Do you have a burning question for Dr. Misner? He’s looking for educational questions that he can answer on the podcast for his new Ask Ivan series.
Here are two questions to start with.
How can a small rural business meet people with influence that can help with the growth of their company?
Generally speaking, the strategy is not much different for rural businesses than for businesses in metropolitan areas. Back in the early days of BNI, every new group said “But we’re different…” He broke the chapters into three groups (rural, suburban, metropolitan) and had them create lists of the issues they were facing. All three lists were the same. No matter where your chapter is, success lies with the BNI fundamentals.
How did you manage your time before you had people to delegate tasks to? As an entrepreneur with no money for an assistant, how did you do it all and still get sleep?
Earlier in his career, Dr. Misner went long periods with very little sleep. Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do to get to do what you want to do. That may mean working late at night or early in the morning. And you have to develop strong time-management skills. For Dr. Misner, that means tracking everything and putting it on his color-coded calendar. Hire someone as soon as possible. Start out with a part-time assistant.
Send your burning educational questions to [email protected]. Make sure to include the city and country you’re in.
Brought to you by NetworkingNow.com.
Complete Transcript of Episode 427 –
Hello everyone and welcome back to the Official BNI Podcast, brought to you by NetworkingNow.com, which is the leading site on the net for networking downloadables. I am Priscilla Rice, and I am coming to you from Live Oak Recording Studio in Berkeley, California. I am joined on the phone today by the Founder and the Chief Visionary Officer of BNI, Dr. Ivan Misner. Hello, Ivan. How are you and where are you?
Hi Priscilla. I am doing great, and I am in in Austin, TX today. I am actually speaking at a seminar for Alex Mendoci, a good friend of mine. We are going to do something new today. Are you ready?
I am ready. What is it?
We are calling this “Ask Ivan” and the idea is that you, as a BNI member, those of you listening- if you have a burning question that you would like to ask me, I am willing to take a look at all the questions and pick some of the ones that I think have the most relevance for members around the world and try to answer your question. Your question can be BNI specific or it can be about business. You know, having run a global business for over 30 years now, I have a little bit of experience and I am happy to share that. I am looking for educational questions. Specific chapter issues may be for the local Director to handle, but you know, if you have a burning question about how to be successful in business or in a BNI chapter, I want to answer those questions.
I really want to connect with the members and try to handle specific issues that they are bringing up, so we are going to introduce this concept, Ask Ivan, and we do have a few questions that some members have given me and we will start with those. You have those that you are going to read.
But I also have an email address. At the end of the podcast today, I will give the email address. If members have additional questions, we will do some future podcasts just like this. What do you think?
I think that sounds great.
Me too. I like it. Let’s get started.
Okay. I happen to have the questions because Ivan has given them to me. The first question is from Tammy. She said, “How can a small, rural business meet people of influence that can help with the growth of their company?”
So, Priscilla, I love this question and I have some experience on this issue. Here is the short answer to the question. Generally speaking, the strategy is not that much different for rural businesses than it is for metropolitan and I know people that are listening to me are thinking, “Are you completely insane?” They are totally different areas of the country and they just behave differently.
If that were true, BNI would not be able to open in more than 60 countries around the world because culturally, all of these countries are different. If you still don’t believe it, let me tell you this story. Probably somewhere around 23 years ago, a long time ago, I did a BNI conference. Our conferences were a lot smaller then, about 40 or 50 people instead of almost 1000. One of the things that I was getting from people was, ” You know, Ivan, it’s different here. I am in a rural community. The rural community is different from big, metropolitan. It is not New York City.”
Other people were saying, ” I am in a suburban area. It is different. I have different issues than they do in big cities or rural.”
And the people in the big cities said they were different, too. Everyone.
I said okay. I didn’t completely buy into it, but I will play. Let’s play. I broke them all up into three groups. There were probably 60 people. Our conferences were much smaller. I split them up into three groups and they were fairly even, roughly 20 each. I said,” I want you to list out in a flip chart every problem that you have running a BNI chapter. Tell me all of the issues. Then we will see just how it really is different in that rural region and how it is really different in that suburban and metropolitan region.”
They were like, yeah, finally you are addressing this. So they each came up with their list and I brought them all together. What would you guess in terms of their differences, Priscilla?
I am guessing that you didn’t find any differences.
They were spot on the same. It was virtually no difference in issues in a rural, suburban or metropolitan area. They were all the same. The one issue that was different was a meeting venue. That was a bit different in the metropolitan regions, but that was it. The problems and issues were virtually identical from region to region.
My point is here is all the fundamentals. Tammy, it doesn’t matter that you are in a rural area. You could have asked me the same question in a metropolitan area and I would have given you the same answer. The fundamentals are the fundamentals. It doesn’t matter if you are talking about it happening in the US, the UK or India. There are cultural differences but the rural issue is really secondary as sometimes cultural issues are because you are dealing with people within that cultural context, not outside of that culture. Does that make sense, Priscilla?
Yeah. That makes perfect sense.
Let’s tackle the next one.
This question comes from Louise. She said, “How did you manage your time before you had lots of people to delegate tasks to. As an entrepreneur with no money for an assistant, how did you do it all and still get sleep?”
First of all, sleep is overrated. You know, seriously, I went long periods of time when I didn’t get a lot of sleep. Sometimes you have gotta do what you have gotta do to get to do what you want to do. There were times, I know you and I have talked about this in previous podcasts, when I put my wife to bed and I put my kids to bed and I went back to work. I wrote my first several books working from about 11 or 12 at night until the wee hours of the morning once a week in order to produce that book.
Sometimes you have to bite the bullet, but I think in addition, Louise, the answer is that you have to develop strong time management skills and that varies from person to person. It really does. The things that work for me may not work for you but here is what works for me. My calendar controls my professional life. I put everything in my calendar and I block it off with military precision. So starting at 8 or 9 in the morning or 7 in the morning if I have an early morning meeting, I block it off literally in 30 minute increments or 1 hour increments or whatever the length of the meeting is. It is blocked off with military precision. That is the way I really control my schedule.
I also do- I know we talked about this in a podcast before, Priscilla. I color code my calendar. My calendar is always color coded and the things that are working on the business versus the things working in the business. In the business is the day to day management requirements. Working on the business is more strategic. My focus today is working more strategically, working on the business. You can all do that by the way after you have done something for decades. Don’t feel bad if you are not working mostly on the business yet. It takes time.
I color code it. When I am working on the business, and doing the things I am supposed to be doing, it is in green. When I am doing something else, it is in other colors.
And then, lastly, hire someone as soon as possible. If you can do it as a part time person, that is a great way to gradually bring someone in to help you so that you don’t have to have a full time budget in place. You can work with somebody part time.
Does that make sense, Priscilla?
Yeah. I have one more question about that.
Do you actually schedule transitions between your meetings or do you just go one after another after another after another?
That is a great question. If I am traveling, the answer is yes, I do schedule transitions. I actually have a color for travel so that when I have to drive somewhere, I block it off. The reason that I do that is to make sure that I schedule it properly but also I am at the point now where, obviously, I have assistants that can help me and they have access to my calendar, so I don’t want them to block a meeting, maybe even a telephone call when I know I am on the road because I don’t usually like to talk to, especially people who I don’t really have a good relationship with while I am in the car because you can’t focus enough. And they know – the staff knows that if it is someone that I know well enough, I will do a call. So I do actually have time blocked off in between.
Do we have time for a third question?
I think we are probably at our limit today, but let’s do this again next month, an Ask Ivan Misner. Let me give you a little bit more information for those of you listening. If you have a question, a burning question, about business or BNI, you can email me at [email protected] That’s [email protected] I will answer as many of the questions as I can. Please make it an educational question. Specific chapter issues will be forwarded to a local Director. And please, be sure to tell me what city and country you are in so that we can include that in the question.
What do you think, Priscilla. Should we do this more?
I think it is great, Ivan. I am looking forward to it.
Me too. That’s it for today.
Okay. Well, thank you so much. I would just like to remind the listeners that this podcast has been brought to you by NetworkingNow.com and that’s the leading site on the net for networking downloadables. Thank you so much for listening. This is Priscilla Rice and we hope you will join us next week for another exciting episode of the Official BNI Podcast.