Friday, January 30, 2009

Live Interview on NECN

I am very excited because I just did a live interview on New England Cable News (NECN) on the topic of whether or not it's time for an owner to exit their business (and protect their wealth). NECN is the largest regional cable news network in the country, serving over three million homes throughout New England.

Click HERE to check it out!

What a thrill . . . another great opportunity to raise the awareness with business owners about the importance of this type of planning.

This interview comes on the heels of this week's success of Exiting Your Business, Protecting Your Wealth, which took its own quantum leap in the Amazon rankings to #1 in the Consolidation and Merger section of business books - ahead of even Warren Buffet's book.

2009 is showing promise for this business amidst obvious economic challenges. Many advisors are taking the leap with me in addressing this exit planning marketplace and redefining their relationship with their business owner clients.

As these advisors do so I continue to emphasize the role that they play in that owner's life - that of one of value beyond measure as a business owner's pain of being stuck in their business is replaced with the opportunity for a liberation from that place and into their next phase of life.

Specializing in Business Exit Strategies, John M. Leonetti, Esq., M.S. Finance, CM&AA founded Pinnacle Equity Solutions to provide exit strategy planning services to business owners as well as education and training programs for professional advisors. To learn more about John's Exit Strategy Services and his recently published book, "Exiting Your Business, Protecting Your Wealth", visit

Friday, January 23, 2009

Goal Setting For 2009

This Goal Setting lesson references a book that I have mentioned, Think & Grow Rich. The author, Napoleon Hill provides 6 specific steps that any person can follow to begin to achieve their goals.

Hill begins by addressing the topic of what most people set their goals towards - money. He says:

"Every indivdual who reaches the age of understanding the purpose of money, wishes for it. Wishing will not bring riches. But desiring riches with a state of mind that becomes an obsession, then planning definite ways and means to acquire riches, and backing those plans with persistence, which does not recognize failure, will bring riches."

Hill then offers the following 6-step process by which the desire for riches can be transmuted into its financial equivalent:

Step 1.

Fix in your mind the exact amount of money you desire. It is not sufficient merely to say, 'I want plenty of money.' Be definite as to the amount. (There is a psychological reason for definiteness which will be described in a subsequent chapter).

Hint: When you start to set your goals, do you think of the end results or do you dwell on the perceived difficulties in achieving your goals? This is very important. As Think & Grow Rich illustrates, we predominantly achieve in business [and life] that which we (consciously or subconsciously) set our minds to find. If you begin trying to reach your goals with the perceived challenges that you believe exist then you will have a tendency to be focused on those obstacles, not on the results. Focus on the specific result that you want to achieve and set the vision of having that goal - today - in your mind.

Step 2.

Determine exactly what you intend to give in return for the money you desire (There is no such reality as 'something for nothing').

This is where your planning begins to take form. If you are doing this properly, you have chosen a goal beyond your current results - actually, to really do this you want to set your mind on something beyond what you ever have imagined capable of achieving [hint: this will get you thinking differently about your approach]. Since you cannot possibly know how these results will arrive in your life today - if you knew then it would not be a goal - you will need to use your imagination. You need to spend time forming the vision of what you will provide in exchange for what you want. This also requires an understanding of the true value of what you deliver to your clients. From there, your goals serve as a guide - a plan that is constantly altered - as you begin to move towards your objectives with your plans.

Step 3.

Establish a definite date when you intend to possess the money you desire.

The significance of putting a date on reaching your goal is that it assists in establishing your belief that it will occur. For example, I asked one student the question about the amount of money she wanted - the answer was "$10 million." I said, 'OK, that should not be a problem so long as you can define the time period that you believe is necessary to achieve that figure' - the answer was '10 years' It turns out that this advisor only needs to increase her business by 27% per year for the next 10 years to reach this figure. And, in our work together, it is my job to increase this student's belief that it can happen much sooner. When you put a time period on your objective, you move into the 'action' phase of your visualization. You are saying to yourself that your figure [goal] is achievable according to what you currently believe your potential to be.

Step 4.

Create a definite plan for carrying out your desire, and begin at once, whether you are ready or not, to put this plan into action.

The key to this step is to recognize that your goal is achievable but not without taking action. We are defined not by what we think and/or say alone. Rather, we move towards our goals by taking action. It is in taking action that we move through our trial and error phase and adjust our plans. TAKE ACTION TODAY. In the absence of taking affirmative action towards your goals, you subconsciously allow your belief that they will not happen to overshadow your desire to reach those goals. Don't let this happen-Get started today.

Step 5.

Write out a clear, concise statement of the amount of money you intend to acquire, name the time limit for its acquisition, state what you intend to give in return for the money, and describe clearly the plan through which you intend to accumulate it.

This step aggregates all of the other steps so that you have written goals for what you want to achieve. There is a very high correlation between goals that are written down and those that are achieved. Take your first step forward by getting these goals in writing.

Step 6.

Read your written statement aloud, twice daily, once just before retiring at night and once after arising in the morning. AS YOU READ, SEE AND FEEL AND BELIEVE YOURSELF ALREADY IN POSSESSION OF THE MONEY.

Fortunately or unfortunately, we all have a tendency to learn through repetition. In the process of achieving what appears to be an unrealistic goal, we need to retrain our minds to develop the belief that we can achieve this goal. The process of repeating our objectives reinforces that new belief that our goal can be achieved and rivets our attention to the outcome (not the obstacles) that we are looking for. You create the vision and move confidently towards it. By repeating your goals over and over, you maintain focus on what you want and witness as it manifests in your life.

Specializing in Business Exit Strategies, John M. Leonetti, Esq., M.S. Finance, CM&AA founded Pinnacle Equity Solutions to provide exit strategy planning services to business owners as well as education and training programs for professional advisors. To learn more about John's Exit Strategy Services and his recently published book, "Exiting Your Business, Protecting Your Wealth", visit

The Power of a Mastermind Group

Many years ago, the famous Andrew Carnegie saw a need to share the secret of success with the world. Knowing how to recruit people to assist in achieving his dreams, he put the challenge to Napoleon Hill to invest more than 20 years interviewing more than 500 exceedingly wealthy individuals (most of whom started life with nothing) to identify and confirm the secret to success - in this case, the success in attracting money into your life on a consistent basis (although the concept can be used for however you choose to define success and/or happiness).

Hill set to the task and produced "Think and Grow Rich", a now timeless classic.

The main premise of the book is that your mind is the most powerful tool that you have, and will ever have. When used properly, the mind can create any future and reality that one desires. However, for a variety of reasons, most people are unable to see past the limitations that are ingrained in their thinking.

However, once thoughts can be focused on an objective - and not derailed by limitations - the actions that derive from those thoughts will guide one towards the success that they desire.

Sounds simple enough. So, why isn't everyone able to simply 'think' themselves into a fortune. Well, actually, everyone is able to do this, it just requires letting go of the beliefs that prevent pursuing those desires.

Hill says on page 18 that "the object of this book is to help all who seek it to learn the art of changing their minds from FAILURE CONSCIOUNESS to SUCCESS CONSCIOUSNESS."

Does it seem a bit judgmental to indicate that if you don't possess a 'success consciousness' that you possess a 'failure consciousness'?

Perhaps is does. However, a study of individuals who achieve great success and wealth will reveal a deep rooted belief in opportunity and abundance. And it is this 'inner voice' that guides their thoughts and actions. Whereas the opposite is true of most people. For a variety of reasons most people see limitations and a virtual impossibility towards reaching their goals.

The book goes through many of the concepts and offers a specific 'step-by-step' approach towards advancing towards your goals. In fact, Page 28 gives instructions on exactly what to do to develop a 'money-consciousness' that will attract wealth into your life.

Hill discusses, Chapter by Chapter, the topics of:

1. Desire

2. Faith

3. Autosuggestion

4. Specialized Knowledge

(I must plug in here that exit strategy planning is currently regarded as 'specialized knowledge' in a world of advisory services that are becoming increasingly commoditized every day).

5. Imagination

6. Organized Planning

7. Decision

8. Persistence

then Chapter 9, Power of The Master Mind

First Hill describes 'power' as "organized and intelligently directed Knowledge . . . through the coordination of effort of two or more people who work toward a definite end, in a spirit of harmony."

Hill then makes the somewhat dramatic statement (p. 182) that "No individual can have great power without availing himself or herself of the Master Mind Principle." He challenges the reader to "analyze the record of anyone who has accumulated a great fortune . . . and you will find that they have either consciously or unconsciously employed the Master Mind Principle."

He describes thoughts as a 'stream of power' and states that "the positive emotions of thought form the side of the stream which carries one to fortune. The negative emotions form the side which carries one down to poverty."

So, the Master Mind Principle includes a group of people coming together to achieve a stated objective and working in harmony towards achieving that end.

That is what occurred in Orlando this past weekend. I don't think that anyone who participated had fewer than 10 pages of notes of ideas that they would be implementing into their businesses in 2009. Each of those ideas was the collective product of the group thinking delivered from a focus on the needs of each individual Member in achieving their goals.

The key to making this type of group work well is getting the right-minded people together, setting a specific agenda, closing the door (physically) to close out all distractions, and allowing the creative energy to flow towards the objective that was stated.

Master Mind groups that follow Hill's formula are remarkably effective. I cannot wait to launch into this new year and to join my fellow Master Mind Platinum Members in making quantum leaps in our businesses. As for Pinnacle, that leap is already underway . . . more to come on this . . . hint - major media coverage for Pinnacle and the exit planning message, along with bigger thinking and execution in delivering valuable solutions to the marketplace of owners and advisors.

Specializing in Business Exit Strategies, John M. Leonetti, Esq., M.S. Finance, CM&AA founded Pinnacle Equity Solutions to provide exit strategy planning services to business owners as well as education and training programs for professional advisors. To learn more about John's Exit Strategy Services and his recently published book, "Exiting Your Business, Protecting Your Wealth", visit

Hosting A Live Presentation

When I was being trained as an advisor, the first thing that I realized was that I needed prospective new clients to hear 'my story'. I needed to build a system that would keep me in front of new clients, particularly as I began getting busy serving my existing clients.

What I started doing was making presentations to small groups of wealth management prospects (that was the business that I was after at that time). I started doing this often enough that it became a part of my daily routine and a part of my practice. In fact, it got to a point where at the end of a presentation (usually in the evenings back then), I would speak to the manager or the head of catering about doing another event at that very same location in another 6 weeks - and make the decision right then and reserve the space.

This habit served me well. And, the majority of the benefit that I got from having presentations as a part of my business building was not necessarily from the attendees who showed up at the event. Rather, by consistently marketing my advisory services, I found that many prospective clients preferred to meet one-on-one rather than go to a dinner presentation. This constant marketing assisted me in keeping my 'pipeline' of prospects filled and allowed me to consistently set new meetings with new potential clients.

My business never grew as fast as it did when I made this a part of my practice. The types of clients that I dealt with changed over time, as I migrated to more wealthy, and more complex situations - eventually leading to a niche focus on exiting business owners. But that process of making presentations never changed.

So, what I recommend is that you follow the same schedule that I followed when I needed to get new clients. It is a process that has served me well and allowed me to focus my mind on new business - not on the business that I do not have, or the problems with my existing business. The system that I followed was:

Six weeks prior to the event

I would book the meeting room and get a lead list of people to contact to invite to the presentation. I would also set my budget for both my time (personal marketing for the event) as well as the 'hard dollar' costs - the most likely expenses (later on I would allocate these expenses to the business that was generated to be certain that I was making a good investment of time and money).

Five weeks prior to the event

I would send out my mailing and begin my calling effort. When possible, I would recruit assistance to this calling effort to assure that if I was not available to reach out to invitees, then I would have some back up to be sure that the mailings all received a follow up call (remember, many people will receive the mailing and be thinking about attending - it is the personal call that often motivates them to action).

Today, we also set up a webpage for attendees to register for the event. This level of detail allows someone who is interested to read about the event to see what is being offered. It also demonstrates a level of care and professionalism towards this event. Also, this page can easily be altered for the next event, so you can leverage your time.

Four weeks prior to the event

Continue the calling effort and begin to discuss the event with other centers of influence.

Three weeks prior to the event

If necessary, I would send a follow up mailing. Also, I would begin mailing confirmation letters to the attendees who had registered. Within the confirmation letter was some additional information on the services that I provided and a quick statement that 'someone from my office would be confirming their attendance the week of the event'. Again, this builds an immediate sense of trust for your service.

Two weeks prior to the event

Practice, practice, practice the presentation. This is key. You need to be able to present your ideas in a way that is nearly automatic for you. This way, you will not be focused on your material, but rather, on the audience, who you want to be doing business with. The important of this cannot be emphasized enough. The simple rule for setting up your presentation is to

(i) tell them what you are going to tell them

(ii) tell them

(iii) tell them what you told them

Make sure that you make your points in a way that the audience can understand them. Advisors too often want to emphasize the depth to which they understand a topic. Your audience does not need to know how deeply you know your topic, as much as they need to know how effective you can be in solving the problem / issue that they came to your presentation to learn about.

One week prior to the event

Confirm all of the attendees. Send the final headcount to the venue so that they know how much food, coffee, drinks, etc. . . to prepare for the event. Set your personal schedule of events to make sure that you are well-rested, prepared, and not distracted at the event.

When the event occurs, remember that this is a business building event for you as much as it is an educational event for your attendees. You will want to connect with your audience as much as you can and be prepared to handle the business that is generated from your presentation.

Remember that something always comes from these marketing events. It is important to set a schedule, be prepared, and to set your sights as much on new business generation as on making an effective presentation.

Specializing in Business Exit Strategies, John M. Leonetti, Esq., M.S. Finance, CM&AA founded Pinnacle Equity Solutions to provide exit strategy planning services to business owners as well as education and training programs for professional advisors. To learn more about John's Exit Strategy Services and his recently published book, "Exiting Your Business, Protecting Your Wealth", visit