Posted on

Marketing mastery: Cutting the ropes that are tying you down

August 14/21: Volume 32, Issue 5

By Jim Augustus Armstrong


(Second of three parts)

Screen Shot 2017-03-06 at 10.45.16 AMPicture a hot air balloon lifting off the ground, but it can’t go higher than 60 feet because of the rope holding it down. The balloon is your business, and the rope is how many hours you can physically work each week. Your business wants to soar, but eventually you reach the end of your rope. It might be 50, 70 or 90 hours, but eventually you’ll run out of the time you can put into your business. Let’s look at five keys to cutting the rope.

Key #1: Goals/objectives. Imagine a ship setting sail from New York; without a goal where is it going to go? In circles, most likely. Which is where a lot of dealers find themselves going. Goals enable you to set a course and move forward toward a specific destination.

Goals must be specific, written and have a deadline to be useful. Saying “I want to make more money,” is not a goal. But writing “I will increase my average monthly revenue from $20,000 to $25,000 by July 1, 2018,” is a goal. Saying “I want to work less” is not a goal. But writing “I will take Fridays and weekends off by November 1, 2017,” is a goal.

It’s important to review your goals regularly. Let’s go back to that ship setting sail from New York. The captain has a goal to reach London. During the voyage, waves and wind will knock the ship off course, so the crew must monitor where they are at and make continuous course corrections. The ship will get to London not in a straight line but in a series of zig-zags. It’s the same with your business. The more frequently you review your goals, the tighter the zigs and zags and you’ll get there more efficiently.

Key #2: Develop core values. These are the timeless values that that are unique to your business and separate you from the competition. Some real-world examples include: customer service, always do the right thing, continually strive for perfection, exhibit creativity, be growth oriented, we have fun in business, etc.

Your core values already exist in your organization, you’ve just lost sight of them in all the chaos. An effective way to uncover them is to do the following four steps, which I learned from the book “Traction” by Gino Wickman.

Step 1: Have your leadership team make a list of the two or three people in your organization who—if you could clone them—would enable you to dominate your market.

Step 2: Make a list of all the positive traits those individuals exhibit in their roles.

Step 3: Your businesses core values are contained within this list. Your leadership team should identify every core value or principle that applies to your company.

Step 4: Whittle the list down to the five to seven that are truly your company’s core values.

Being clear on your core values enables you to attract and keep the right people. It empowers your team to make decisions or handle tricky situations when you’re not there. Once you identify your core values, hire, fire and train based on these values. This will enable you to build a strong company culture that can survive ups and downs in the market and enable you to achieve your ideal business and ideal lifestyle.

In the next installment I’ll cover the remaining three keys to cutting the rope so your business can soar. If you have questions or comments I’d love to hear them. Please e-mail me at


Jim Augustus Armstrong specializes in providing turnkey marketing strategies for flooring dealers. For a complimentary copy of Jim’s book, “How Floor Dealers Can Beat the Boxes and Escape the Cheap-Price Rat-Race of Doom Forever,” visit

Posted on

Marketing Mastery: How to make 2017 a huge success

December 19/26, 2016: Volume 31, Issue 14

By Jim Augustus Armstrong

(Second of two parts)


Screen Shot 2016-08-29 at 3.50.37 PMI teach dealers a three-step system for achieving any goal in their business or personal lives. In Part I of this series I covered the first step, which is to clearly define your “big rocks,” the important goals you have for your business. I also gave readers an assignment to write down two or three big rocks they’d like to accomplish in 2017.

In the second and final part I will cover the next two steps you’ll need to accomplish your rocks.

Step No. 2: Practice time blocking. In my previous column I explained the importance of making time to accomplish your most important goals. A simple yet highly effective method for doing this is called time blocking. I’ve been using this strategy for years, and I’ve taught it to hundreds of dealers. How it works: Time blocking entails making appointments with yourself to accomplish your big rocks. First, decide how many hours per week you want to invest in accomplishing your big goals. For argument’s sake, let’s say it’s four hours. Open your company calendar and block out four hours in your schedule. It could be a single four-hour block, or you could break it up into four hour-long blocks.

Treat these as real, unbreakable appointments in much the same way as you would view a measure appointment for a $10,000 flooring sale—perhaps even more so. For instance, if you were with a prospect, bidding on a $10k wood job, would you accept phone calls, check emails, send texts or play on Facebook? Of course not. So don’t do it during your time blocks. Turn off your phone and emails. Hang a “do not disturb” sign on your door. Even better, do your time blocks offsite at a coffee shop or at home.

Step No. 3: Focus on results-producing tasks. Let’s say you’re currently working Monday through Friday, and that you spend Fridays working the sales floor. Let’s also say that one of your big rocks is, “I will take every Friday off by April 1.” You’ll likely have to put some things in place to enable you be able to take Fridays off, for example:

  • Hire a new salesperson
  • Train the new salesperson
  • Implement an “ups” system
  • Implement marketing to generate more prospects

For argument’s sake, let’s say you’ve time blocked Wednesdays from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. to work on this rock. What are you going to do during this time? Results-producing tasks are assignments that move you directly toward your big rock. In this example, you might dedicate your first time block to the results-producing task of creating a job description along with an ad to recruit a new salesperson. The next several time blocks might be spent developing a sales training initiative or identifying a turnkey sales program and implementing it into your business. (Disclosure: My company, Flooring Success Systems, has developed a turnkey sales system for dealers, so if you need help with this, contact my office for more information.)

Your next several time blocks would be devoted to implementing an ups system. Your final time blocks on this rock would be to implement marketing strategies.

This same process can be used on virtually any goal you set for your business. By following these three steps—defining your big rocks, time blocking and focusing results-producing tasks—you can make 2017 a great year.