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Thursday, October 30, 2003

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What’s Ahead With Technology & Business

By Terry L. Brock

I am excited! 2004 is already looking to be one of the best years for your business. The economy here in the US is coming back stronger all the time. The reports keep coming in of strong economic news.

So, let’s use that information and think about what specific steps you can take to do better for your business now and into the future.

You’ll see my current column for Biz Journals below. For you on my e-mail newsletter, I want to highlight some of the most important concepts. You’ll read what I reported that Craig Barrett of Intel had to say about the business climate in California. Not only do his actions and investments effect thousands of workers but billions of dollars are directed by Intel for future technology growth. He said that 70% of Intel customers now come from countries other than the US.

This is a wake-up call for any red-blooded entrepreneur. Think Globally! Be a citizen of the world and not just any particular country where you’re born.

Craig also said it is imperative to invest in yourself and your business. Now, more than ever, is a time to develop those new skills that can earn you money in 2004. Learn so you can earn. I’m reminded of a time when I had the opportunity to pick up Tony Robbins at the airport and take him to a meeting. I recall him telling me about the importance of successful people “parting with their capital” to grow their minds. If you’re going to cut back to save money, do it with something that doesn’t make you any money. Cut off your cable TV or satellite dish, if you need to save money. Cut out the trips to Dairy Queen. Cut out the smoking. Cut out every economic activity that doesn’t fuel your goals for your business and your life.

I can’t stress this enough to you. NOW is the time. Things are turning around.

It is almost as if it were 1992 and I am there asking you to invest in a company called Dell Computer (their stock shot up about 10,000% from 1992 to 2000). As we head into 2004, get ready for a strong economy. First and foremost, invest in your skill level and educational level. Become the better person you want to be.

Second, invest in those critical tools that will generate more cash for your business. Think portability. Think wireless. Think flexibility. Then think about how you can do this for your customers as well (see article below).

One technology that is already generating money for me that you should consider is immediate streaming audio. Listen to it on my website at (it’s on the top left part of the screen). You’ll hear my audio greeting. Think of how you can use this audio technology in your work to make a once-silent and cold website come alive with the warmth of your voice. It makes technology more human. Check out this link on my website: and click on the “play” button at the top. To find out more about it, click the “Find Out More” button (appropriate, huh?). I think you’ll be impressed.

Always looking forward to hearing from you and your feedback. I’m off to speaking and meetings in England and Europe next week. Drop me an e-mail and I’ll look for it at a nearby Internet café.

Now, here’s the yet-to-be published article and your sneak peek before the rest of the world sees it.

Continued success to you!


Dateline: Orlando, Florida

Every year The Gartner Group, the technology and business think tank, has a Symposium at Disney World to huddle with about 6,000 IT professionals from around the world and discuss what is going on in business and IT. This year much was covered and it turned out to be very useful for small and medium-sized businesses as well. Here are some selected observations I had that can affect you and your business for 2004.

Security And Your Business

It is scary out there. Richard Clarke ought to know. He advised three US Presidents working directly in the White House as CyberCzar to protect the nation’s Net structure from terrorists. He said that the cost to US business in August alone of this year alone nearly equaled the cost of all of 2002. The threat from security breaches is not diminishing but accelerating. The cost to US business from worms, viruses and other damage is estimated to be $119 billion.

Clarke should know. He had access to the inside secrets of the US Government for years. Even though security people will always say more needs to be spent on security, Clarke has a different idea than others. He places responsibility in the hands of private companies to insure their own safety. The government can’t do it for us, he contends. Bottom line for you and your company: It is worse than you think. If you’re on the Internet, you are vulnerable. And on top of that, the responsibility is not for the government to protect you but for you to protect yourself.

Security was also a big topic for Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft. Many users of Microsoft software expressed repeated concerns about always having to apply new patches and updates just for security. This is a real threat and big cost for your small business. If you do nothing, you’re vulnerable to current threats. If you follow their recommendations, you don’t have time for selling and marketing (to generate sales and thus stay in business!). Ballmer said that security is the number one priority for Microsoft now. Go to to see video of the main keynotes.

Upgrade To Office 2003?

The day Ballmer spoke, Microsoft released Office 2003, which was met with reservations, to say the least. Bottom line for most small and medium-sized businesses? If you’re doing fine with earlier versions of MS Office, you can probably sit this upgrade out and save a lot of hassle and money. If you have to upgrade, seriously look at alternatives like WordPerfect Office, Star Office, OpenOffice (free from or 602Software ( All of these programs can fulfill the basic needs that most non-technical users need. Rather than paying $399 per computer for an upgrade, the age of alternatives is here.

California, Business Environment And You

After the much-touted California Gubernatorial Election this year, the amount of government coercion (taxation and regulation) of business is a hot topic. Craig Barrett, CEO of Intel said that his company is not planning to invest any more money in California and that he personally resides in Arizona rather than California. Worker’s Compensation Laws have become so expensive and onerous it is not as viable to hire people in California as other places.

This sends enormous signals for your small business. Think mobility. Think freedom. Think operating from anywhere. The more flexible you are and the less tied-down to any specific location you can be, the more like Teflon you become regarding new regulations and taxes. Plan in 2004 to be even more flexible, nimble and mobile. Not only can you avoid excessive government confiscation but you can also serve customers better in various locations and be less subject to shifts in economic ups and downs for any one location.

Tools For Portability

We all know that portability is a driving force in today’s market. I spoke with David Limp, the new Sr. VP for Palmsource who showed me some of his current favorites. From one gadget-loving guy to another we had a great time looking at new tools for mobile warriors.

David’s three hottest picks today include the Sony UX-50, the Treo 600 and the Garmin iQue 3600. The Sony UX-50 is a PDA that is tiny enough to fit in a coat pocket but has a keyboard (not too shabby for thumb typing) full Palm OS with Wi-Fi and plays video. The Handspring Treo 600 is the current pick for phone/PDA combo units and is nothing short of amazing. I’m lusting for one of these myself. The Garmin iQue 3600 is an ideal unit combining the Palm functionality and superb GPS for locating where you are and receiving verbal directions.

Nokia showcased its 6810 which provides a fold-out full keyboard and phone capability. They claim it can access the Net, and it did. However, the screen size was so small it made it more difficult to read. I use a Nokia phone (very old model that still does a great job) and would like to see this new 6810 give me better and faster Net access. But then, isn’t that always what we want? This unit will be good for e-mail text and text messaging.

Terry’s Recommendations As You Close Out 2003 And Look To 2004

The Gartner Symposium always helps me to find out what 6,000 of my closest friends are doing and thinking about where to spend money now for strong ROI next year. Gartner didn’t disappoint this year. If you think about serious investment you’ll do fine. The economy has already turned around and those that invest, both in themselves individually and their businesses will reap the rewards in 2004. Think portability. Think wireless. Think security.

And above all, think about how to translate these ideas and concepts to help your customers as they face continual challenges and trials. Not only will you end 2003 well, but also you’re more likely to have a great 2004 that way!

Terry Brock is an internationally recognized professional speaker, consultant and author in the fields of business productivity, technology and marketing. He is a syndicated
columnist for Biz Journals across America and can be reached at 407-363-0505 , by e-mail at or through his website at .

Copyright © 2003, Terry Brock, All Rights Reserved Internationally. No portion may be reprinted or used in any way without prior written permission. Permission granted to Biz Journals to use in regular publications.

Friday, October 17, 2003

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Living In The Land Of “Later”

From the notebook of Terry L. Brock

I know, I know. We have to make the sales call. Yeah, we need that marketing plan. And, on yeah, I need to make the call to Client Jones who might be interested in working with us.

We have our “I’ll do it later” items and they never seem to get done. It is more than procrastination. It is laziness. We don’t like to call it that, but always saying “later” stems from laziness. Denis Waitley talks about living on “Someday I’ll.” This is a wonderful place where we say that “Someday I’ll take that trip.” “Someday I’ll get the degree.” But the sad part is that “Someday I’ll” is not a place that really exists. We have to make it concrete to make it happen. “Later” is not a day of the week. Someday is not a day of the week. Only when we make things specific do they get done.

Living in the land of “Later” has its roots in fear; fear of the unknown, fear of what they might think. We often fear that we’ll be rejected.

Oh, you don’t actually say no. You say “later” which is much easier. Yet, we know that “later” is not a day of week. It is like someday.

So, it requires brutal honesty, at least with yourself. What are your priorities and what is most important for you to get done? How can you position your business to address the needs of the customers, not just what you want done.

The most dangerous part is that you’re living in that warm bathtub of water. As I’ve said before, that bathtub is nice once in a while for relaxation. However, if you just stay there you only get wrinkles! You have to force yourself to get up, dry off and head out into the world to get things done.

Another benefit is that once you start doing it, often reality is not as scary as what we imagined it would be like. Once you’re moving you get into the concept that Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi discusses so brilliantly about the magic of flow. Once you get into that flow, you find that things start working right and moving in the right direction, as they should. Once you have momentum moving in your direction you get things done and you feel great.

Alfred Adler, the great Austrian psychiatrist once said, “The chief danger in life is that you may take too many precautions.” We think about something way too much and engage in “paralysis by analysis.” We don’t actually come out and say “No” because even that would be too definitive and make a commitment. Instead of saying no we simply use that terrible word, “later” which means indefinitely and the project, the sales call, the great possibility dies a miserable, slow death.

In business it is vital to manage by the numbers. Numbers are objective. They let us know how we’re really doing, not just how we feel or how we think we’re doing.

I know when I work out on my Schwinn AirDyne exercise cycle that it is sometimes infuriating to have that odometer keeping track of exactly how many miles I’ve cycled and what my level is. There are times when I feel like things are going well and I’m doing just great. However, the numbers are there and tell the truth (as long as my batteries are working fine!).

What numbers are you using to measure your success in business? Think of the critical measures of success that are needed in your business. How many sales calls do you have to make to get a sale? How many mailings do you need to do? How effective is your e-mail marketing? Finally, let’s measure what really matters: sales and profit. The numbers tell the story, even if it is painful.

But we only get those answers when we blast through the barrier of “later” and do things today. Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe said, “Are you in earnest? Seize this very minute -Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Only engage, and then the mind grows heated -Begin it, and then the work will be completed!” Those words, spoken centuries ago, are still valid today. There is a magic that happens when we begin.

Here are some steps you can take to make it happen:

1. List the things you know you should do. This requires brutal honesty. Which sales call out there should you make? How is it best to approach that prospect?

2. Create a burning, white-hot vision of the success you’ll see when it happens. This is needed as the fuel to keep you going when the inevitable obstacles hit.

3. Play with the challenges. Yes, there are going to be challenges. This is Planet Earth. It works that way here. So expect them and figure out how to get around them. Have fun with them. Laugh at them. Make lots of contingency plans. Even if those contingency plans don’t come about, you’ll learn and grow through the process.

4. Take Action! Those two words are the key. You have to take action and do it boldly. Sure you’ll make some mistakes. Welcome them. We all learn that way.

5. Repeat as needed. This is an on-going process. It never stops. That’s the way life is and it keeps us on our toes that way.

You’re busy reading this article now. You’ve got another hundred things to do. Don’t get drowned in the sea of busy-ness and neglect the really important things in life. As the Nike commercial says, “Do it Now!” That’s a great way to stay out of the land of “later” and move to the land of ‘Yes! I did it!”

Terry Brock is an internationally recognized professional speaker, consultant and author in the fields of business productivity, technology and marketing. He is a syndicated
columnist for Biz Journals across America and can be reached at 407-363-0505 , by e-mail at or through his website at .

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

The Importance of Focus for Success

From The Notebook Of Terry L. Brock

Maybe something like this has happened to you.

I was driving yesterday to a meeting over in Tampa from Orlando. No big deal as it is about an hour and half drive. Somewhere in the middle of the journey I noticed that traffic was slowing down.

You know what it’s like. You see the red lights on the cars in front of you. You know it is going to add time to your journey. You can feel the tendency to get frustrated at the delay.

Then as I got close to the reason for the delay it was obvious that it was all the cars slowing down to gaze at a police car that had pulled over two cars, maybe giving out tickets (they do that here in Florida – raising money from those tourists!) or perhaps our fine public servants helping some motorists in distress.

Either way, it was no big deal. No apparent injuries or damage. No serious problems. But it seemed that everyone had to slow down to gawk at the event. I guess they had never seen such a thing before!

The police had pulled the people over on the right side of the road and the two right lanes were much slower than the far left lane. So, I jumped into the left lane (yes, I did use my turn signals this time!) and moved a bit faster.

Then it hit me that this was a metaphor for many experiences in life. You’re traveling down the road running your business, doing your thing and then there is a slowdown. It is because of something external to you (economists would call this “exogenous” factors – I love those big words!). These are the activities that pull you away from what is best for you and slow you down in pursuing your goals.

As I write this, the major media’s current tizzy is about the governor’s race in California, something about a journalist leaking information on a CIA agent, a merger of airlines, the state of the economy and a bunch of other trivial stuff.

Who cares?

Think about all the news stories that made it to “This breaking news just in…” status on TV in the past five years. Do those stories really make an impact on your life today? Even the tragedy of the events of September 11, 2001 (within that five year span) could be understood and processed much faster than spending hours and hours glued to the TV watching. For serious situations like that it is best to learn what is happening quickly and then get on with how you’ll deal with it. Take control of your own life rather than worrying about a situation over which you have no control.

I’m not saying you should become an ostrich and bury yourself from the events of the world any more than you should not slow down in traffic when there is a valid reason. My point is to put it in perspective and focus on what is best for you.

Instead of reading so much current news, how much classical, sound, business-building books have you read lately? How many quality audio messages have you heard vs. just listening to the same old songs on the radio over and over? I find many successful people read at least one book a week and often more. Yes, be aware of what is going on but usually a quick scan of the Wall Street Journal’s front page, or another composite of news can give you what you need to stay up with important events that are happening. Then spend the bulk of your precious time on those things that are going to bring you the greatest long-term benefit.

This also means not spending a lot of quality time with those clients that don’t return calls or are rude. Find other clients and relegate the rude ones to other more automated means of communication (e-mail, letters, and less intense contact). Pour your time and effort into those relationships and activities that generate the most for you. Don’t spend a lot of time with rude people. When you encounter people that are rude, be nice and polite always (you don’t need to lower yourself to that level of rudeness) and deal with them in an “arm’s-length” capacity.

This requires focus. It requires discipline to stay focused in the midst of competing headlines, news bulletins, etc. Sure it is compelling to be riveted to the TV when a major story is breaking. However, you have to think about the relevance of that to your overall life vs. reading a good quality book, spending time with your children or significant other or just being with good friends.

Life is a matter of choices. The ultimate scarce resource is time. Economists tell us that economics is really all about resource allocation. By focusing you can bring about the success you want in your life.

So, the next time you’re driving and there is that inevitable delay think about this approach: 1) Be aware of what is going on and focus on safety first, 2) Get around it and let the police do their job. Yes, they can actually handle the emergency at hand without you gawking at them! 3) Listen to that training or motivational audio instead to strengthen your mind and build your skills.

In the long run, you’ll be better off.

And who knows, if we start a mass movement, traffic might flow even better!

Terry Brock is an internationally recognized professional speaker, consultant and author in the fields of business productivity, technology and marketing. He is a syndicated
columnist for Biz Journals across America and can be reached at 407-363-0505 , by e-mail at or through his website at .

Copyright © 2003, Terry Brock, All Rights Reserved Internationally. No portion may be reprinted or used in any way without prior written permission. Permission granted to Biz Journals to use in regular publications.