Monday, June 30, 2008

Earl Flormata - When life gives you lemons...

Regardless of how tough my life is - or what trials that are placed in my path there is always a silver lining in every situation. I've gotta admit - it's been a rough year. First my investments go a little sideways in the forex arena (in more than one basket), I got stuck learning from people who were more theory than practical application (which expanded my horizons and contact base, but did nothing to help out my cashflow position), and as of today my house got broken into.

Nothing irreplaceable was completely lost. The person did take my laptop - and with that a few pictures that I'll never be able to find again. The TV and iPods are easily replaced, but the feelings of having my personal space violated, and my belief in humanity is something that will take time again to rebuild.

Funny though, how the emergency repairman for the front door was a meeting that would've never taken place had the break in never occurred. N.P. - the gentleman who helped re-secure our door with a solid looking steel plate and metal reinforcements around the doorknob and the deadbolt was a pleasure to speak with. The world is a strange place, and you'll never know who you'll run into that can lend a helping hand in terms of financial knowledge. He knew a lot about overseas structures, methods to control but not own assets, among many other subjects where he's just started learning about, but has a different point of view and new resources that I have yet to uncover.

Attitude truly is everything.

Jerry was the kind of guy you love to hate. He was always in a good mood and always had something positive to say. When someone ask him how he was doing, he would reply, "If I were any better, I would be twins!"

He was a unique manager because he had several waiters who had followed him around from restaurant to restaurant. The reason the waiters followed Jerry was because of his attitude. He was a natural motivator. If an employee was having a bad day, Jerry was there telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation.

Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I went up to Jerry and asked him, "I don't get it! You can't be a positive person all of the time. How do you do it?"

Jerry replied, "Each morning I wake up and say to myself, Jerry, you have two choices today. You can choose to be in a good mood or you can choose to be in a bad mood.' I choose to be in a good mood. Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or I can choose to learn from it. I choose to learn from it. Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept their complaining or I can point out the positive side of life. I choose the positive side of life."

"Yeah, right, it's not that easy," I protested.

"Yes it is," Jerry said. "Life is all about choices. When you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice. You choose how you react to situations. You choose how people will affect your mood. You choose to be in a good or bad mood. The bottom line : It's your choice how you live life."

I reflected on what Jerry said. Soon thereafter, I left the restaurant industry to start my own business.

We lost touch, but I often thought about him when I made a choice about life instead of reacting to it.

Several years later, I heard that Jerry did something you are never supposed to do in a restaurant business: he left the back door open one morning and was held up at gunpoint by three armed robbers. While trying to open the safe, his hand, shaking from nervousness, slipped off the combination.

The robbers panicked and shot him.

Luckily, Jerry was found relatively quickly and rushed to the local trauma center.

After 18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, Jerry was released from the hospital with fragments of the bullets still in his body.

I saw Jerry about six months after the accident. When I asked him how he was, he replied, "If I were any better, I'd be twins. Wanna see my scars?"

I declined to see his wounds, but did ask him what had gone through his mind as the robbery took place.

"The first thing that went through my mind was that I should have locked the back door," Jerry replied. "Then, as I lay on the floor, I remembered that I had two choices: I could choose to live, or I could choose to die. I chose to live."

"Weren't you scared? Did you lose consciousness?" I asked.

Jerry continued, "The paramedics were great. They kept telling me I was going to be fine. But when they wheeled me into the emergency room and I saw the expressions on the faces of the doctors and nurses, I got really scared. In their eyes, I read, 'He's a dead man.' I knew I needed to take action."

"What did you do?" I asked.

"Well, there was a big, burly nurse shouting questions at me," said Jerry. "She asked if I was allergic to anything. 'Yes,' I replied. The doctors and nurses stopped working as they waited for my reply. I took a deep breath and yelled, 'Bullets!' Over their laughter, I told them, 'I am choosing to live. Operate on me as if I am alive, not dead."

Jerry lived thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because of his amazing attitude. I learned from him that every day we have the choice to live fully.

Attitude, after all, is everything.

Thanks for Reading,
Earl Flormata

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Robert Madzej - Importance of Education

When I was child my parents consistently ingrained in my mind the importance of an education. My parents would say " Rob look, do you see that man brooming the sidewalk", I would say yes, "Do you want to be sweeping sidewalks as a job for the rest of your life?". I would reply no, "then get an education, get good grades and you will get a good job". My parents grew up in the industrial age and to them a good job and good benefits equalled job security, but as for investing for their future, growing their wealth was never a priority let alone something they knew how to do.
My family values education, they feel that without an education there could be no level of success. They are right, but what they didn’t realize as so many other people today don't realize was that success in the long run could only truly be achieved through financial education. No matter what profession you are in, everyone needs to focus on building value through various financial vehicles in order to reach financial independence. However, our education system does not teach students the financial foundation required to be truly financially independent and in general, society has programmed the public not to properly invest for their future.
That is why 90% of the wealth is controlled only by 10% of the people, and 90% of the people struggle to earn 10% of the wealth. With such an extreme rule of thumb, there is no doubt that proper financial education is required, but also mental preparation is needed to break free from conforming to society’s way of thinking.
I graduated with a business degree and I focused on getting a good job, but I was never educated to focus on my own financial position. I learned through financial books such as Rich Dad Poor Dad and through networking with like minded people that I needed to build my foundation of financial knowledge. I also realized in order to be successful I also had to change my thinking pattern, by preparing mentally for success. Through, improving my thinking pattern and increasing my financial education, achieving the goal of being apart of the 10% can be possible. Educating the mind never stops and financial education needs to be a priority for all in order to achieve financial well being.

Thank you

Robert Madzej

Friday, June 6, 2008

Earl Flormata - Event: Vancouver Board of Trade - Investing With Heart

As a member of the Company of Young Professionals, I received a free ticket to a Vancouver Board of Trade event in regards to investing with heart.

It was a high spirited luncheon event where the speakers were full of hope and inspiration to tell their story of the goal to create a place and an atmosphere where families could attend sporting events together.

The Nat Bailey Stadium - home to the Vancouver Canadians has gone through some changes through the years, alongside providing quite the learning curve to their new found owners in the realm of making a business sustainable.

From my notes during the event: (interesting facts)
Vancouver Canadians – founded in 2000
Single “A” professional affiliated baseball team in Canada
60 Major League players began career with Canadians
76 games in a short season

Typical Game attendance 3200 and rising
Stadium holds 5000 fans
Ticket Pricing: $50 for family of four

Goal: Be the premier summer family entertainment experience in Vancouver

So all in all - what did I learn?

1 - With a baby on the way, ticket prices being $50 for a family of four sounds like a GREAT idea when it comes to providing entertainment for my family later on if the kids end up being baseball fans.

2 - Just because the new owners had previous business experience, it didn't assure guaranteed success. In fact, a friend of mine told me that the 3 most dangerous words in the English language pertaining to business are: "I Already Know". It's inspiring to see successful people acknowledge that it's not as easy as it looks and helps me to put things into perspective as I re-grow the Infiniti Point Group.

3 - If you invest, people will come. As for the Nat, the new owners have invested time, money, and effort into growing their new "baby" into a full fledged business. As for me, investing the time and energy back into learning and growing my own business will be something I look forward to. The new mantra rings true to my heart and my hopes - To Educate, To Serve, To Profit Together. When iPoint is back up to its usual standards and growth, I'd like to create a foundation in the future to invest with heart and give back to my community when given the opportunity as well.

I'm looking forward to getting a copy of that picture I took with the team mascot, and I'll be sure to post it here when the time comes.

Thanks for reading,
Earl Flormata

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Earl Flormata - BBB Lunch and Learn - How to Run a Successful Tradeshow Booth

Today I attended a lunch and learn as I was invited by my friend Jimmy Gray, better known as Jimmy the Trade Show Guy in the networking circles of the lower mainland.

Before launching into the content, I wanted to mention that Jimmy is a very passionate fellow about his business and his art of networking. One of the networking royalty as alluded to in Darcy Rezac’s books. He has a very warm and gracious nature and is a person who is always welcoming to talk to. I first met Jimmy at a Vancouver Board of Trade roundtable event, and keep bumping into him everywhere as he is an avid networker.

On to the content – the 3 most important things I’ve learned from Jimmy from his talk were as follows:

1) Tradeshow statistics and purpose
2) Never sell at a tradeshow
3) A rundown of the Pre / During / and Post show activities

Starting with the statistics on the attendees:

80% are decision makers or influencers
54% plan to purchase within the next 12 months
75% are looking for new suppliers
8.5 hours is avg. time spent on a show
87% of have not been called by and exhibiting company salesperson in the past 12 months

Wait... so people spend all of this money on tradeshows, attendees visit their booths, staff, resources and time are spent on getting exposure, and staggering 87% of people who have expressed interest are not getting sales calls from the exhibitors? What’s going on here? Are people just being dropped through the cracks in the systems? Perhaps the system itself is faulty, or maybe there isn’t even a system implemented in the first place.
The entire purpose of a tradeshow is getting market exposure and generating potential leads to book appointments with. All a lead is in the end is potential. If said potential is never released, then it is wasted.

So what can we do to implement a system so that people are never left falling through the cracks? First we need a timeframe of reference to find out when to call clients back. Jimmy has suggested that we call everyone back within 72 hours. A phone call is so much more personal than an email blast. Even just a quick hello, and asking permission to add them to your email list, send a catalogue, or booking an appointment differentiates you from your competitors, and that’s an important distinction to think about.

Speaking of distinctions, this brings me to the second topic of NEVER sell at a tradeshow. Remembering the purpose of the tradeshow is to create market exposure and generate leads. Granted the end result is increased sales, and you might be thinking that a bird in the hand... but while you’re busy selling, hundreds of leads bypass your booth because you’re too busy to engage with anyone else. Book an appointment with your oh-so-close sale and give them the ability to enjoy the rest o the trade show as well instead of spending their entire time at a single booth.

Lastly – Jimmy handed out some GREAT lists of pre/during/post show activities and checklists,

...but if you want those, you’re going to have to chat with him directly as it’s his content.
Drop me a line at the Infiniti Point Office - 604 638 1612 and I'd be happy to introduce you to him.

I’m looking forward to becoming a member of the BBB and attending more of these lunch and learns, and perhaps even one day being the presenter at one of these events.

Thanks for reading,
Earl Flormata

Monday, June 2, 2008

Robert Madzej- Greetings

Greetings to all,

This is my first posting and as such I would like to say hi to all those individuals who seek success in all facets of their life. The sharing of knowledge and experience can only make one stronger in the pursuit of happiness. Happiness can be defined in different ways to many people. To me happiness is a reflection of my mind , body and soul being as one, united in the continuous goal of growth. I look forward to discussing ideas, methodologies, personal view points on various topics. and I am excited to begin this journey with all of you.

Thank you

Robert Madzej

Alfred Allen - I can't wait to play Cashflow 101 again!

Hi everyone!

I played Cashflow 101 for the first time last Thursday, May 29th. I've heard that it was like Monopoly on steroids that adults could use to better understand how to get out of the rat race.

I was a little skeptical because I'm a "grown up". I haven't played board games since I was 12 years old!

Amazingly, I found it entertaining, educational and surprisingly fun. Who knew? I didn't. I'm glad my friend Earl convinced me to go.

I learned quite a few things: some opportunities are good, some not so good. Who knows what the market will do. And you just have to make the best of the situation you're dealt with if you want to win.

We only played it for a couple of hours and our board leader Maxine eased us into game. She helped all of us by explaining what to look for in certain investments and to keep a positive attitude. I didn't understand that last part until I played Cashflow 101 yesterday.

Suffice as to say, Maxine got out of the rat race first. I was close behind and almost landed on my big dream. I almost won, but it was getting late and we had to stop for the night.

I learned two big lessons that night. Finances could be fun and you just have to play the cards you're dealt with sometimes.

One of our players that night, "C", played Cashflow for the first time that night as well. She landed on the charity square. She didn't give to charity. In her following turns, she acquired quite a few "do-dads", had a baby, was down-sized and the few times she got opportunity cards, they weren't very profitable. Her experience with the game wasn't the same as mine.

I was fortunate to land on opportunity a few times. I bought a 3/2 house and made some good money right away. I parlayed this opportunity into several big deals that got me out of the rat race fairly quickly. I really enjoyed this game! This isn't so hard. I could probably apply some of this experience in real life.

Well, I couldn't wait to play this game again. My friend Jason invited me to another game yesterday. I was feeling good. I couldn't wait to be making big deals and learning more about this game. I was going to tear this game apart and win this time!

I'm not sure if I was a little too cocky and fate put me in my place, but the dice were just not going my way. I landed on "do-dads", missed the opportunity squares and had a baby! Well, that was an eye-opener. That's something I just wasn't expecting. ;) I thought I could get back into the game, but I landed on the dreaded "downsizing" square. I lost a little hope.

The game soon ended. I felt a little empty and disappointed that I didn't shine like the first time I played Cashflow. I imagined that this was how "C" might have felt last Thursday. Maybe it was just beginner's luck.

I reflected on the situation and decided that it was still a valuable experience to have. We didn't play very long, maybe only an hour. I concluded that whatever life throws at me, I have to look on the bright side of things and just deal with it.

Well, I promised myself to keep playing this game until I get better. I'm not going to let being a single parent with a newborn, who just got downsized from my job with a bunch of "do-dads" get in the way of my dream! I got plans ...I'm going sailing on my yacht in Australia! ;)

Alfred Allen

"There is only one success - to be able to spend your life in your own way."

Christopher Morley (1890 - 1957)

Earl - From First to Worst

Competition is a necessity in today's business environment. Without the proverbial wolves nipping at your heels "encouraging" you to move faster people tend to rest on their laurels as they admire their accomplishments and sit back to enjoy the fruits of their previous labors. I am no different - for those of you who know - I thought I had it made with a potential million a year on trailer fees from a particular company that I'm still a little too angry to say out loud at at the moment. Imagine my chagrin at being unceremoniously dropped back to the ground once this source disappeared!

They always say that the first million is the hardest - and I somewhat agree and disagree with that comment. On one hand, I agree because it's the hardest only because it requires the most energy to convert potential energy into kinetic.

Taking a stationary object and making it move is much harder than giving something that's already rolling a good push. With the connections I've made in the past, and the business knowledge I've gained on what to do, and more importantly, what NOT to do, I'm a little wiser (at least I'd like to think so) and a little more cautious in my TRY before TRUST phase.

On the other hand, I disagree because once you understand the patterns of cashflow, it's not difficult to setup an automatic million. It doesn't take as much capital as you'd think.

Back to the topic at hand because it's definitely not all about me ;). Canada needs to think about opening their doors to more businesses. Look at the state of the US cell phone market vs. Canada's. Granted I did write about more choices making things more difficult, but too few choices also means that companies have to try a whole lot less to get your business when you just don't have anywhere else to turn to. If your internet provider sucks, how many places and options do you truly have at the end of the day? This article from BC Business delves into how Canada became the worst from their lofty position of first in terms of internet access, speed, service, communications, etc. I'd like to hear your opinions on what you think should be done. How do we go back to our position at the top, or at least give those other guys a damn good run for their money?

Thanks for reading.
-Earl Flormata