May the Fourth Be With You in 2017! – Clients

StarWars-May4thBeWithYou

To our Valued Clients,

May the 4th has become known as “Star Wars Day”!  Built on the idea of May the 4th be with you.

I wanted to use this day to tell you about my recent trip on a Disney Star Wars cruise.

I got to take my wife and 2 youngest sons (still in high school) on the cruise which offers Star Wars movies, characters, memorabilia, and of course the awesome “Star Wars Day at Sea”.

Being like a big kid, I signed up for a couple of “character encounters”.

Tim gets to meet Darth Vader!

Tim gets to meet Darth Vader!

My encounter with Darth Vader was quite scary.

 The dude is like 6 foot 5 in the Darth costume and he has the “real” Jame Earl Jones voice – I assume from a voice converter box.  He said that I looked like I might be part of the “rebel alliance”.

I was lucky to even get a picture before he pulled out his light saber and tried to chase me down.

On another encounter, I got to meet R2D2 and C3PO.  These droids were alive and active.

C3PO shook my hand when I walked up and talked to me ad lib in the C3PO voice.

Meanwhile, R2D2 was blinking and chirping with his computerized “voice” during the entire photo encounter.

It was so real I couldn’t believe it.

I had to get a photo to “prove” I met two of the most outstanding movie characters of all time.

Although R2D2 is soooo cool, the wit and wisdom of C3PO has always made him my favorite.

Tim meets his mystery friends.. R2D2 and C3PO.

Tim meets his mystery friends.. R2D2 and C3PO.

My wife and kids were too tired to want to get up to meet R2D2 at 8am. Sure I was on vacation but I would have gotten up at 5am to see these guys!

During the cruise we could watch any Star Wars movie we wanted on demand except Force Awakens which was only in the theater.

They have a full size theater on the ship just for showing movies!

On the ship’s opening departure party, they have a lot of Star Wars and Disney characters there to “see us off”.

This deck party has a lot of music and dancing and typical Disney show flare.

On the Day at Sea you can buy the BB8 cup (you can see it in the Darth Vader picture) or a Bobo Fett cup.

They double down on the movies and show Star Wars the CLone Wars cartoon on the huge deck screen.

At night they have another deck party where there is a mob of people dancing and celebrating in Star Wars costumes.

There are so many light sabers out on the deck and costumes that it makes for a really cool experience.

This article is mainly about “STAR WARS” but the cruise itself is fantastic.  I’ve added a couple of pictures at the bottom if you want to see them.

Star Wars Day at Sea

Star Wars Day at Sea

Disney Adult Pool

Disney Adult Pool

My best buddy PLUTO!

My best buddy PLUTO!

The Disney Cruise ship docked at Castaway Cay

The Disney Cruise ship docked at Castaway Cay

View from the ship of Disney's private islande Castaway Cay!

View from the ship of Disney’s private island Castaway Cay!

Silver Anniversary

By Tim Turner

No, I’m not talking about Torrid Tech.  I’m referring to my marriage.  My lovely wife and I celebrated 25 years together in August.  If you are blessed enough to be married this long, you definitely will learn a few lessons that help smooth the ride.  These lessons are not just for marriage but for any relationship that you care about.

Be Forgiving – It’s not easy to do, but being forgiving and not keeping a running list of past wrongs will go a long way to drawing you closer together.  Being able to admit you are wrong on something is an important part of this lesson.

Be Intentional – Your spouse doesn’t always want you to “just wing it” especially when it comes to the relationship.  We have little traditions that show each other we care.  My wife always likes a good card for Valentine’s Day, her Birthday, and our Anniversary to name a few, but I go the extra mile and write my own poem in these cards. Yes, one that I make up myself!  It doesn’t take long but it speaks volumes in intentionally telling her how much I love her in my own words.

Be AvailableIf you aren’t around much because you work and travel all of the time, then it makes it difficult to grow your relationship.  Not impossible, but difficult.  Luckily I have not had to travel too much with my work.  But besides being in town, being available when you are in town is what I’m talking about.  My wife and I have often met for “dates” just for breakfast.  Yes, breakfast out.  It’s not as crowded and it’s less expensive than dinner. Or do lunch.  Every date doesn’t have to be a fancy dinner at an expensive restaurant.  There’s nothing better than meeting over a meal that no one has to cook or clean up for.  We also go on walks together as often as we can, usually every day after dinner.  This gives us time to talk and catch up on what happened in our day while doing something else important – exercising.

Be AdventurousFor our honeymoon 25 years ago I took my wife to France. This was BEFORE the internet.  I had to write letters to hotels to reserve a room and find out the exact prices.  It took a fair amount of planning and work.  But the adventure we had when we went on that trip made it all worthwhile.

25 years later – this summer – we went back to France and had just as much adventure as the first time.  We were able to visit many wineries in the Bordeaux region, as well as castles in the Loire valley.  We were able to go to Giverny to see Monet’s house and gardens, and end up in Paris for several days of site seeing including Versailles, Musee d’Orsay, Les Tuilleries, The Eiffel Tower (of course), and the Louvre.  One fun adventure we had was going to a cooking class where we shopped for the ingredients and then learned how to cook a number of dishes including mussels, coq aux vin, and poached peaches with vanilla ice cream.

Be OpenBy this I mean communicate”.  Don’t keep everything bottled up inside.  As men we typically want to keep our feelings inside and that makes it hard on your spouse.  Being open also means being open to “feedback” on what you can do better and what is going great without getting all bent out of shape about it.

I could write many other lessons I have learned in 25 years of marriage but there just isn’t enough paper in this newsletter!  I’m far from a perfect husband, but my best trait is that I keep on trying to do better. I guess you’d call that focused persistence. Some of these same lessons also apply to your relationship with your clients and customers.  Can you see some similarities?  I hope so, but keep the trips to France with just you and your spouse…

Time to Say Thanks…

Hope you and your family have a great Thanksgiving!

It’s hard to believe that November is here already, which means we are approaching the end of the year.HappyThanksgiving

In this month’s article I just wanted to write about  the first and major part of the word Thanksgiving, which is “THANKS” – to be “Thankful”.

The definition of thankful is someone feeling or showing gratitude. When you are pleased and grateful for what you have, this is an example of a time when you are thankful.   If you are a person of faith then our “Thankfulness” is often directed to thanking our creator.

I’m truly thankful for my wife, Melissa, who is a smart, beautiful amazing Godly woman and the outstanding mother of our 4 children.  She is always encouraging me in my roles as a father, a husband, a business owner, and a coach.

I’m thankful for our 4 children. Zac (23) is in vet school at the Univ. of Georgia.  Lexi (21) is married now but in her senior year at the Univ. of South Carolina.  Josh (16) is a Junior and Aaron (15) is a freshman at Fellowship Christian School in Roswell.  Anyone with kids knows that they each have their own special gifts, qualities, likes, and dislikes.TurnerFamily

As they grow up and gravitate toward “something” in life, I then can connect the dots back to other things in their life.  Zac, for instance always had a love for critters.  At the beach he’d look for crabs.  At the park he would look for snakes and bugs.  In school, he always liked science.  It makes sense he wanted to be a veterinarian!

I’m thankful for my in-laws.  Unlike most “in-laws” they support me as if they were my own parents.  They visit us often and get to spend quality time with their grand kids.  They both try to instill wisdom in our children and love them unconditionally.

I’m thankful for Torrid Tech and the journey that has gotten us to where we are today.  We have been blessed with some amazing creative juices from many people.  Our current team is clicking on all cylinders and I am so thankful for everyone that is contributing to our success.

I’m thankful for good health and the same for our family.  Sure there’s the bum knees and occasional doctor’s visits but overall we have been blessed to be healthy for the most part.

I’m thankful for all of the great customers and clients of Torrid Technologies.  Without YOU our customers we would just be an empty ghost town with tumble weeds blowing around.  When our phones ring, I try to remember how blessed we are to have them ring. THANK YOU THANK YOU!

I could fill pages more about “Thankfulness”, but I’d like to turn it over to you.  What are you thankful for?  It’s a great exercise to put a little bit of joy into the holiday fuel tank.  So remember all of these things when giving thanks around your Thanksgiving table.  THANKS, Happy Planning and HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!!!!!!!!!!

Marketing Your Way Across The World

Greece1

Not Georgia but Greece in Mykenos

Hi, I hope you and your family had a great summer. Wishing you and yours a wonderful Fall! Here in Atlanta we still have some heat but it’s starting to finally cool down at night. Hayrides, pumpkins and apple cider are here! North Georgia is simply a delight in the Fall with college football dominating the scene.

So it’s an odd contrast to talk about traveling overseas for this article, but I needed to continue this thread while it’s fresh on my mind. As I mentioned last month, my wife and I were blessed to visit Italy for our 24th anniversary trip over the summer. We were also able to take a short cruise to Croatia and Greece on the same trip.

What is the tie to “marketing” you might ask? Well, first of all I wanted to reiterate that 10 years ago we would never have been able to even afford this kind of trip. The ONE THING that has made the most difference in Torrid over the last 10 years is a focus on “marketing”.

Over the last 10 years I have been studying marketing, learning from marketing gurus, reading books, attending marketing conferences, trying new marketing methods and generally taking the job of “marketing” seriously. Something I knew little about and didn’t realize how important it was until I saw the “results” slowly producing fruit.

For financial advisors, you got into the business probably because you like people, or are good with finances. You are a technician and can operate your financial practice just fine. But without a consistent focus on “marketing”, you just can’t grow your practice fast enough.

Croatia

Along the Waterfront in Split Croatia

More and better marketing is what has allowed my wife and I to take the trip this summer to Italy and Greece. It was the “key” to make that happen. Without the marketing, the growth in our customer base and revenue would not be occurring. This allowed us the freedom and the financial resources to take the trip.

Now onto the trip so you can live vicariously for the duration of this article… Our first cruise stop was Split, Croatia – a place I never thought we’d visit in a million years. This city was a delight. Imagine stone streets and historic buildings facing a clean harbor surrounded by flowering plants and glorious mountains. Roman ruins, walls and towers gave a unique character to an easily walkable “town”. The food and wine were worth the visit.

Santorini Church

The Blue Domes are Churches in Santorini

Our first port in Greece was the scenic Santorini. We booked a bus tour to get a feel for the island. The views from everywhere were spectacular. Part of the tour we walked up to the top of a town to see houses and blue domed churches up close. Afterwards we took a taxi to a beach and enjoyed the seafood while relaxing by the ocean.

The next day we were in Mykonos. Wanting to avoid the crowds we shied away from the ship excursions and instead took a taxi to a nearby beach that the driver recommended. We set up at Atlantis hotel and beach with chairs and umbrellas. The water was crystal clear. The seafood once again delicious. Without all that “marketing stuff” we would never have been there.

After a day at sea we then visited Katakolon. I know we stopped here so people could visit the ruins of Olympia. We just weren’t interested in it and instead took an excursion bus to a beach. Unfortunately the beach wasn’t that great and was crawling with people selling stuff which made it hard to relax. Our intuition in Mykonos to take a taxi off the beaten path would have been best repeated here.Tim&MelissaGreece

When we were getting married in 1991, Greece was our dream honeymoon. Due to the Gulf War breaking out we couldn’t go, and instead had a wonderful trip to France. So it had been a long time dream to finally make it to Greece. We were so glad we were blessed with this chance. Santorini was certainly the jewel of this leg of our trip.

Do you have a place that you’ve dreamed of going? What plans have you put in place to get there? Spending time focused on your “marketing” to grow your practice should be at the top of your “to do” list…you will be well rewarded for your efforts.

FeastFromTheSea

Seafood ah the Seafood!

GreecianSunset

Sunset leaving Santorini

AtSea

Sailing around the Greek islands

BeautifulWater

Can you believe the color of Blue?

Greek Seafood

Love the seafood!

SplitCroatia

Diocletian’s walls in Split Croatia

ClearWater

You can see your feet in the water

Coastline

Taking the cable car slide down from Santorini

Ships

Greek sailing ships with island backdrop… up for sailing anyone?

Seaside

Relaxing at the beach in Mykenos

CoastalScene    IslandBeauty  SantoriniChurch2 Seaside2

Time To Pause and Refresh

Hotel in Rapallo

By Tim Turner

Summer is a great time to pause and refresh by taking a vacation. My wife Melissa and I have been so blessed to be able to go on an annual anniversary trip.  Well to rewind, the first few years were just dinner out, not a trip.  We have over the years as the kids gotten older worked our way up to bigger trips like Quebec, Napa, and St. Lucia.  Our in-laws come to spend time with their grand-kids while we go on our trip.

This year for our 24th anniversary we took a trip to Italy and Greece. I could fill pages telling you about the incredible food, beautiful views, and all the historical sites.  For this article, I want to focus on the idea of what it means to “pause and refresh”… and slow down.

cappuccinoAs a coffee drinker, I love going to Europe because there is a cafe ready to serve you top quality coffee about every 25 feet. You think Starbucks is everywhere… go to Italy and count the number of places you can get espresso and cappuccino. Even if you stop at a “rest area” by the highway, they have no coffee “to go” cups.  Instead they have a $30,000 coffee machine just like in the cafes with a real person making high quality espressos and cappuccinos. In a gas station, people were 15 deep to belly up to the “bar” to get an espresso before continuing on their way. There were no instant press-a-button coffee machines there to quickly fill a cup and run… No, they paid a skilled person to be there and run a high end espresso machine. In a gas station.

One tidbit you might not know is that in Italy they don’t ever serve coffee in a “to go” cup. In fact, they don’t even have “to go” cups.  Trust me.  I asked. I asked at many places. I asked at small cafes. I asked at espresso bars and street carts. I asked at high end hotel restaurants. “No no no” I kept being told. This was very odd to me. We had a rental car and needed to hit the road. I need my

Hotel grande Fasano

Hotel Grande Fasano in Lake Garda area of northern Italy

coffee for the trip. “No no no Senore”.

Our rental car was an Audi and i

t had no cup holders. Let me repeat that… NO cup holders.   Why? because Italians don’t drink coffee to go and they don’t drink anything while driving. I think because it takes too much focus to drive over there. Having lived through Atlanta traffic for 18 years, though, I held my own pretty good against the Italian drivers. Contrast this with America where my new son-in-law, who sells cars for Toyota is most frequently asked “how many cup holders does this car have” as a major buying criteria.

One of the hotels we stayed at was the Hotel Grande Fasano on Lake Garda. It was a historical palace converted into a hotel with glorious views of the massive lake. Before we were to leave one night to go to Verona, I asked one of the ladies working there if I could get some coffee to go. She said “sure you can take the china up to your room”. I said, “No I meant a paper cup to take in the car.” She said “no no no we don’t have any. You are in such a hurry. If you want coffee you need to slow down and take the time to enjoy it, even if it’s 5 minutes.”

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View of harbor in Rapallo while sipping capuccino…

OK at first I was annoyed by this, but as our trip went on I realized that it was definitely better to have high quality coffee while pausing to enjoy it, rather than running out the door with a “to go” cup. Even when we went to a cafe for lunch, we saw people popping in at all times of the day for an espresso. They stayed for a few minutes and were off. But for those few minutes they stopped to pause and refresh… and slow down.

Besides the coffee though my wife and I found plenty of places to stop and pause and refresh. In Rappallo, a city near Portofino on the Italian riviera, we would take a daily walk through and around town for our exercise, and also to see the town on foot. We found a guy with a coffee stand by the harbor and would get a cappuccino every day and just sit by the harbor… and pause for just a few minutes. We enjoyed the view of the boats and the people walking by…the morning sunshine warming our faces…while enjoying our cappuccinos… and fancy that it was served in a real china cup….from a guy running a “coffee stand” down by the water.

The Italians are definitely onto something. Taking the time to enjoy a cappuccino or espresso is the perfect way to “pause and refresh” so that you are ready to face the rest of your day…

Opera in Verona

Opera in Verona inside the Roman Arena right before the start of “Don Giovanni”

gondola ride

Gondola ride in Venice

View from hotel in Rapallo

View from hotel in Rapallo

Perfect Cappuccino

The most perfect and delicious cappuccino ever… or at least on that particular day!

Cappuccino at Hotel Excelsior in Rapallo

Cappuccino at Hotel Excelsior in Rapallo on fine china with the logo of the hotel on every piece.

The water

The azure water of the mediterranean. Lots of rocks and no beaches in Rapallo.

 

Universal Genius

By Tim Turner

As a follow-up to my article about the Disney® cruise, I wanted to share with you some experiences with the Universal resort in Orlando. We visited there after our cruise because our kids just love it.  In fact, they love it more than Disney’s Magic Kingdom, mainly because the rides are so much better.

GreenEggs&Ham

Green eggs & Ham Building in Dr. Seuss Land

Genius point #1:  Universal provides unique rides and experiences that no other park offers.  Sure they have roller coasters, but no other park has Dr. Seuss land.  This section of the park is totally customized to make you feel like you are inside a Dr. Seuss book.  I have been there many times and I am still in awe of the trees, the Caroseussel, and the building shaped like green eggs and ham.

Our favorite ride there is just a small train that rides above Dr. Seuss land giving you a view of the entire Dr. Seuss experience but from above. What can you do in your business that is totally unique to you?   If you say “nothing”, you need to spend a lot more time thinking about it.

Genius point #2:  Universal capitalizes on megatrends.  They don’t sit on their laurels.  They have jumped all over the Harry Potter craze and it has skyrocketed ticket sales.  The newest Gringotts ride had a 7 hour wait when it opened.  Absolutely unheard of!  What demographic trend can you take advantage of?  It might just be a specific niche like baby boomers, millennials, or seniors.

Wands

A Wand shop in Diagon Alley at Universal Orlando

Genius point #3: This one is not as applicable to the financial industry, because it has to do with “upselling” a product or service.  In the new Harry Potter section called Diagon Alley, they sell magical wands just like in the other section of the park.  These wands sell for $36.95 each – for essentially a piece of plastic.  Now some genius figured out they could embed a chip into the wand and then hide the receiver’s around Diagon Alley.  You can then go around to different spots on a map to waive your wand, cast a “spell” and make things happen like making lights turn on or curtains in a window open.  Not only does that make people want a wand itself when they see kids doing this, but it makes kids want the “interactive wand” that costs $44.95 – a 20% premium.   As a business person I found all of this tied together as pure business “genius”.  (I won’t comment on my thoughts about trying to do “magic”…)

sandpool

The incredible pool at The Hard Rock Hotel in Orlando

Genius point #4:  If you stay at one of their onsite hotels, you get additional perks like early admission and free “fast passes” for almost every ride.  The Hard Rock Hotel, for example, is a family friendly place, unlike the Vegas one.  It has a sand pool, volleyball, dive-in movies, video game arcade, and a 2-story slide for kids.  More importantly it is within walking distance of the park AND all the shops in City Walk.

The genius here is to keep you and your dollars captive for your stay.  If I am at the Hard Rock, how likely am I to get in my car and drive somewhere else to eat, to swim, to shop.  Not likely, which means Universal captures all of my vacation dollars, except the gas I buy to get home afterwards.

Hope you’ve enjoyed learning about some of the business smarts behind “Universal Studios” in Orlando.  I think you’ll agree it really is “genius”…

SeussTrain1     UniversalSeuss  SeussTrain2 GringottsDiagonAlley

 

World of Coke and Ideas for Business

by Tim Turner

When friends or family visit us in Atlanta, we often take them to tourist sites like the aquarium, a Braves game or the World of Coke museum. A few weeks ago I went yet again to the World of Coke. Having been there many times, I decided to take a few pictures to prevent boredom.Bottles

Luckily Coca-Cola is way ahead of me and had changed out their introductory “movie”. It was quite interesting and totally geared towards their global reach and message. It was all about people and how they live and how Coke is a part of their lives. We walked out feeling upbeat and feeling good about the Coke brand and its impact on the world.

After that, we ended up in the area where they talk about how Coca-Cola grew as a business. The initial early history started when Asa Candler bought the company from the man who invented Coke – John Pemberton. So Asa Candler is to John Pemberton what Ray Kroc was to the McDonald’s brothers. He saw the bigger picture and bought the entire company.

Why did he buy it? He loved the taste so much he just bought the company. He knew it could be a big success and he knew he could vastly improve the company through better “marketing”.

If you can see the picture to the right, it talks about how Asa bought the company and began many “marketing activities”. One of his top ideas was to use the logo on every day items, constantly reminding people of the Coke brand.

One exhibit had you looking for the Coke logo in historical pictures of various towns and streets. The logo was on signs, on buildings, on vehicles, and on billboards. And these were really old black and white photos in a lot of cases. As a small business owner, we can’t possibly get our logos everywhere, nor would that help.  We need to focus on things other than “branding”.

Asa the marketing genius also used the idea of sampling to get people to taste Coke. The idea being that once they tasted it they would then want to continue drinking it. Is there a way you can use “sampling” in your business to offer something free or something small to get people to get a “taste” of what you do? Could you give people a taste using a free report, free videos, free webinars, or free consultations? If you sell a service, could you offer some small service for free?

This other plaque talks about the “Path to Innovation”.  It mentions that a lot of trial and error is required. In marketing this is also true.  You have to try a bunch of things until you find what works for you. Too many of us in business try something as a one shot attempt and conclude “it doesn’t work”. The reality is we need to revise and try again. We need to tweak the copy and try again. We need to target a different group and try again. Success is not a one shot deal. Yes feel free to quote me on that.

One of the plaques in the Coke museum talks about the number one key to their massive global growth of Coca-Cola and that is through franchising. They franchised the bottling rights which allowed them to partner with local companies who would be their feet on the pavement stocking, shipping, and selling the product in their areas to everyone’s mutual benefit.

Is there some way that you can use some type of franchising to spread your influence? Can you sell some type of system as an “area exclusive” opportunity? Maybe it is a marketing system to others like you in your industry but in non-competing areas. Maybe you use joint ventures to work with others to bring you mutually beneficial business.

Coke is a global brand and a Fortune 500 company with massive popularity over a long time period. They are an 800lb. gorilla. But don’t think that you can’t learn from what they have done or what they are doing now. We can all learn from other successful businesses, no matter how large or small.

Successful business people are constantly looking at other’s success and thinking “how can I apply that in my business?” Is there something I can learn from them. Being a lifelong learner will help your business and your bank account in the long run.

And if you are ever in Atlanta, visit the Coke museum for the incredible drink tasting room, and also for gobs of valuable business lessons!

Plaque Marketing Plaque Innovation Coke Machines Coke Fountain Bottles Coke Art Coke Ceiling Coke Chamber

 

Palm Desert and Palm Springs

Hi,

I posted a few info nuggets for you that might help you plan your trip for the FocusFifteen conference.marriott-palmsprings-sm

Don’t forget your sunglasses, shorts, bathing suit, and golf clubs if you play!

 

Just thought I’d set this up for the convenience of everyone.

Looking forward to meeting you.  Stop by our Lucky Booth #13!

I will also be on the financial planning software panel on Wed. at 10:30am!

Regards,

-Tim Turner

Torrid Tech Founder

P.S. Our special meet, greet, demo session is TUESDAY night 6-7pm in

Desert Salons 1-4  — be there and you might win and Ipad Mini!

Retirement Spotlight

When looking for a place to retire, we all have our wishes and dreams. Many seek the sunny, warm climates while some want to move to that mountain home they’ve always wanted. Others want to move closer to family no matter where that may be.

Forbes recently published their list of  the 25 Best Places To Retire. So if you’re in the market for a new place to hang your hat, take a look at a few of the places they suggest and why.

Brevard, NC:

Brevard’s highlights include  its beautiful scenery and low cost of living. With the average home costing under $200,000 and a nice range of seasonal weather, this town makes a nice option for retirement.

Ogden, UT:

A good economy combined with a very low cost of living and low housing prices make Ogden an attractive city for retirement. Its low crime rate is an added bonus as is its high rate of volunteerism.

Austin, TX:

Austin has become well known, as of late, for being a fun town with lots of local art, music and eateries. Add it’s warm weather, and good economy and you’ve got a great place to live! It’s only down side would be its slightly higher than average housing costs but that might be easily outweighed by it’s cultural vibe.

Port St. Lucie, FL:

Want a warm, sunny, beach to spend your retirement years? You might look at Port St. Lucie for its low cost of living and low average home prices. A low crime rate is a bonus to this costal town. Your family and friends are sure to visit! Is that a plus or minus?

See the full article at forbes.com

 

Where would you like to retire? We want to hear what you think.

 

 

4 Things Mt. McKinley Taught Me About Business

DSC02420

Mt. McKinley

My oldest son Zac got accepted into the UGA vet school this year, a big accomplishment after years of hard work on his studies.  I got to thinking about rewarding him with a trip and decided to make it a father-son getaway so that we could spend some time together before his intense 4 years in vet school.

When I asked him where he wanted to go, he said he’d always wanted to go to Alaska and see Denali and Mt. McKinley.  I was suprised because I had never heard him even talk about Alaska.  Growing up in the hot south, we tend not to be “snow people”.  After doing some research I realized this could be a great trip for us.

I asked Zac “Hey were you thinking of this as trying to climb Mt. McKinley because that is pretty difficult”.  He said no he just wanted to go hiking and just be able to see the wilderness up there.

Our trip took quite a bit of planning to set up.

1). First lesson I learned is to “Plan Ahead”.  Since we travel a lot I know this already, but this trip re-enforced the notion.  We had a hard time booking just about the entire trip.  It was not easy to find flights that fit our time frame, so it included a return trip on the “red eye” flight.  We could only get one night at the Denali Lodge so could not stay there more than one night.  Since some of the tours left at 5am you had to be there the day before.

This left us with only one option – to see Denali and drive to Talkeetna afterwards.  Based on all that we got the last 2 seats on one of the eight hour tours into Denali. If you haven’t been there, almost all of the tours require you to get on a bus and have the national park service shuttle you out an back.

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Tim and Zac in Denali

So I almost messed up the entire trip by not booking early enough.  We managed to put an itinerary together by the skin of our teeth.

2). Second lesson I learned was to “Set Goals”.  Without setting goals our businesses flounder.  We don’t know where we are going or how we are getting there. And we need to measure “something” in relation to those goals.

For our trip to Alaska, Zac enunciated the goal as to “visit Denali and see Mt. McKinley”.  So that isn’t that specific but for travel it is enough.  For our businesses that would usually be too vague.  “Improve customer service” might be an overarching theme but not really a specific “goal”.   “Answer all inquiries within 30 minutes” is a more specific goal.

Our goal did get more specific when the only window we had to go was between August 1st – 6th.  So a set budget, a set tim frame, a set target of sites… now you see why this whole trip reminded me of “business” a little bit.

3). The third lesson I have is to “execute a plan to reach your goals”.  This is where most people fall down.  They never follow through.  It’s all just a bunch of talk.  In this case, I did the hard work and the research and booked the trips.  I paid all the deposits.  I booked the plane flights.

Then we really executed the plan by actually going.  We got to go Salmon fishing out in the bush.  To get there we had to take a plane which I had to arrange in advance.  We had to get up at 6am to get out there.  Zac triumphantly caught a silver.  I caught other fish but not the silver salmon.  Apparently they weren’t running this year for some reason.

We rented a car and drove to Denali enjoying the sites and vistas the entire way.  We got to go on our tour into Denali… eight hours on a bus.  Four hours into the park and then four hours to get bac

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Er, what is that in the brush?

k out.  Did you know that Denali is 2 million acres?

We got to see several bear families – typically a mom and two cubs, moose, and elk.  We got pictures of them literally walking by the bus.  The wildlife pretty much ignore the buses as if they weren’t there (unless someone makes a lot of noise).
4). The fourth lesson I have is to “persevere in the face of setbacks and failure”.  We all encounter problems, setbacks and failure at times – both in life and in business.  When we got far enough into Denali to see Mt. McKinley… we couldn’t.  It was an overcast day with rain at times.  All of the peaks were shrouded with gray.  The guide said you are more likely to see bears than Mt McKinley and he was right.

But we had come so far to give up.  OK I’d like to say we rented gear and decided to hike towards it but that wasn’t possible.  You can’t get a permit except through a lottery even to walk out there on your own.  Plus our schedule was tight.  We drove to Talkeetna to stay at the Lodge there residing that we got to see Denali but not Mt. McKinley.  We weren’t sulking about it because it was a fabulous trip. We were having a great time.

when we awoke the next morning, I opened the curtains to see what our “mountain view” room got us. Lo and behold we were blessed to see Mt McKinley and all the peaks rising into a clear blue sky with just a few white wisps floating around.  It was glorious.  Even despite our failure the day before, we ended up succeeding anyway.  We got some great pictures of Mt. McKinley and of course some father-son pictures that I will always treasure.

Anyway I didn’t have to worry too much about Torrid Tech while we were away because we have such a great team that I can rely on.  But the memories and the lessons from this trip will last a lifetime.
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