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Musings from the coach

Today I’ll show you how to achieve your business goals for 2021 using the 8 step GDS Framework that actually works!

Why do business owners fail to meet their goals?

Most business owners don’t reach their goals because they approach it the same as buying a lottery ticket. They go in and pick some random numbers that sound good and then spend the rest of the afternoon dreaming about what they’re going to do when the money comes pouring in.

The problem is that these business goals have about the same chances of working out as the lottery. Owners get the instant gratification of setting big, hairy, audacious goals and their team feels good saying them, writing them, and sharing them. 

But what happens when the quick shot of dopamine wears off and you smack face-first into reality?

Most people give up on their goals after just 60 days or less because their goals are too lofty, too vague, and don’t have good action steps. 

So how do you achieve your business goals for 2021? Here is my 8 step framework that actually works to identify exactly the action steps you need to take and when.

I call this the GSD (Getting Stuff Done) Framework.

Why Use the GSD (Getting Stuff Done) Framework?

Congratulations, you survived 2020 and you’re still in business. How do you change gears from surviving 2020 to thriving in 2021?

For example, let’s say your goal is to double your sales this year.  Setting this goal looks good on paper and makes you feel even better when you say it out loud, but setting the goal is the easy part. 

Now comes the hard part. First, you need to know how your sales come into your business right now. Next, you have to reverse engineer the process to identify each action step. Then, you need to break each of these action steps down into time segments. Finally, you need to take action!

Here’s a simplified example of what this looks like using the GDS Framework

Goal: Double sales in CY2021

Action Steps

  1. I will prospect one hour per day
  2. I will call current customers once per month and ask for referrals.
  3. I will follow up with current leads once a quarter

You can use this GDS Framework to achieve any goal whether be business, professional, or personal. One personal goal that is very popular every January is improving your health. Most people will say they want to lose weight. They might even get specific and say they want to lose 50lbs in the next year. They still rarely hit the goal because they don’t have specific action steps. 

Here’s another simplified example of how you would apply the GDS Framework to reach this goal.

Goal: Lose 50lbs

Action Steps

  1. I will walk 2 miles every day
  2. I will not eat after dinner
  3. I will drink enough water.
  4. I will not eat more than 1,800 calories a day.

The action steps are the ingredients and the goal is the finished dish. The higher quality and more consistent the ingredients, the better the dish. When you follow all of the action steps you get the beautiful finished dish you see in Home magazine. 

How to use the GDS Framework to achieve your business goals

This is where the rubber meets the road. Here, I’m going to walk you through all of the eight steps of the GDS process in detail. 

It’s important that you follow ALL of these action steps for EACH goal you set. If you do it right it’s a lot of work so you should only set a maximum of three goals at a time. In fact, I recommend setting just one goal if this is your first time using the GSD Framework. It’s better to achieve one goal than miss three goals. 

Here’s the eight-step GDS Framework in action.

#1. Set the Right Goal

This is the easy part. We already talked about this earlier. It feels good to say you’re going to double your sales this year, but it may not be realistic after you through steps 2 and 3. If you discover you need to spend 12 hours every day prospecting for new customers to meet your goal that setting yourself up for failure.

You may have to come back to this step to adjust your goal. It’s ok to adjust your goal sometimes and it’s better to do it early in the process.

#2. Identify the First 3 Action Steps

To prevent analysis pyrolysis, write out just the first three action steps you need to make to meet the goal. 

For example, let’s say Bobby business owner’s goal is to double sales. They know on average they can close 10% of leads and turn them into customers. 

If last year they had 50 customers and need 100 customers to double their sales then they’ll need 1,000 leads to reach their goal. 

The first three steps might look like this 

  1. Identify the top two sources of quality leads last year
  2. Implement a process to double leads from these two sources
  3. Test a third potential source leads

Yes, you will probably have more than three action steps total to complete the entire sales process, but in my experience, if you focus on the first three action steps to build momentum the other steps will take care of themselves.

#3. Break Action Steps into Defined Time Periods

Now that you’ve identified the first three action steps it’s time to break it down into defined time periods. 

Going back to our example, Bobby business owner wants to double their sales this year. They identified in the step above that they need 1,000 leads this year at a 10% close rate to turn 100 of them into customers. 

If we break this down into smaller timed goals they need 336 leads a quarter or 84 leads a month or 21 leads per week. 

They could even break this goal down further into daily. However, there are diminishing returns on breaking goals down into defined time periods based on the overall total. For example, if you’re goal was 10 sales for the year it wouldn’t make sense to break it down into a weekly goal. 

You need to do this for EACH action step. For example:

  • Action Step #1: Cold call leads that fit XYZ criteria
    • Yearly: 500
    • Quarterly: 125
    • Monthly: 42
    • Weekly: 11
    • Daily: 2.2
  • Action Step #2: Create good content to engage potential customers
    • Yearly: 60
    • Quarterly: 15
    • Monthly: 5
    • Weekly: 1.3
  • Action Step #3: Host customer engagement events
    • Yearly: 10
    • Quarterly: 3.3
    • Monthly: 0.8

This is the point where you need to evaluate if your goal is still realistic. If you only made 5 cold calls last year, you’re setting yourself up for failure if you set your goal at 500 cold calls this year unless you have a rock-solid tested new process in place. 

If your goal isn’t realistic, change it now! It’s ok to adjust your goal sometimes and it’s better to do it early in the process.


This is what separates successful business owners from the lotto. Once they’ve done all of the work of setting the goals and reverse-engineering the process they have to take action!

This means showing up consistently and doing the work. Consistent action equals consistent results.

#5. Review the Results

Don’t wait until the end of the year to review your result! Do this at the earliest possible point whether those are daily, weekly, or monthly intervals. 

After a few intervals, you’ll have enough data to know if you’re in the ballpark of hitting your goal.

Business owners and entrepreneurs are optimists. 90% of the time you won’t be on track to hit your goal in the first few days, weeks, or months because you were overly optimistic about the results. That’s ok because of what we do in step 6 of the GDS Framework.

#6. Find Areas for Improvement

This is where the real money is made. 

We now have data so we can find areas to improve the process and get back on track to hit our goal. 

Bobby business owner from earlier spent an hour a day on cold calls but only made 5 calls per week for the first few weeks instead of the 11 they needed in the action step. If they continue at the same rate for the rest of the year they won’t reach their goal. 

However, they now have more data. They know it will take twice as long each week to reach the action step of 11 calls per week. 

Here’s where it gets fun. Brainstorm 5 ideas on how you can improve your process to get closer to your goal.

#7. Identify New Actions

New data requires new actions. 

Bobby business owner has some important decisions to make. They need to identify new actions to achieve their goal. Bobby should pick the idea from step 6 that they think is most likely to work and then brainstorm 3 to 5 potential new actions.

These potential actions might look like

  1. Set aside double the time for cold calls each day (2 hours instead of 1)
  2. Assign someone else the additional hour of cold calls each day
  3. Create useful content to warm-up leads
  4. Pre-qualify leads for better
  5. Narrow down lead criteria to increase the conversion rate

After these are listed out, Bobby business owner should test the one potential action they think is most likely to work the best. If the first potential action doesn’t work, they have four more they can test.


This step is so important that I’ve listed it twice in capital letters with three exclamation points. The rest of the GSD Framework is a waste of time if you don’t take action. Enough said.

Final Thoughts

The hard truth is that most business owners give up on their annual goals in the first two months because they don’t use a process like my GSD Framework. I don’t want you to be one of those statistics this year. 

Business owners who set clear action steps instead of vague goals are the ones that are going to win this year. Here I showed you why GDS Framework actually works to help you achieve your goals by breaking the goal down into action steps. Also, I showed you how to apply all 8 steps of the framework to identify the best action steps. Finally, I shared the most important part of this whole process, taking action!

My mission is to help business owners who have a burning desire to take action and aren’t afraid of the truth. I provide the best business advice conflict-free to help you eliminate a problem, double your income, brainstorm an idea, and solve any of the hundreds of issues that come up when you’re a business owner.

I wish you more money and time so you can enjoy the freedom you deserve. Cheers to your success in 2021!

Are you ready to take some serious action? You can contact me here. 

What is the best business advice you would give any small business owner? This is a question I get asked a lot.  

As U.S. Navy Admiral Hyman G. Rickover once said, “you must learn from the mistakes of others—you will never live long enough to make them all yourself.“

Today, I’m going to show you the one thing you need to know about the advice you receive when it comes to your business. This is a lesson that I had to learn the hard way from years of experience as a small business owner. 

There is one thing that separates many uber-successful entrepreneurs from the rest.

I’ll share with you how I learned this lesson the hard way, the problem with most business advice, and how successful business owners get the best business advice.

How I learned the best business advice the hard way

What makes me one of the best business coaches in the industry? I learned the best business advice the hard way!

I didn’t just graduate from the university of hard knocks, I earned a Master’s Degree. I worked in my family business, I started businesses, I coached hundreds of other business owners, I started a franchise, I sold franchises, I grew businesses, I won prestigious business awards. I’ve been on TV. I’ve lost friendships over business deals. I made nice money. I went bankrupt and lost every single penny. I started from scratch.

Right now, I’m in better financial and physical shape than ever before. I eat, sleep, and drink business. I coach from the experience, I played in the game, I don’t coach from theory. I have street smart insights that are second to none. 

I can’t explain to you how pissed off I get when I see the stupid mistakes that cost people their life savings, stresses their family out, and mangles their health. I’ve been there, I’ve done that. Many times, I don’t even really know these folks who make these mistakes. All I know is that they are entrepreneurs. And that’s enough for me to love them, hurt for them, and get frustrated for them.

The problem with most business advice

The problem with most business advice isn’t that people are trying to cheat you, although a few might be. The problem is most small business owners look for advice from people who are filled with both open and unconscious conflicts of interest. 

These conflicts destroy people’s wealth every day. 

Let me give you the most important examples:

  1. Business Brokers: similar to a real estate agent when you buy a house, the broker only gets paid if they get you to buy the business. Do think that’s a big conflict? It’s not the broker’s problem if the business goes bust in a month or a year. It’s yours.
  1. Franchises: A franchise can be a great investment. Ideally, you’re buying a sustainable business model that will generate profit for years to come. However, the franchisor enjoys much of the benefit while limiting their risk. If your franchise succeeds they might earn additional money from the supplies, equipment, or even the property you buy or lease. In addition to the royalty fee based on a percentage of your sales. On the other hand, if the franchise fails your on the hook for all of the expenses. The franchisor is going to tell you it’s a great opportunity. Go talk to the other franchise owners who have been in business for a few years and you might get a much different story!
  1. Your Employees: When you talk to your employees their first thought is what’s in it for me? How will this affect my workload, my life, and my pay? And rightly so because they are employees, they are not the owner. 
  1. Your Attorney: Most attorneys make their money by the billable hour. You go to your attorney to discuss a lawsuit, contracts, leases, etc. Do you think billable hour thoughts might sway their advice? For example, you might have every legal right to bring a lawsuit against a competitor, but if you have little chance of recouping the time, stress, and money from the lawsuit is it worth it? There is a difference between being right and choosing the right course of action for your business.
  1. Financial Advisors/ Marketing Consultants/ Vendors: You hire financial advisors, marketing consultants, and many other vendors because you like them and they wine and dine you. That’s what the Bellagio does, come on that’s loaded with conflicts!
  1. Friends and family: Many small business owners think that friends and family members are the best people to ask for advice because there’s less of a conflict of interest. However, these conflicts are there. They are just on a more unconscious level. They might agree with you just because they love you or worse because they are jealous of you. Ever heard of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out)? It’s real and loaded with conflict! Additionally, in most cases, your friends and family don’t have the experience of owning a business or in your industry to give you good advice.
  1. SCORE /SBA/ Etc: There is no shortage of free business advice. The SBA (Small Business Administration), SCORE, universities, and a number of other non-profits will give you free advice. The problem is that the vast majority of these people have never owned a business. Many of them know what should work in theory, but no idea how to run a successful business in the real world. 

How Successful Business Owners get the Best Business Advice

What do Apple, Google, Amazon, Twitter, and eBay all have in common? Bill Campbell.

Most people have never heard of Bill Campbell, but he was a business advisor for some of the most successful tech companies in the world and coached them from scrappy startups to the billion-dollar companies that impact our lives every day. 

Before getting into business, Bill was the head football coach for Columbia University. He started his business career in 1980 and quickly rose through the ranks at the advertising agency J. Walter Thompson and then Kodak before becoming a business advisor in the early 1980s. 

In the early 1990s became CEO of GO Corporation, a startup pioneering a tablet computer operating system. It was successfully sold to AT&T in 1993. It appeared in public to be a big win. However, in reality, investors lost most of their money and management along with early employees received very little for their 100 hour work weeks for three years. 

Bill learned a great deal from this tough experience that he took his next job as CEO of Intuit from 1994 to 1998. After stepping down as CEO he spent the rest of his career as a business advisor. Sadly, he passed away in 2016.

Why did business titans such as Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos, Jack Dorsey, Larry Page, Sherly Sandberg, and many others seek his advice? Because he gave them conflict-free advice that they couldn’t get anywhere else. 

Many times this advice was painful to hear, but it was the truth. According to an article written by Fast Company in 2019, here were Bill Campbell’s top 10 sayings:

  1. “That’s the sound of your head coming out of your a**.”
  2. “Don’t f**k it up.”
  3. “You’re so f**ked up you make me look good.”
  4. “You’d f**k up a free lunch.”
  5. “You’ve got hands like feet.”
  6. “You couldn’t run a five-flat forty-yard dash off a cliff.”
  7. “You’re a numbnuts.”
  8. “He’s one of the great horse’s a**es of our time.”
  9. “You’re as dumb as a post.”
  10. “You should have that shirt cleaned and burned.”

To be clear, when he said these things he didn’t like these people, he LOVED them to include Steve Jobs, Larry Page, Sherly Sandberg, and many others. Bill also believed strongly in the mission of each of these companies and wanted them to achieve their goals. 

It probably doesn’t come as a surprise to you that Fortune 50 CEOs are incredibly self-confident. To be the best in the world at what they do, they have to instinctively develop robust personal filters that ignore kind words, empty platitudes, and polite suggestions. They get plenty of these from employees, vendors, the media, and numerous other sources. 

Here’s what they know that most business owners don’t know about the best business advice.

Successful people always hire independent third-party advisors. They never think of an expert as a cost or an expense. They treat it as an investment because it is an investment. If it’s free, it’s not for them. They don’t want free, they want the best of the best. They know that investing in self-development is always the best investment they can ever make.

What Now?

Now that I brought this big differentiator to your attention, it’s pretty obvious, right? But it’s not simple. Changing to a growth mindset is never easy.

80% of the folks I show this to will never use this strategy for three big reasons.

  1. It’s not free. They are not willing to invest in themselves.
  2.  Most people have to get approval from another person to invest in themselves in their own business. It’s demented.
  3. Most business owners can’t handle the truth. They rather surround themselves with cheerleaders and yes men.

My mission is to help business owners who have a burning desire to kick some ass and aren’t afraid of the truth. I provide the best business advice conflict-free to help you eliminate a problem, double your income, brainstorm an idea, or any of the hundreds of issues that come up when you’re a business owner.

I wish you more money and time so you can enjoy the freedom you deserve. Cheers to your success! Are you ready to kick some ass? You can contact me here

How to reduce marketing costs

How to reduce marketing costs without sacrificing revenue is one of the big challenges businesses face. Every business needs a repeatable process to bring in sales. Marketing is essential to find new customers and more importantly stay engaged with your existing customers. However, most small business owners spend too much money on marketing with little to show for it. 

Based on my years of experience, I’m going to show you how to reduce marketing costs in three simple steps without losing sales. 

Step #1. Upsell 

Acquiring new customers is expensive and even existing customers require an investment to stay engaged. The best way to reduce marketing costs is to add the most value for every customer with an upsell process.

When a customer buys your product or service, have something to upsell them. This can be as simple as offering more of your product at a discounted rate. A great example of this is when you buy printed flyers online. Many online printers will offer to send you 500 instead of 250 flyers for only 50% more. This upsell is a win-win because it’s more cost-effective for the printer to print larger jobs and the customer gets a great discount. 

If you offer numerous products or services cross-selling can be effective too! Cross-selling is when you offer another one of your products at a discount based on what they are already purchasing. Going back to the printed flyer example, if a customer is buying flyers there’s a good chance they’ll also be interested in printed postcards. A discount as small as 10% may be enough to tip them towards this extra purchase. 

Won’t upselling or cross-selling annoy my customers? No, not if it’s done right. You want to offer upsells and cross-sells that add value for your customers and create a win-win situation for both you and the customers. 

The upsell process helps reduce marketing costs by increasing your AOV (Average Order Value) which means you need to bring in fewer customers to achieve the same amount of revenue. Here’s a great resource to help you calculate your AOV

Step #2. Downsell

In step one, I showed you how to upsell and cross-sell when your customers do buy. What about when a customer doesn’t buy?

This is where down-selling comes in. This is especially important for new customers. Many times the reason they don’t purchase is because they don’t know or trust your brand. 

What’s the best way to overcome this obstacle? Downsell them an item that reduces their “risk.” A great example of this are products offered in sample sizes. They are significantly lower-priced than the regular size and offer an opportunity for customers to try the product. 

As an additional benefit, once a customer has spent money on your product or service they are much more likely to purchase from you again in the future. This holds true even if their initial purchase is only a few dollars. 

A good down-selling process allows you to move more leads to paying customers. These paying customers are much more likely to purchase from you in the future. The net result is that you are able to reduce your marketing costs because you have a bigger existing customer base.

Step #3. Focus more on existing customers

This is where the real money is made in most businesses. Customers who have bought an item from you in the past are ten times more likely to purchase from you again. When you’re looking at how to reduce marketing costs, this is the best return on investment. 

There are two main ways to drive more revenue with your existing customers. The first is to sell more items to past customers. The upsell and cross-sell processes outlined in step one show you how to do this. The second way is to sell customers items more frequently. This is much easier to do if you offer a consumable item like food or a variety of items that complement each other.

Of course, this process works best if you provide quality products, good customer service, and stay engaged with your existing customers. 

Final Thoughts

Marketing for your business doesn’t need to be complicated or expensive. If you’re wondering how to reduce marketing costs, the three steps above will have you well on your way increasing your profits without overspending on marketing. 

Looking for an expert to help you implement these three steps and more? I’m here to help you. You can contact me here. 

I’ve seen so many business owners lose their s**t when they get a customer complaint. Here is my favorite mnemonic on how to deal with constructive criticism/suggestions from customers. A customer complaint is one of the best opportunities to learn. And to make that customer a raving fan of your business. #businesscoach #customercomplaints#customerservice#smallbusiness

Long Term Value is one of the most overlooked key performance indicators when it comes to marketing.
If you’re in business for the long-haul you have to pay big attention to the LTV of a new client vs. your acquisition costs.

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