Feature Article: To Give or Not to Give

Business Owner in the Spotlight
Tom Ninness
Summit Champions, Inc.

Refueling Recommendations
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Make-it-Fly® MarketPlace

Next Make-it-Fly® Café

ISSN# 1552-3705

November 3, 2009
Volume 6, Issue 20

"In-Flight Refueling" is published twice a month.

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A Note From Dave & Victoria

Love living in Colorado: playing in almost two feet of snow one day and, two days later, playing tennis in warm sunshine. We had to rescue a few soggy tennis balls from a large snow bank, but it was all fun!

Last weekend we said goodbye to one of our favorite summer pastimes—visiting local farmer’s markets. Besides the great buys, it’s an excellent place to meet new friends and practice your networking skills.

We’ve been planning some exciting new projects for 2010 that align with the changing times. We’ll look forward to sharing them with you in the weeks ahead.

Our very best regards,

Dave and Victoria

Business Owner in the Spotlight

Tom Ninness
Summit Champions, Inc.

Tom Ninness created Summit Champions four years ago because he needed a channel for the dozens of requests to speak, coach and write he constantly received. As a long-time real estate professional, Tom saw the need for sales training and coaching in that industry. “Our emphasis is on leadership, sales, lead generation, creating loyal clients for life and creating professional referral sources,” he says.

Tom Ninness, of Summit Champions, Inc.

Summit Champions, Inc., focuses on workshops, seminars, presentations and software tools for the real estate and mortgage professional. “Each tool is designed to increase contacts, build relationships and position yourself as the preferred professional in your community,” Tom says.

Q: What do you find most fulfilling about running your business?
TN: The success stories of those I coach on a bi-weekly basis. I also created a free “90-Day Journey eCoaching” letter a couple of years ago that is sent out to a couple thousand subscribers weekly. I receive many comments on the impact that the letter’s information has on their lives and businesses.  

Q: What motivated you to start this business?
TN: My real job is Vice President/Colorado Regional Manager for Cherry Creek Mortgage. I originate, run a branch, run a region and still have a life. Because I’m still in the “game,” I understand what the sales professional is going through. What motivated me to start Summit Champions is my heart to serve. I could tell that our world was changing four years ago and I wanted to share my knowledge and give sales professionals/entrepreneurs direction in their businesses and lives.

Q: What book has been most helpful to you in your business?
TN: I read about four books a month, but the two that have made the biggest difference in how my business is run would be Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim and Love is the Killer App by Tim Sanders.

Q: Who has influenced you most in your life?
TN: July 13, 1983 I surrendered my heart to Jesus Christ.  

Q: What has proved to be your most successful marketing strategy?
TN: Every year, I would put myself on a 90-Day Journey that encompassed the last three months of the year. Two years ago, I sent out emails across the country asking others to join me on this Journey, and if they did, they would receive action plans for success every day for 90 days. Those who went on the Journey had to agree to forward the Journey to others to encourage them to also participate. To make a long story short, I sent the Journey out to over 6,000 email addresses every day for 90 days. The 90-Day Journey, Workbook and Journal can now be found on our website for purchase.

Q: What have been the greatest challenges you have had to overcome, or are currently facing, in your business?
TN: Cherry Creek Mortgage is my main source of income and where the majority of my time is spent, so it’s a time-management issue for me. Luckily, my bride of 32 years Pam handles the day-to-day operation of the company. I would love to have a few more clients to coach, but in this economy, everyone is watching every dollar. Finding time to write is also a challenge as I write for about 20 publications.

Q: How did you benefit from participating in a Make-it-Fly® board?
TN: Make-it-Fly® was an incredible experience. You get 12 individuals from different backgrounds and professions giving you advice. The advisory board is your mastermind group of great leaders and incredible thinkers. I’ve been able to incorporate many ideas from the group along with lifetime friendships.  

Q: What would you say to other business owners who are contemplating getting involved in a Make-it-Fly® board?

TN: You have to do it. Leave your ego at the door and be ready to give to your board. I guarantee that it will come back to you 100-fold. Dave and Victoria have created a wonderful platform that could transform your business.

Tom Ninness can be reached by phone at: 720-221-4396, or visit his web site at: www.summitchampions.com.

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Dave Block, Co-Founder of Make-it-FlyDave’s Networking Nugget:

One key to effective networking is in the way you follow up. Make this timely, sincere and continue to focus on the other person and not yourself. Find out how you can help them in practical ways. Remember, your goal is to build and deepen the relationship, not to sell to them.

Feature Article

Victoria MunroTo Give Or Not to Give
By Victoria Munro

The Internet is changing the way we do business. Today, an abundance of very useful services and products are available free on the web. Add to that a growing awareness of our responsibility to give back to the community. As business owners, we are being challenged to rethink the place of giving away services and products gratis.

At Make-it-Fly®, we’ve aimed to demonstrate and encourage a culture of giving. But entrepreneurs need to ask what and how much they’re willing to give away, and what goods and services they’ll charge for to help them distinguish between the pros and cons of giving stuff away.

The Upside of Giving Stuff Away

There is much to be gained by giving your services and/or products away. Nancy Levenson, founder of NamasteWorks Yoga + Wellness, LLC, in Highlands Ranch, CO, launched her new yoga studio by freely giving to her local community. Partnering with the local city government, she offered free ‘Yoga in the Park’ sessions each week for three months. During this time, she never solicited business. At the first session, 201 local residents showed up and hundreds more enjoyed participating over the summer. This involved a significant investment of time and energy. “You have to embrace it [giving] without expecting to get back,” Nancy explains. “It really is turning the paradigm from selling to giving, and then letting the giving turn into sales.”

The results were excellent. She gained many new clients and a greater understanding of her local community, where she because quite a celebrity. As a market research project, it provided invaluable information for her business start up. And, since the local media covered these events, she also received a lot of very positive free publicity.

If you’re road testing a new product or service, offering it free initially (even a scaled-down version) can provide valuable feedback and testimonials you can use later to refine and market it. Also, giving away advice through writing or speaking can help you become known as an ‘expert.’

There are other less tangible but still valid ways to give. In her new book The Whuffie Factor: Using the Power of Social Networks to Build Your Business, author Tara Hunt describes the value of giving non-tangible gifts that build relationships and develop trust. Comparing the ‘gift economy’ with the ‘transactional market economy,’ she writes, “Gifts create bonds and reciprocal connections between individuals; whereas market transactions, including those that are free, are transactional and impersonal. Gifts on the other hand result in interaction between people and thus are highly personal.”

Giving Tangible Gifts

Expressing your appreciation to clients by giving thoughtful gifts need not cost a fortune and can keep you in mind and strengthen relationships. If you can relate the gift to a hobby you know your client enjoys and personalize it, it will be even more meaningful.

Cause-Related Marketing—Another Way to Give

If you’re passionate about a worthy cause, it makes good business sense to promote this in your company marketing. When you pick up the torch for something bigger than yourself in this way, it’s emotionally fulfilling, generates community goodwill and differentiates your company from your competition. People like to do business with companies that stand for something beyond profit. Choose a cause that’s in line with your values and one that your target clients can relate to and feel good about supporting.

Because his son suffers from autism David Veal of Veal Creative is passionate about helping families who face this challenge. Last year he spent over 100 hours working with an ad hoc committee to create Rides and Rods Weekend. “It took a toll on my business,” he says. “But I don’t want other families to have to face this ordeal the way we had to. I want to be part of the solution. And I’m doing what I love to do for a meaningful cause. Plus, giving is what makes us all feel really, really great.”

The Freemium Business Model—Will It Work?

Made possible by the Internet’s low-cost distribution channel, this relatively new business model is being used by some of the largest as well as a myriad of small online businesses. There’s been a lot of press lately about the freemium business model, which basically offers a service free to a large number of people in the hopes that some will upgrade to a premium paid version. In his latest book Free—the Future of a Radical Price, Chris Anderson, editor of Wired Magazine and author of The Long Tail, gives an overview of how the meaning of ‘free’ has changed in the last few years and how, in the digital marketplace, the most effective price is no price at all. His critics are unconvinced and there’s much debate on whether this model can be economically viable in the current economy.

The Downside of Giving Stuff Away

Some claim that giving your services away may devalue what you do, but in today’s crowded marketplace, this may not be valid. However, for those who love what they do, genuinely want to help people and need new clients, there is a potential problem. If this is you, it’s especially important to decide where you’ll draw the line—what you’re willing to freely give and what you will charge for. Then, stick to it.

Decide What and How You’ll Give

Though the results of giving are hard or impossible to track, when done sincerely and with some forethought, giving stuff away for free is almost always a worthwhile investment of your resources. As we head into holiday gift-giving season, brainstorm ways you can give back to your clients, potential clients and your community, then create a plan and start giving.

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Victoria’s Time / Balance Tip

Commit to Never Giving an Immediate Response
As business owners, we face constant requests for our time. Instead of giving an immediate answer, request time to think about it. Simply say, “I need time to think about this. I’ll get back to you.” By giving yourself time, you can assess how the decision will affect your life balance. Then get back with your answer as promised.

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Make-it-Fly Marketplace

Sharpen Your Speaking Skills and Grow Your Business at a Presentation Dojo

You worked hard on your presentation and afterward several people came up to compliment you on it. You think, “That’s nice, but I didn’t get any business.” If you want to grow your business through public speaking, enroll in the Presentation Dojo.

Jay Murray, of Solutions for Tuition says, “Before working with Turning Point Presentations, 3% of my audience members typically requested appointments to learn more. Now, it’s over 50% and my business is thriving.

Angela Libby Jankousky

Angela Libby Jankousky

Rev NetworkingRev Networking

Up to 20 professionals, each representing one profession, meet one on one at customized speed networking events, allowing you the opportunity to have a five-minute conversation with each participant to generate leads, referrals and business. Rev Networking is not a group, as you will meet new professionals every time and people that attend are serious about growing their business by networking and power partnering with other professionals.

Reservation only $68
Marilyn Manning 303-763-1865


The RiverfrontThe Riverfront specializes in well crafted, richly satisfying occasions that balance aesthetics, personality and party. The site is versatile, accommodating groups from fifteen to five hundred. Features include: two dance floors with professional sound and lighting, a fireplace nook, three bars, outdoor patio, and gazebo. Our personal chef, custom menus, and full suite of inclusions rank us paramount in our industry.

Call 303.865.8500 today
and schedule your holiday event!

READING THIS AD? THEN WHY NOT PUT YOURS HERE TOO? The In-Flight Refueling Ezine reaches more than 3,000 entrepreneurs, small-biz owners, consultants and marketers. Reserve your advertising spot today in the next In-Flight Refueling Ezine,

Paid Advertising Disclaimer: Make-it-Fly® LLC does not represent or endorse the accuracy or reliability of any of the paid advertisements above or the quality of any products, services, information, or other materials displayed, purchased, or obtained by you as a result of an offer in connection with any ad. It's common sense to do your own due diligence before purchasing any product.

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Refueling Recommendations

The Make-it-Fly® Advisory Board 101

Each Make-it-Fly® Advisory Board 101 program consists of 12 non-competing business owners who meet once a month for five consecutive months. In the spirit of giving, they offer each other solutions, ideas, resources and encouragement. Dave and Victoria facilitate each group and share powerful tools to assist business owners in reaching their goals and living more balanced lives.

If you have experienced a Make-it-Fly® Advisory Board, please share the following openings with other business owners who need support. Call Dave for more information at 720-962-8888.

Programs are held from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Next Advisory Board 101 in Denver:

  • Fridays - January 8, February 5, March 5, April 2, May 7, June 4
  • Thursdays - January 28, February 25, March 25, April 22, May 20, June 17
  • Mondays - March 1, April 5, May 3, June 7, July 6*, August 2

Click here to sign up for an Advisory Board.
Or call Dave at 720-962-8888.

Alumni Boards are groups of 12-14 small business owners who have participated in at least one Make-it-Fly>® Advisory Board 101 and wish to continue the support and accountability with a group of like-minded, giving business associates. Members meet once a month for a three-hour meeting. If you completed the initial Make-it-Fly® Advisory Board 101 and are interested in more information on Alumni Boards, call Dave at 720-962-8888.

Make-it-Fly Café - High Altitude Networking, where exceptional people help each otherNext Café:

Date: Friday, February 26, 2010

Time: 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Cost: $10 online, $15 at the door

Location: The Riverfront
2852 W. Bowles Ave., Littleton (One block west of Santa Fe)

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Contact Make-it-Fly® - Dave and Victoria:

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Please email or call Victoria if you'd like to reprint any information contained in this newsletter. Thanks! © Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.

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