Larry Brauner

Who Are We and What Makes Us Tick?

We subject ourselves to intelligence and personality tests so that we can understand ourselves, or so that others can evaluate us and learn who we are and what makes us tick.

I’ve taken my fair share of these exams over the years, and I suspect that you have as well.

While there is some value in IQ tests and personality testing, these tests don’t reveal what really makes us tick or indicate how we tend to deal with our work and all of life’s situations. Something is lacking in these familiar standardized examinations.

The Kolbe Concept®

Robin Kavall, an old friend from my chess tournament days and an accomplished actuary, recently introduced me to the marvelous work of Kathy Kolbe who developed the Kolbe Concept.

According to the Kolbe website:

The Kolbe Concept holds that creative instincts are the source of mental energy that drives people to take specific actions. This mental drive is separate and distinct from passive feeling and thoughts. Creative instincts are manifested in an innate pattern that determines an individual’s unique method of operation, or modus operandi (MO).

When we act in concert with our instincts, we have enormous energy and achieve high levels of performance.

While the cognitive part of our minds controls our thinking and the affective part controls our feeling, according to Kolbe our instincts manifest themselves through the conative part of our minds that controls our doing.

Some aspects of conation are drive, instinct, necessity, mental energy, innate force, and talents. Conative attributes, distinct from intelligence, attitudes, values and emotions, are not generally factored into standardized psychological testing.

The Kolbe A™ Index

Kathy Kolbe identified four universal instincts that shape the way we tackle life’s problems. Although these instincts cannot be directly measured, they can be inferred by examining our behaviors.

The Kolbe A Index characterizes and helps us understand our behaviors that pertain to the four classes of action that correspond to our fundamental instincts:

  1. Fact Finder - how we gather and share information, i.e., simplify, explain or specify
  2. Follow Thru - how we arrange and design, i.e., adapt, maintain or systematize
  3. Quick Start - how we deal with risk and uncertainty, i.e., stabilize, modify or improvise
  4. Implementor - how we handle space and tangible things, i.e., imagine, restore, or build

All the terms used here have specific well-defined and clearly explained meanings within Kathy Kolbe’s system.

The Kolbe A™ Index Illustrated

My own Kolbe A Index is: specify, maintain, improvise and imagine. Here’s the overall summary of my index and what makes me tick:

Your Kolbe A™ Index result shows you are excellent at coming up with unique strategies, prioritizing opportunities, and dealing with the unknowns in complex problems. You are the go-to person when elaborate projects are in trouble.

You may access my Kolbe A Index results to get a clearer picture of what the index is, how it’s reported and what my MO is.

Learn More about the Kolbe A™ Index

In this article, I only scratch the surface of understanding of the Kolbe Index and its enormous value. Extensive information about other Kolbe tests and how all Kolbe testing can help us to maximize our potential and personal fulfillment is available at the Kolbe website.

You comments and feedback are welcome.

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Larry Brauner

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I began to blog. I had lots of great reasons for blogging, so I just got started and hoped for the best.

As Mike Litman says, “You don’t have to get it right. You just have to get it going.”

I did do some keyword research before choosing a main topic and a domain name. I chose as my main keywords online social networking and made them the name of my blog.

In hindsight I see that I could have easily taken on keywords that were more competitive. Fortunately I realized before too long that I could venture off topic and rank well in the search engines on keywords other than my primary ones.

Content Attracts Traffic

Online marketing begins with content and traffic. A site needs to communicate with and pre-sell visitors and then ultimately monetize, i.e. sell them, and content is the catalyst.

One article I wrote about the Spider Web Marketing System has attracted more than 4,000 visits and one on Ad Surf Daily more than 5,000. The content in these two blog posts plus the content in the many comments they received drove them to the top of the search engines.

Overall my blog has received about 12,000 visits from approximately 5,000 keyword combinations making me a big believer in the power of content to draw substantial search engine traffic.

Blogs Are Problematic

Blogs are great for ongoing conversation with readers. However, their reverse chronological orientation makes it easy for visitors to access only the newest content. Older content becomes obscured. Bloggers attempt to compensate with extensive cataloging and liberal use of cross-linking — look at my blog’s sidebars — but this problem is never totally mitigated.

Traditional websites on the other hand are great for organizing and presenting large amounts of information. Their hierarchical orientation aided by site maps and cross-linking make it easy for visitors to access the most important and relevant content.

The Best of Both Worlds

The best way to market is to build a conventional website with a blog embedded in the site to communicate with visitors and customers.

This marketing idea works equally well for small businesses and large ones. I will be taking this direction for myself as I continue to develop my own web presence.

Conceptual and Technical Challenges

Starting a blog is easy in many ways. Blogger, for example, allows a novice to get up and going in a jiffy. Simply create an account, choose a theme and start writing. That’s it.

Building a marketing website is much more involved, both conceptually and technically, creating a major obstacle for the typical entrepreneur.

Faced with this obstacle most small business owners either

  • do nothing
  • opt for a simplistic small business website that resembles a big business card
  • rent of buy an expensive template to build a second-rate small business website that doesn’t get any traffic
  • hire an expensive web developer to build their second-rates mall business website for them

If they’re lucky they find somebody good, but the average web developer doesn’t understand marketing. I’m sure that what I’m saying will ring true for some readers.

My Recent Discovery

What we’re discussing isn’t new to me. I’ve been thinking about regular websites vis-à-vis blogs and conceptual and technical issues surrounding them for a number of months.

This past week I happened to listen to a conference call introducing a service that I knew existed but that had never managed to grab my attention. I listened for nearly 90 minutes as Ken Evoy explained how he arrived at his Internet business solution, Site Build It!, how it worked and why. He dealt with the blog vs. build issue as well. I was impressed by what I heard.

Here’s what I’ve learned so far:

  1. Site Build It! costs $299 per year — everything included. No high price template. No expensive consultant.
  2. SBI! makes online business do-able by hiding all the technical issues and structuring the conceptual ones. The process is simplified to such a degree that success (i.e. profits, not the mere presence of a website) can be achieved — with serious effort — even by a motivated beginner. The 80/20 Rule still applies — of course — but why shouldn’t the lives of the 20% be made easier?
  3. Online profits require more than just having an online business card or a collection of Web pages. The SBI! service appears to include the tools and the proven process required to build a long-term, profitable e-business.
  4. SBI! is more than just a “site builder.” There’s no need to worry about separate hosting, a separate keyword research tool, integrating autoresponders, etc.
  5. There’s also no need to know anything upfront about building a website. The tedious, “under-the-hood” stuff is handled automatically.
  6. The SBI! service helps clients to design a profitable business, before they jump into building their sites. For beginners, the learning curve will be shorter and they bypass show-stopping errors.
  7. The Action Guide presents a step-by-step process in both written and video formats. The most successful site owners are the ones who follow the guide and don’t get sidetracked. They don’t have to guess at what to do next, since the guided approach helps them reach their goals. Continuous mentoring via the Action Guide and online help is always available.
  8. A keyword brainstorming and research tool helps verify that a site concept has acceptable profit potential, saving site owners from making a common fatal error. The SBI! service helps to find topics related to the site owner’s niche that will pull in traffic and generate income.
  9. SBI! provides fully customizable, easy-to-use templates (this page shows a range of styles).
  10. The SBI! service includes domain name analysis, optimization, and registration, as well as fast and reliable website hosting.
  11. Unlimited customer support and forums that are supposedly friendly and helpful are major selling points for me personally.
  12. There’s a no-risk, 30-day money back guarantee.

In Conclusion

I can see the Site Build It! service helping both existing small business owners and would-be entrepreneurs reach their online marketing objectives. My only caveat is that sufficient internal motivation is a necessary prerequisite for success.

If you find that building your website is not “your cup of tea”, please get help or exercise the 30-day refund option. Don’t waste your money.

Now it’s your turn. Feel free to share your small business website experiences.

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Larry Brauner

A Brief Historical Note

I’m old enough to remember when the norm in the America was to work 40 years for a corporation and retire at age 65 with Social Security benefits and a company pension. I grew up with such an expectation.

Technology and economics reshaped the workplace during the last part of the 20th century, and nowadays people will necessarily change jobs a number of times during their careers and receive little or no employer help along the way meeting their long term financial objectives.

Employment relationships are severed with little reluctance by either party. Employees have become a commodity. Both job security and employee loyalty are very much relics of the past.

It is certainly difficult to assert that business is risky but that jobs are risk free, especially during troubled financial times like these. People in all sectors of the economy are losing their jobs, and unemployment will get much worse before it gets any better.

Robert Kiyosaki Revisited

Robert Kiyosaki, author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad and Cashflow Quadrant, compares four different ways to generate income:

  1. Job - You work for an employer. You earn income by selling your limited time. You’re overtaxed by the government. You may however acquire valuable skills and receive access to affordable health insurance.
  2. Self-Employment - You own your job and must work very hard. You receive tax breaks but still earn your income by selling your limited time. You pay in full for your health insurance. You have some autonomy but must nevertheless satisfy your clients’ demands.
  3. Business - You own a system, and you leverage other people’s time and various resources at your disposal such as the Internet. You work hard, but you essentially earn your income by selling other people’s time. Since you’re not selling your limited time, your income potential is unlimited. Many types of business are very risky, but there are others that are not very risky at all. Businesses have many tax advantages.
  4. Investing - You own assets that are called investments. You earn income from these investments. Knowledgeable investors use insurance such as stock options to manage and eliminate the risk of investing. They also achieve the most favorable tax treatment for their income.

Where Theory and Practice Intersect

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that business and investing income are much superior to job and self-employment income — all other things being equal — and having a business and investing mindset is a wonderful personal asset.

Yet there’s a catch.

Most people are not in a position initially to rely either on business or investing to provide the income that they need for life’s basics. Some people may not have the wherewithal now or ever to make a business or investing work for them.

Jobs or self-employment provide immediate income for food, clothing and shelter. In that sense they can be a good thing.

If you have a job and the right mindset, you can use the base of income afforded by your job as a springboard to future business and investing. You’ll seek ways to develop new business, and you’ll use part of your paycheck and business proceeds to buy income producing assets.

Your progress might be slow at first, but it will accelerate over time as your results are compounded.

My Change of Heart

I used to put down jobs saying that J.O.B. stood for “just over broke”. While there’s much truth in that, I believe today that I was stuck in all-or-nothing thinking.

So don’t you think job or business. Think job and business, or whatever makes sense.

Your comments and input are invited.

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Larry Brauner

Stacey Chadwell once asked me, How do you maintain focus?

On this first anniversary of my Online Social Networking blog, Stacey’s question caused me to think and take stock.

I imagine that many blogs launched last year have long since been abandoned. How is it that I maintained my focus over the past year while many other new bloggers did not?

It has been suggested that FOCUS stands for “follow one course until successful”.

While this representation is simplistic, it is nevertheless more true than not. To accomplish something substantial, some degree of obsession and narrow focus is a prerequisite for success.

Revisiting the Ultimate Success Secret

As I indicated in Critical Success Factors, I take my cue from The Ultimate Secret to Getting Absolutely Everything You Want by Mike Hernacki in which he wrote:

“In order to accomplish something, you must know what you want and be willing to do whatever it takes to accomplish it.”

In other words, focus arises from intention and is maintained through commitment.

This principle is the key to sustaining focus and achieving eventual success.

To demonstrate my commitment, I was willing to:

  • blog for months before seeing tangible results
  • ignore doubts expressed by friends and family
  • read books about blogging and search engine optimization
  • mastermind with other bloggers to get their opinions
  • experiment, learn from my mistakes and backtrack as needed
  • put some of my other objectives on hold

Today I have more than 100 regular readers and receive thousands of visitors to my blog each month. My articles have been featured on top news sites.

I have a Google PageRank of 3 and high search engine rankings for lots of keywords that I researched and targeted.

I was willing to do what many others were not and was able to maintain my focus throughout the year.

Planning the Next Year

During the next twelve months I would like to take my blog to the next level, for sure.

However, I plan to apply the same kind of commitment and narrow focus to new projects such as developing my new Ning social networking site and mastering the intricacies of web analytics.

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Larry Brauner

Yet Another Ning Site?

In Ning Social Networking Sites Update I wrote about recent changes on Ning social sites and how to cope with them. One suggestion I made was that you could “start your own Ning social network“.

I knew that sooner or later I would build my own Ning social networking site. After all, the ability for anybody to create their own social networking sites is the most noteworthy feature of Ning.

I had already laid the groundwork to launch my own social network. I had many contacts who were involved in social networking whom I could invite to join. I had also received much encouragement from other site owners.

So on Wednesday, October 29, I set up my new site, and as of this writing there are 86 members from 11 countries.

Critical Thinking Outside the Box

My new Ning social network, Critical Thinking Outside the Box, “Larry Brauner’s Business and Social Network for Thinking People”, is intended as a companion site to my Online Social Networking blog.

It’s a networking site where you and I can brand ourselves. The site is of course strongly branded to me. The best way to brand yourself there is for you to start and participate in discussions on the forum.

If you participate and also bring a bunch of new members, I’ll feature you on the site.

You’re Officially Invited

Please join on Critical Thinking Outside the Box, add me as a friend, and leave a comment on my profile mentioning that you came through my blog.

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