SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 08: Businessman and TV personality Mark Cuban speaks onstage at TechCrunch Disrupt at Pier 48 on September 8, 2014 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Steve Jennings/Getty Images for TechCrunch) *** Local Caption *** Mark Cuban

3 Questions

Entrepreneurs often ask me three questions. Ill answer the most common by saying no, I can’t introduce you to Mark Cuban. The second question is usually about how it feels to be successful. I can answer that too: It feels amazing. The third is the best in my opinion. How  do I sell my products to as many people as fast as possible.

That question could be my professional life’s mission statement. It is with out a doubt the most crucial part of a successful business. I personally don’t do too many things all that well, I don’t ever write about sourcing, prototyping or business law, you see, While I have done that and have been successful with it, I don’t know much about all that. I’d even go as far to say Im not that great of a business man. I am however good a building teams and selling the heck out of good products and services. All I really know is selling. I can do that in my sleep. I want to be clear, I am not  good at everything. I say this because I hated the feeling of thinking everyone successful had to be good at everything. It makes people feel unnecessarily inadequate. I want to empower as many people as I can.

The less obvious reasons are the important ones. Im going to highlight the three top reasons. I could write a book on this subject but I think pointing them out will help entrepreneurs make better decisions about selling their products. Its really quite simple on paper, but the doing is much harder for some obvious reasons.

  1. Awareness. I think we all feel like if people just knew about our products we’d have an over night success. This might seem obvious but most people fail to realize if you want everyone to know about it, you have to tell everyone about it and not only that, convince them to tell others about it. You must create brand ambassadors. I am going to offer a training on this later this summer I think.
  2. Branding. Most people don’t know this, but their branding stinks. People get so obsessed about what their product means to them, usually it goes past cool and into the weird zone. Your brand needs to be relatable by a large group of people, not just people who lost their father to ice fishing or some other obscure technicality that keeps them up at night. My advice is if your branding is if you are too focused you will never meet market share and ultimately fail financially.
  3. Consistency. This is pretty obvious to some but ultimately an epic fail for most people, not just entrepreneurs. Think about it this way, McDonalds didn’t make all that money by selling high quality products. I love McDonalds food and their business. Its great, but the food is average to low quality, even McDonalds wouldn’t claim otherwise. Its a good business that knows consistency. Most entrepreneurs can’t even stay consistent on social media much less sales efforts.

There are no shortcuts to success, but there are faster routes that take less time, no less work, but less time.

Timeisyourgreatestasset

Time is Your Greatest Asset

Time management is always a hot topic for entrepreneurs. Probably because we all know that the difference between someone truly successful and the average person is about how they choose to spend their time. There is such a gap between what we should do and what we know we should do. I think its safe to say that most of us know what is and what isn’t good use of our time. Even if we don’t know what we are doing exactly, for instance when I got in the belt business, I had little experience and consequently didn’t know exactly what should be done, but I knew that watching tv was not the best use of my time.

What I think we can all agree on is that no one has perfect time management. Even super successful people misuse some of their day. So the question I would pose to you dear reader; What can you remove from your life right now so you can progress?

To make this a little more fun I had a very successful freind answer this question with the following three bullet points. It’s funny, but writing these out has really helped him to truly understand his mismanagements. Hopefully this list will inspire you to write yours. His points are in quotations and are very honest and appreciated.

  1. Heavy relationships. “I have several relationships in my life that are one sided. These people talk my ear off and ultimately my listening goes beyond politeness and ultimately ends up detracting from my time management. The solution for me is to have a frank discussion with the person or to avoid them all together.”
  2. Dreaming. “Its easy to get stuck in dream phase instead of get dreams fulfilled phase. Im not sure what the perfect balance is but I’m sure its less dreaming and more doing. I can improve in this area. I am not above improvements, no one is.”
  3. Mental notes. “I have all to often relied on my mind to keep track of my pending to-do’s. I need to use my calendar and make daily lists with to-do’s clearly highlighted. This way I am not going to lose focus of what I want.”

These are simple things, even small one might say, but the small tweaks will reap big rewards. Thinks about navigating a ship, just one degree off and you will miss Hawaii entirely. Success loves sequence and it loves consistency.

FundingYourBusinessIsFun

Funding Your business is Fun

Funding your business is crucial if you are serious about success. We all want success but we have to decide when we want to be successful, now or later? If you answered now, then you understand the first principle of success: Time is the most valuable resource. There is not a dead billionaire who wouldn’t trade half of his money for a little more time. Time to be with their families, their homes, their hobbies and even their businesses.

So if we want to be successful now we need to do things now. Immediacy is crucial. I created The Magic Pitch to help entrepreneurs get the funding they need and quickly. Rather than create a 6 week course that takes half of your quarter to finish, I have come up with 9 easy steps that if followed will help you create the best pitch possible. The Magic Pitch worksheet is only one page long. In the timeless words of Leonardo, (Da Vinci, not Dicaprio) Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

A pitch to raise money needs to be a conversation starter, not a conversation killer. Be sure that you are not only memorable, but engaging. There are no second chances on first impressions. I can tell you from personal experience, that nailing a pitch is one of the most satisfying life experiences of all time. My pitch changed my life. When done right, funding a business can be fun!

Robert Brunner Stwert Emery Do You Matter
Summer Reading Challenge Book 1: Do you Matter? by Robert Brunner and Stewart Emery

Interested in a good book? Check out Nate’s Summer Reading Challenge here for the complete list!

Book #1:

Do you matter? How great design will make people love your company by Robert Brunner and Stewart Emery

About this book:

More and more companies are coming to understand the competitive advantage offered by outstanding design. With this, you can create products, services, and experiences that truly matter to your customers’ lives and thereby drive powerful, sustainable improvements in business performance. But delivering great designs is not easy. Many companies accomplish it once, or twice; few do it consistently. The secret: building a truly design-driven business, in which design is central to everything you do. Do You Matter? shows how to do precisely that. Legendary industrial designer Robert Brunner (who laid the groundwork for Apple’s brilliant design language) and Stewart Emery (Success Built to Last) begin by making an incontrovertible case for the power of design in making emotional connections, deepening relationships, and strengthening brands. You’ll learn what it really means to be “design-driven” and how that translates into action at Nike, Apple, BMW and IKEA. You’ll learn design-driven techniques for managing your entire experience chain; define effective design strategies and languages; and learn how to manage design from the top, encouraging “risky” design innovations that lead to entirely new markets. The authors show how (and how not) to use research; how to extend design values into marketing, manufacturing, and beyond; and how to keep building on your progress, truly “baking” design into all your processes and culture.

About the Author:

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Robert Brunner founded Ammunition LLC to create and communicate great ideas through products, brands, and their surrounding experiences. Formerly a Pentagram Partner, he served as Director of Industrial Design for Apple, and established its pioneering internal corporate design organization, Apple IDg.

Co-Author, Stewart Emery has coached more than 12,000 people over the past 30 years. As leader of Belvedere Consultants, he has served clients ranging from Cadence Design Systems to KQED, and asked the questions that led MasterCard to its “Priceless” campaign. He is coauthor of Success Built to Last.

More at: http://doyoumatter.com/authors.php

 

Buy it on Amazon:

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GET SOCIAL:

I’d love to hear your comments on what you think of these books on YouTube! Also, if you own any of these books, or you’re reading along with the #NateState team for this challenge, be sure to upload a photo of you and the book to Instagram and tag #NateState and #NatesBookClub so we can see! Maybe we’ll send you something cool….

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Summer Reading Challenge 2015

One of the questions I get asked ALL the time is, “Nate, what books can you recommend to help me?” I was sitting my the pool reading a book and I realized how relaxing that is. Summer is a great time to read books! In fact, summer is the perfect time for me to share my reading list with all of you! There are 13 weeks of summer, so why not read one book every week? That’s THIRTEEN new books for you to read. Imagine how much you will learn by the end of this summer reading challenge?

I’ve compiled the list of my favorites that I think will help you better yourself in one way or another. You’ll notice that unlike many business or sales rockstars, my list is very versatile. It’s definitely not your grandma’s summer reading list! I strongly believe that you don’t need to read only sales books to become a better salesman. There are many things to be learned from other areas of life as well that not only make you a better person, but teach you how to better interact with others. I always say that in business, if you focus on helping other people, success will find you. Maybe a little bit of luck, too.

I strongly encourage you to pick up a copy of each of these books. You can get the official list here on my Pinterest account. Each link goes to Amazon so you can purchase the book. (No, I don’t make any money when you click on the links. But it does help you find them so you can get started right away.)

I’ve already read and loved all of these books. I will be re-reading them along with you and posting a new video each week to discuss the takeaways from each book and how they apply to life and business. And for those who participate the entire summer, there just might be an AMAZING prize for one lucky reader! But we’ll talk more about that later. Let’s start with the book list.

Be sure to leave a comment on the videos on YouTube for each book on this channel here. Let me know what you think. Does my reading taste suck or did you learn something awesome? Be honest. Read. Learn. Share.

Welcome to the Nate State of Mind.

#NatesBookClub Summer Reading Challenge 2015:

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1. Do You Matter? How great design will make people love your company by Robert Brunner

2. Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

3. The Happiness Project Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun by Gretchen Rubin

4. The Art of War by Sun Tsu

5. On Combat by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman

6. Scaling down by Judy Culbertson and Marj Decker

7. Display of Power by Daymond John

8. Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed by Jared Diamond

9. The Republic by Plato

10. A World Gone Social by Ted Coine` and Mark Babbitt

11. Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai by Yamamoto Tsunetomo

12. Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

13. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

The End!

GET SOCIAL:

I’d love to hear your comments on what you think of these books on YouTube! Also, if you own any of these books, or you’re reading along with the #NateState team for this challenge, be sure to upload a photo of you and the book to Instagram and tag #NateState and #NatesBookClub so we can see! Maybe we’ll send you something cool….

 

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Getting Social With Mobile: Best Apps

Social media is a great way to build engaging relationships between businesses, brands, and consumers. When it comes to social media, there is quite the variety of options, each offering a unique platform for a certain audience. Social media savvy people use all networks for the best chance on maximizing exposure and reach. Social media posts should be exactly that….social. Whether you’re sharing promotions, photos, videos, or articles, be sure that the message fits the platform well.

Social media doesn’t have to be limited to your computer. Most brands are now taking their social media on the go–capturing moments live at events and around their local area. Here are some great social media apps you should have on your phone so you never miss a moment to post:

 

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The Facebook app is pretty useful. They also have an app to manage Facebook pages for both iPhone and Android. You can also get an app specifically for managing Facebook groups.

Mobile access to Facebook allows quick response to customer and fan interactions.

 

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Skype is a great app to have “Face to face” conversations. If you need a last minute solution for a conference, virtual meeting, or even a way to interview a candidate outside your normal area, Skype is a great solution. People are even offering legal consults via Skype. Traveling for business? Use Skype to stay connected to everyone back home.  Technology has an amazing way of expanding your options. Instead of being limited to a geographical area, you’re now connected to the entire world at the click of a mouse. Skype is available for several types of phones in addition to iPhone and Android.

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Twitter is great way to connect brands to consumers using hashtags that are easily searchable. Many brands and companies are also utilizing Twitter as a real-time customer service opportunity to help serve their customers as well as solve problems without the inconvenience of long hold times on the phone. The Twitter app is available for both iPhone and Android users.

Beyond the Tank Mission Belt Shark TankIf a picture is worth 1,000 words, Instagram is a fantastic way to share a message. Whether you’re a creative professional or are still learning photography, all you really need to get started is the app and a camera phone. You can download Instagram for iPhone or for Android. It’s easy to use. Like Twitter, Instagram also uses #hashtags to group like items together. No need to be a professional photographer, just add a filter to your image, write a quick caption, choose a few hashtags, and post!

 

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Periscope is a newer app that can do some pretty cool things. It basically allows you to see the world from someone else’s eyes via live broadcast that is also interactive allowing viewers to comment in real time during the experience. You can archive your videos if you choose so anyone who missed the live broadcast can check it out later. Periscope is currently available for download for iPhone users and Android users.

 

You’ll find that whatever you like, there’s a social media network for you. Here’s a bit of humor to illustrate the differences of each network:

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Social Media Videos:

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How to Set Goals for Your Professional Life

Setting business goals can sometimes feel overwhelming. The majority of us realize that we want to make more money, achieve more sales, acquire more customers or even better customers. Finding a healthy balance for your goals can be difficult. We don’t want to be too aggressive and we certainly don’t want to set goals that are too easily achieved either. However, it’s imperative to create goals that will help you build your business and you reach the ultimate, larger goal.

Planning and setting goals are the foundation for life and business. Picture a roadmap. If we all want to get in the car and drive from where I live in Utah to San Diego, there would only be a few paths that would get us there. Ultimately, one path would be chosen as the quickest, safest and best route.

If we loaded up our car and started driving around in circles without identifying where we wanted to go during our road trip, we’d end up driving around forever. We probably would not end up anywhere either. Eventually, maybe if we were lucky while we were continually driving we could bump into the ocean. But a real plan with real information would allow us to get there much sooner. Not only does a road map offer a destination, but it also allows you to plan your route to that destination and follow your progress along the way. Should a detour come up unexpectedly, the map can help guide you back to your goal as quickly as possible.

When I set a business goal for myself I try to make it something that’s both wonderful and doable. I have daily goals, weekly goals, monthly goals, yearly goals and of course, my end goal. I want to share with you my secret on how to set goals for your professional life so you can experience the same success that I do.

Here are my three guidelines to setting awesome but attainable business goals:

1. Be realistic. Set a goal that is beyond what you have reached in the past or the same results in less time. Either of these tends to work great for me.

When I sold insurance policies to Mexicans crossing into the U.S. boarder I decided I would run between the cars instead of walking to them to increase my success in a shorter amount of time. It worked.

2. Make it wonderful. Goals should have wonderful results. As important as being realistic is, making sure you are working towards wonderful will make all the difference in your sense of accomplishment once that goal is reached.

Wonderful results are addictive and you’ll find yourself getting a high off of your successes if they are good enough.

3. Set a goal to make goals. The worst thing in the world is failure to make goals. Even if you fall short or make them too easy, having a goal is better than having no goal at all. It may take time to get the habit properly formed, but like exercise and budgeting money, those that master it never look back.

Goal setters hit greatness because they’re always striving to be better. They never settle once a goal is accomplished. They make a new one and continue to grow and improve each area of their life. Goals are key to the success of your personal and professional life.

Make a goal, make it happen. Never look back.

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WIN $500 of Nate’s Money! Contest ends May 27th. Hurry!!

Have you ever wanted to WIN $500 of Nate Holzapfel’s Money?

Are you feeling lucky?

Do you like Jelly Beans?

Can you count?

If you answered “yes” to at least one of these questions, this contest is for you!

You can enter only once on Facebook and only once on Instagram.

To enter, simply guess how many jelly beans are in Nate’s jar. Leave your guess in the comments and tag two friends! It’s super easy and who knows, you just might win! You must like the page in order to qualify.

Contest ends May 27th so hurry and get your guesses in!

Enter to WIN on Facebook here:

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Enter to WIN on Instagram here:

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Good luck and happy counting! #NateState

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Speed bumps vs. Roadblocks

Life is really interesting. Time continues on and it doesn’t stop for anyone. Sometimes along the way, a person will encounter obstacles. Even the most successful people have encountered a few obstacles. In fact, the most successful people have often encountered more obstacles than the average person because they understand that in order to achieve great success, they must make more attempts. Mistakes and obstacles are a normal part of life. They don’t define your life, but rather, provide you with a learning opportunity to advance to the next stage in your life. Each time you overcome an obstacle, you become experienced in that area. You become stronger, smarter, and better equipped to handle that situation if it ever comes up again. This is great. Personal development goes hand in hand with professional development. The more you learn and grow, the easier it will be for you to accomplish great things.

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I like to refer to obstacles as speed bumps. When you’re driving along a road with speed bumps, you slow your car down. You’re careful, but you don’t stop. You don’t back up or turn the car around. You keep driving. It’s important to treat your life the same way. In business or in your personal life, you’re eventually going to run into a few speed bumps. Proceed with caution, and slow down if you must, but don’t stop. You wouldn’t throw away the entire car just because of a bad tire. You’d change the tire.

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A perfect example of a speed bump is a product recall. Recently, Breyers had to issue a nationwide recall for their “no sugar added” Salted Caramel Swirl Ice Cream. The reason? The ice cream may contain almonds or tree nuts that are not listed on the label. So far no allergies have been reported. Did Breyers take a financial hit on this recall? Absolutely. But can you imagine the financial outcome that could have come up had they not issued the recall and several people experienced serious or even fatal effects from the nut ingredients? Smart choice. While it is most certainly a speed bump for Unilever (parent company to Breyers), it won’t bankrupt them. They’ll continue running a very successful business. They will make the necessary adjustments to ensure that this problem is resolved and in the meantime, their proactive initiative on this will show that they care about their customers.

As I’ve mentioned before, time is your most valuable asset. Once it’s gone, you can never get it back. Because your time is valuable, your ability to deal with the speed bumps is critical to your overall success, both personally and professionally. The quicker you deal with them, the sooner you’ll be back on the road and on your way to achieving bigger and better things.

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My 7th Commandment of Success is Thou Shalt Ruthlessly Eliminate Distractions. Speed bumps, while sometimes unavoidable, are definitely distractions. They’re not roadblocks, but they will slow you down. The key is to slow down and proceed with caution but definitely keep going and continue to your normal pace as soon as you get over that speed bump.  Barbara Corcoran says it perfectly, “The difference between people who are hugely successful and those who aren’t is the time it takes them to get back up after being knocked down.

Nate Holzapfel Mission Belt Shark Tank Distractions

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Creating Value

What exactly is value? Many times, people mistakenly associate “value” with price. Some people assume getting something at a value is less expensive like the fast food “value menu.” Whereas, you also hear people talk about their valuables, referring to their most expensive, or priceless, items. Value is not a number, but a meaning that’s attached to something. It’s also an exchange. Someone gives something and someone receives something.

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You order dinner at a restaurant. The value to the restaurant is they receive a payment from you. For the price of your meal, you get your food and the convenience of having someone else prepare the meal and clean up after you leave. Dining out is an experience. You also consider other things when determining the value: Your time is valuable. If you have to wait for table, which wastes your time, you may grow hungrier as the time passes. You may even choose another restaurant if you feel the experience isn’t “worth” your time. Timeliness is value. You also consider the quality of service. Are you treated as a valued customer or do you have to wait for refills? What about the quality of food? Does it taste good? Is it healthy? Are the ingredients fresh? Are the portions satisfying? How about the atmosphere? Were the lighting, music, décor, and overall ambiance enjoyable?

You can order a steak from 5 different restaurants and the experience you have will be different at each venue.  You can purchase a meal for $60 at several places and your experience will also be very different. That’s because value isn’t just about price. Value is the total package which is relative to each person. Something valuable to you may not be valuable to your neighbor. A set of golf clubs may not be valuable to a young girl who wants a dollhouse, but could be valuable to your colleague. French lessons may be more valuable to Sarah from California, but less valuable to Pierre from Paris. A college student may find more value in a Business Law class taught by an actual attorney with real experience than another Business Law class taught by an inexperienced professor who simply reads PowerPoint slides but doesn’t engage, as he isn’t adding any value to the student’s education.

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Another great example of value is with coffee. McDonalds sells lots of coffee every day for $1. A cup of coffee at Starbucks will cost 4-5 times more than a cup of coffee at McDonalds. But they stay very busy and, like McDonalds, they have franchise locations all over the world. The customer receives a cup of coffee either way, but the value is different. McDonalds customers receive the value of a cheaper price. Starbucks customers receive the value of upgrade options to customize their drinks, a more comfortable sitting area to hold a meeting, free wifi, and the lifestyle that comes along with being a Starbucks customer. They’re willing to pay more because they perceive the value to be higher.

When it comes to creating value for your customers, be sure they will perceive value in your products or services. Offer them quality products or services, excellent customer support, and consider ways to add value that will set you apart from your competitors. Adding value isn’t about the price, it’s the total package. Instead of adjusting your prices to win customers, consider how you can add services or products to increase value. When you build a relationship with your customers, you become valuable to them as well. You become part of the package.

One of my 10 Comments of Success is Thou Shalt Create Value.

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