, a group’s thinking or the direction of a project even if you are the newest, smallest puppy in the kennel. As a consultant, I often find myself leading in situations and environments where I have no rank.

Where Does The Confidence To Lead Come From?

I think all leadership confidence is based on a disdain for the other contenders and for the troops. This is a controversial idea, very offensive to many, and I understand that. Military and political leaders will vehemently deny it. But the truth is, most leaders gain the confidence it takes to lead by looking around and arriving at the conclusion that everybody else around them is inept, inarticulate, lazy or otherwise woefully unqualified. This is the best reason of all to enter a new business or a new market, by the way: the conviction (not just arrogant opinion) that those already there are idiots.

I’ll never forget how my confidence about being in the speaking business soared after attending my first National Speakers Association event – sure, I saw a number of people there who were better speakers than I was, but I met nobody with their head screwed on straight about the business. I also saw a group of professionals obsessed with the illusion of “rank” that was meaningful to them but meaningless in the marketplace. Whenever you spot such conditions, you can count on having found enormous opportunity.

– By Dan S. Kennedy, serial entrepreneur, from-scratch multi-millionaire, speaker, consultant, coach, author of 13 books including the No B.S. series, and editor of The No B.S. Marketing Letter. FOR A SPECIAL FREE GIFT FROM DAN FOR YOU including newsletters, audio CD’s and more: visit: www.FreeDanKennedyNewsletter.com

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