RESOLVE: 2018 is Coming!


Well for the last blog of the year, I could talk about thankfulness and gratitude. In fact it’s probably what I should talk about, but I’m not going to.

Instead I want to talk about RESOLVE.

As a verb Resolve means two things:

  1. Settle or find a solution to a problem, dispute or contentious matter.
  2. Decide FIRMLY on a course of action.

As a noun, it is the most common use of the word at the end of the year:

  1. A firm determination to do something

When the ball drops at midnight on New Year’s Eve to signify the start of a New Year, there will be millions of us making “resolutions”- firm determinations to do something. For a lot of us, they will be shallow or even unachievable. Maybe we will break that “firm determination” the next day.

Forgive me friends, if my year end sentiment isn’t filled with well wishes & thankfulness. But I just don’t want you to make resolutions about going to the gym, losing weight or making new friends. Instead I want to wish you the ability to have RESOLVE in 2018.

Resolve will not melt rocks, but it can scale them! – George Eliot

Show your work partners, your family, your friends your RESOLVE in 2018. Find solutions to problems regardless of the hardship that comes your way.

RESOLVE not to quit.

Make every day the very best, and do not let anyone get in your way. Use the disappointments of 2017 to transform those experiences into solutions.

As we move together through 2018, resolve to treating challenges as opportunities. Roll up your sleeves. Hard work keeps resolutions, not empty promises. Hard work = RESOLVE. 

So as we end this year 2017, whether it was a great year for you or one you wish you could have been better, RESOLVE to be the master of change rather than the victim of change.

Stay strong in your determination to be better tomorrow than you were today.

I wish you all a wonderful and prosperous New Year in 2018. But I also challenge you to compete against yourself. Strengthen your RESOLVE in 2018 so that you overcome adversity & get better each day.



9DOTS CEO connects the DOTS every month. Subscribe here (click “Subscribe at the top left of the link) to our newsletter so you never miss a day. 

Check back next month & think outside the box with us.

9DOTS Best Reads of 2017

This is a list of blogs you just have to check out before 2018 starts again. They are our most popular, most loved & most read blog posts of 2017. And if you have missed any, here they are for your reference as the new year begins!

  1. 10 Characteristics of Good Problem Solvers 
    • Good problem solvers use a combination of intuition & logic to come up with their solutions. Use as much information as possible to come up with the BEST possible solutions. Here are ten characteristics for you to work on for 2018 to be the best problem solver you can!
  2. Are you Left Brained or Right Brained? Solve Problems w/ Data Visualization
    • Take a left brained/right brained quiz and see how it affects your ability to solve problems
  3. FEAR: Face Everything And RISE
    • FEAROur second installment of the CEO Connects the Dots series & it’s a great one. CEO, John Florio reflects on what being afraid, FEAR has taught him about success. It’s some great advice as we move into the new year.
  4. Do You Know Why we are Called 9DOTS? We Solve Problems
    • Are you seeing a general theme here?! Did you know 9DOTS is named after the answer to a puzzle? Click the link to see the puzzle & try to solve it!
  5. Just Show Up…EVERYDAY
    • Just Show UpThe first installment of CEO Connects the Dots & it is inspirational. JUST SHOW UP – it it means more than arriving to your desk every day at 8am. Yesterday’s bad day is a new chance to start again.
  6. Choose Your Attitude 
    • Life is 10% what happens to you & 90% how you react to it.
  7. 5 Ways Your Finance Team will Stay Competitive 
    • The world of finance, the job of accountant, the role of a CFO; mostly these are roles that are morphing into something completely different from what we consider the norm. Even with tons of changes, a great CFO wants to always stay competitive.
  8. Make 60,000x Faster with BOLD Data Visualization 
    • This article was pretty mind blowing. Did you know “The brain processes images 60,000 times faster than it does text.” ?? 
  9. LAW FIRMS. We Have the Tool to Help with Changes 
    • With tons of new technology, businesses booming & constant advancements, clients want lawyers to be more modern. This presents its own challenges for lawyers and law firms alike & we know how to help.
  10. Our Mission Statement
    • Okay, this isn’t a blog post, so I may be breaking the rules. But our mission statement is one of our MOST READ pages on our website & that’s because it perfectly defines who 9DOTS is.

If you loved this round up of our top 10 most read blogs of 2017- Subscribe here (click “Subscribe at the top left of the link) to our monthly newsletter so you never miss another popular post)

Check back next month & think outside the box with us.

CEO Connects the Dots: Choose Your Attitude

I was out over the Thanksgiving weekend doing some shopping. Needless to say, I wasn’t in the best frame of mind. Quite frankly, my attitude needed an adjustment. Instead of enjoying the hustle and bustle of people out doing their thing, the company of my wife, or the beautiful, crisp, November weather, I complained to myself about why we were there. I’m certain my body language was poor and even more certain that I had the Grinch’s puss on my face.

And then we walked into an old country store and I saw a rustic framed quote from Charles Swindoll:

“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. It will make or break a company … a church … a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude … I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me, and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you … we are in charge of our Attitudes.”

Wow! These were powerful words and they showed up for me to see, just in time. I’m certain my day would have degraded into something terrible and probably would have ended with a spat with my wife by the end.

Instead, I took charge of my attitude and changed my entire day.

I realized just how right Swindoll is. Every single day we have a choice. Happiness is a choice. Embrace a positive attitude and start the day differently than maybe what feels natural in that moment (like staying in your bad mood & being a Grinch through the holiday season).

As we head into the holiday season, there is no better time to choose your attitude. The stress will mount each day both in your personal and professional life as the year comes to an end. Recognize that life is going to happen, and we can’t stop it. Just reflect on what Chuck Swindoll teaches in his quote, 90% of life is HOW WE REACT. Let life happen, and make the conscious decision to be positive in reaction.

Choose a great attitude starting today & let’s finish the year strong!

Thanksgiving & Small Business Saturday

thankfulTwo days until Thanksgiving?! Don’t panic. You might be sitting at work thinking about all of the things you still have to finish. Maybe you are trying to work & asking yourself what last minute items to pick up on the way home. Maybe you’re just checking the clock over & over, waiting for Thursday with excitement. For some reason, stress can fill the happy, wonderful holidays. Sometimes we need a reminder to what Thanksgiving IS. It is the start to the holiday season, the reminder that even when you feel rushed, SLOW DOWN, be Thankful.

As a small business 9DOTS experiences these feelings as well: distracted from the work day due to less than exciting quarter results, stress for deadlines, or maybe an unhappy client. We sit at our desks and stress & occasionally wish for Friday to come as fast as it can. In doing all of that – we forgot to be Thankful. Small business Saturday is THIS SATURDAY, the Saturday after Thanksgiving. It’s perfect. Thanksgiving is headed here as that big reminder to slow down, life is so short so don’t rush your days only thinking about the things that make you feel stressed, sad or unhappy.

Go into the Holiday season this Thursday (maybe even start today!) by being Thankful! Be thankful that there is food to rush home & grab, for the family & friends you’ll see over the holidays. Be thankful for your team, your customers, your blog readers, even the people who sometimes are frustrated or unhappy with you. You wouldn’t be where you are without EVERYONE, every obstacle, every boring day, every exciting day.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving with friends, family, customers & all. And we would be remiss if we didn’t say – Happy Small Business Saturday! Use those Black Friday savings to share with family at your local small businesses on Saturday.


Need some more motivation for your business leading into the new year? Our CEO, John Florio, writes a post once a month, check them out here 

Ep. 1 of Show Your Work

This is 9DOTS first video in 9DOTS video series Show Your Work. These videos will show you exactly how 9DOTS solves a problem for a client by showing you exactly how our products work with videos, tips & tricks.

Show Your Work Ep. 1 from 9DOTS on Vimeo.

7 Traits that Drive you to Success & Leadership

After 30 years working both in the corporate industry and as an entrepreneur, I have recognized that there are certain undeniable traits that high-achievers and great leaders share. People often associate achievement and success with a number of things, like the right timing, circumstance, education or natural talent. I have found that the true origins of success are more elusive. These are traits that have been cultivated and built over the years.

Below are 7 Traits that I believe create a great leader & can drive you to success:

1. A Well-Developed Personal Way of Life

Successful leaders know what their philosophy is; they understand their own thinking and reasoning. A clear viewpoint allows you to set expectations and articulate your definition of success so you can set a clear path to your goals. It prepares you for an extraordinary destiny.

2. Undeniable Persistence

Edison failed 2,000 times before he discovered the light bulb. Walt Disney was fired from his newspaper job because he “lacked imagination and creativity”. He then went bankrupt several times while creating Disneyland. People who are successful never quit, and people who succeed never give up. When failure is not an option, don’t give up. Find another contact, another way, another point of entry, and keep trying until you accomplish what you have set out to do. Persistence means picking yourself up every day and going after what you want without allowing anything to get in your way.

3. Meaningful Purpose

Every leader must be able to identify his or her purpose. Know your “why.” When you do, you can connect with the purpose that will drive you toward your unique vision. Your purpose tells you why you’re here and what legacy you want to leave. When you have a clear purpose, you know where to spend your energy.

4. The Art of Persuasion

Everyone, in every occupation, can benefit from skills in persuasion. They will help you influence others and persuade them not just to listen to you and trust you but also to partner with you, help you, and support you. Mastering communication and understanding human nature are essential if you want to effectively persuade and influence people

5. The Power of Passion

If you want to succeed, the most powerful weapon you can have is passion. It provides the fuel for success. When the passion drives you, you will do whatever it takes to make it a reality. Without passion, you don’t have energy. Without energy, there are no possibilities. With no possibilities, you are stagnant, with nowhere to go. But when you can ignite the fire of passion, it will give you the energy to propel yourself toward possibility. Successful leaders understand that they are only great when they act from their passion. If you aren’t passionate about what you do stop doing it.

6. Ethics and Integrity

Successful leaders honor their principles. They know and live by their values & convictions. Their ethics and integrity are deeply rooted beliefs that help them make decisions and chart their course. Your moral compass starts with basic beliefs and values, and it will guide you to do what is right, not what is easy. Trust yourself and as Jiminy Cricket said, “Let your conscience be your guide.”

7. Excellent Performance

Proficiencies are important. Performance is imperative. It’s great to have a vision, purpose and passion, but you bring it to reality through performance. Bring the highest level of excellence and quality to everything you do, and keep raising your level of aspiration and expectation. Always show up tomorrow better than you were yesterday.

Factors like timing, luck, and circumstance may play some role in success, but it’s the deeper traits–the ones that lie within–that count the most.

CEO Connects the Dots is a monthly post by our CEO. Please click here & subscribe to our newsletter so you get it every month!

Finally, some John’s posts have been “Adversity, How Will you Respond?” and “FEAR: Face Everything And Rise” 

Trick or Treat! Bottom Up can be Sweet

bottom upMaybe demand-driven model isn’t for you, but today is Halloween so like pillowcases filled with candy, 9DOTS offers a lot of options.  A bottom up approach is a focus on resource SUPPLY. Estimate potential sales revenue of a product in order to establish the total sales figure.

Answers questions like “how many hours of work can I bill?,” “how many widgets can I get produced?” and “how much crop will my fields yield?”

“Known as an operating expense plan, bottom up forecasts examine factors such as production capacity, department-specific expenses, and addressable market in order to create a more accurate sales projection. Many experts believe this approach is more realistic than top down because bottom up forecasting employs actual sales data, the resulting forecast may be more accurate, which enables you to make better strategic decisions moving forward. (quickbooks)”

Calculate revenue by individual employee based on hours, cost rates, multiplier and utilization rates. 9DOTS provides the functionality to calculate and aggregate these figures to a fiscal year revenue model. Store values for each individual’s hours, expected revenue, direct and indirect labor costs by fiscal period and then calculate and aggregates those values and deliver them to the budget reports. This entire process simplifies and automates previously labor-intensive activities. So, have the pillowcase full of candy and eat it too!

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Hocus Pocus is TOP DOWN Your Focus?

Our last blog post was a quick run down about how to make it through budgeting season (the worst season of all!) There are tools to make budgeting season easy peasy & it only requires a LITTLE BIT of Halloween Hocus Pocus. You may be able to make a huge change for next year to gain competitive advantage. Tool number one: the Top Down approach.

top down

“Top-down forecasting works well when the market forces on various product items or sales areas are similar. For example, if the markets for baseballs and baseball bats move together, it makes sense to predict their sales together. Many times, individual products will not generate sufficient data for forecasters to make meaningful predictions.The larger amount of data on more items will make patterns easier to see and provide a more accurate forecast. Top-down forecasting works well for budget and strategy planning because it successfully predicts the big picture of overall sales.”

“One of the benefits of top-down financial forecasting is that it avoids statistical outliers—the data-swings—common to lower-level facts and figures. Because of this, a top down approach offers companies a broader picture of revenue potential and can help them identify sales patterns.” (quickbooks)

A top down approach is driven on market demand. Keeping track of historical trending data and/or the sales pipeline to gauge expected revenue is necessary. Then, align your organization’s expenses. The challenge is whether or not the business is structured to capitalize on market demand–a high market demand means you may be losing opportunity if you don’t have the necessary resources aligned internally. Combine employee planned hours, billing rates, and planned revenue data with potential revenue. The result is a revenue model driven directly from planned and unplanned data.

We have detailed info about this  here  ,& please subscribe to our newsletter so you are ALWAYS up to date.

Adversity: How Will You Respond?

Last month I wrote about having the ability, when facing adversity, to have “FEAR.”  Face Everything and Rise. Today, I continue to expand on that. Are you ready to face adversity?

For those of you that don’t know, I have been a football coach for 25 years. This passion of mine comes from a desire to educate. I want to teach young men about life. I feel confident saying you cannot learn the necessary traits needed to equip you for life anywhere else but in battle. Whether that battle be a literal battle, on a football field, in the workplace, how choose to fight will shape your life. On a football field, at any given moment, adversity can strike. As a CEO/Quarterback, I know I need to keep calm when I am thrust into the throes of these battles.

One thing is for certain, in football, just like in life, you must always stay humble. The person who weathers the storm with grace can calmly make decisions while chaos breaks loose. There is no better life lesson for a young man or woman participating in athletics, or any professional, than to put them to the test. When we push ourselves to escape our limits we remove the fear of failure and become proud. The human mind and body are incredible but spirit is often overlooked. As CEO’s we look at analytics surrounding our potential new hires but we often don’t ask the questions that truly separate one from the other; ‘’Tell me about a situation in your life that didn’t go well and how did you respond?” No degree from a top school or amazing athletic scholarship can beat heart and soul.

When your spirit cannot be broken then it’s likely you will be successful.

Football is like life. We need the adversity to prove our worth. We need to see how much we can take. Those of you in management positions reading this blog know that when you push your employees to rise, they will. The ones that can’t or don’t usually move on to lesser roles because they know their limit or are afraid to push themselves–afraid of FEAR

So this month’s wisdom to all of you out there, crave adversity! For it is within the challenging moments of life, the critical points, where the winners show up. Challenge yourself today to do something out of your comfort zone.

Let’s get out there and have a great October!

FEAR: Face Everything and Rise

Wow, what a month! And I’m not saying that as happy guy who just beat his numbers and exceeded expectations. No, I’m saying that like a man staring down a locomotive while tied to the racks.

This has been a tough month, but my team rode it out.

When I was a young man, a very good friend of mine said, “John, life is difficult and once you understand that it gets a whole lot easier.”

When life is tough, I often revert to that statement. The moment I first heard this, I felt like life was REALLY hard. This feeling can strike you at any time in your life and sometimes more than once. That fear will punch you in the gut and give you a reality check that you desperately don’t want. How you react to that fear will define you as a person.

“Life is difficult.” I understand that now, and it has become a mantra. Be grateful for today, grateful to fail and to have opportunity,  grateful for family, friends, co-workers and teammates.  It’s not going to be easy every day. It’s going to be difficult. So go ahead….have FEAR.

FEAR = Face Everything And Rise

When it seems like it’s all going bad, you need passion for your job or whatever it is to take you through it. If you don’t have the passion to get through the tough spots, you will fail. Face what is hard & rise up.

This month was not what I expect from me or from my team at 9DOTS. What are we doing about it? I know what we aren’t doing. We aren’t taking it on the chin or quitting.  We will rise. When you feel like you are struggling, sometimes you can forget that the opportunity for change is there for you to seize at any moment. Change happens every day: a sunrise on a brand new day. The beginning of a new week, a new month, a new quarter, a new year.

Life is difficult. Understanding life and living it is a journey. Change is the only constant. When something occurs that gives you pause, face it, study it, rise over the challenge.

Einstein said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.” If you aren’t getting the result you’re expecting, CHANGE! Tomorrow is a new day. Soon after you read this, there will be a new minute, a new hour. Don’t wait. Make it happen.

From Einstein to Rocky Balboa. There is inspiration all over for you to use as motivation. Rocky Balboa says something I think about often,

“The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place… and I don´t care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently, if you let it. You, me or nobody, is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you hit… It’s about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward… how much you can take, and keep moving forward. That´s how winning is done. Now, if you know what you’re worth, go out and get what you’re worth. But you gotta be willing to take the hits.“

August, we took the hits, but we WILL keep moving forward. We have FEAR.

Be the change you want in life. Know that “life is difficult.” Have the passion and the will to overcome the tough spots, be grateful for the tough spots. There is a new opportunity to improve happening every minute, every hour and every day. Take the hits.

FACE EVERYTHING AND RISE. That’s how winning is done!