Five Critical Steps to Maximize Resource Flexibility

Article previously appeared on Mainstreet.com (2009) Companies of all sizes have historically relied upon their workforce to provide the flexibility necessary to compete.  Unfortunately, compensation and benefit costs have created a dilemma - business can’t afford to...

How to Bring in the First Customer

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. (MainStreet) -- Would you do business with someone you don't know? What about someone who hasn't been in business very long? Would you want to be the guinea pig for a new product or technology? Would you risk your health, wealth, life or...

Getting Business Is Easier Than Getting Paid

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Eavesdropping is not intentional, but some days you just can't help but overhear a conversation in a restaurant. I recently had one of those days. As I was sitting on the terrace of one of my favorite restaurants, carving out some time for...

Does Your Business Need an iPhone 5? Really?

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. (MainStreet) -- One of the toughest financial controls an organization can put in place is evaluating expenditures in terms of need -- for instance, if you can't do business without it -- versus want, which are those things that are nice...

Is Your Business a National Debt Crisis Look-Alike?

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The debt clock is ticking up to over $16 trillion. Student loan debt (which has exceeded $1 trillion) now exceeds credit card debt (approximately $800 billion). Politicians are debating its impact and how to address it. But any way you look at...

The Four Pillars of Peak Business Performance

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Getting your organization to work at maximum performance requires everyone to work together toward common goals and objectives. It also requires each person to be clear on role and responsibilities, as well as being accountable for success (or...

It Doesn’t Work for Long When Managers ‘Work the Numbers’

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Many inexperienced (and even some experienced) managers and executives get caught up in the "management" of internal issues and "working the numbers." They forget that serving the customer is the objective. Let me tell you about a company we'll...

Business CPR: Cash, Prospects and Revenues

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- It doesn't matter what your prospects are a year from now or a month from now, if you can't pay your employees and vendors today. Cash flow determines whether you stay in business or close your doors. Understanding your cash flow cycle (the...

Power Is a Scarce Commodity For Mobile Entrepreneurs

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The more technology I acquire and the more mobile I am, the more convinced I am that we need more power outlets. There never seem to be enough available outlets (or sometimes not any!) for all the people with computers or other devices in any...

Sales Tax Isn’t Killing Your Store

NEW YORK (TheStreet) — The media is constantly buzzing about real world retailers being unable to compete against online stores that provide the same merchandise. The stories often focus on the advantage online retailers have in avoiding charging sales taxes. But in reality the advantage isn’t all about the taxes: It is often about variety of products, availability, the price, and when you can get the product.

How to Grow Your Business, One Relationship at a Time – Network!

Grow Your Business — Build Relationships Previously published in MWorld, The Journal of the American Management Association Volume 8, Number 3 Summer/Fall 2009 In today’s economic uncertainty, having a solid network can help your organization. However, it isn’t easy...

Sales Constraints – What’s holding us back?

ARE YOU OPERATING AT peak performance? Do you spend more dollars for less return? When you invest to expand capacity, does it translate into more results (revenues and profits)? If not, you’re investing in the wrong option.Here are 10 constraints: lack of clear...

Fiscal growth starts with local needs

[This article appeared in the November 26, 2010 Triangle Business Journal] Fiscal growth starts with local needs Can North Carolina compete in the world market if our state government and its surrogates continue to ignore fresh expertise within our own borders? More...

Five Critical Steps to Maximize Resource Flexibility

Article previously appeared on Mainstreet.com (2009) Companies of all sizes have historically relied upon their workforce to provide the flexibility necessary to compete.  Unfortunately, compensation and benefit costs have created a dilemma - business can’t afford to...

How to Bring in the First Customer

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. (MainStreet) -- Would you do business with someone you don't know? What about someone who hasn't been in business very long? Would you want to be the guinea pig for a new product or technology? Would you risk your health, wealth, life or...

Getting Business Is Easier Than Getting Paid

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Eavesdropping is not intentional, but some days you just can't help but overhear a conversation in a restaurant. I recently had one of those days. As I was sitting on the terrace of one of my favorite restaurants, carving out some time for...

Does Your Business Need an iPhone 5? Really?

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. (MainStreet) -- One of the toughest financial controls an organization can put in place is evaluating expenditures in terms of need -- for instance, if you can't do business without it -- versus want, which are those things that are nice...

Is Your Business a National Debt Crisis Look-Alike?

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The debt clock is ticking up to over $16 trillion. Student loan debt (which has exceeded $1 trillion) now exceeds credit card debt (approximately $800 billion). Politicians are debating its impact and how to address it. But any way you look at...

The Four Pillars of Peak Business Performance

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Getting your organization to work at maximum performance requires everyone to work together toward common goals and objectives. It also requires each person to be clear on role and responsibilities, as well as being accountable for success (or...

It Doesn’t Work for Long When Managers ‘Work the Numbers’

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Many inexperienced (and even some experienced) managers and executives get caught up in the "management" of internal issues and "working the numbers." They forget that serving the customer is the objective. Let me tell you about a company we'll...

Business CPR: Cash, Prospects and Revenues

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- It doesn't matter what your prospects are a year from now or a month from now, if you can't pay your employees and vendors today. Cash flow determines whether you stay in business or close your doors. Understanding your cash flow cycle (the...

Power Is a Scarce Commodity For Mobile Entrepreneurs

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The more technology I acquire and the more mobile I am, the more convinced I am that we need more power outlets. There never seem to be enough available outlets (or sometimes not any!) for all the people with computers or other devices in any...

Sales Tax Isn’t Killing Your Store

NEW YORK (TheStreet) — The media is constantly buzzing about real world retailers being unable to compete against online stores that provide the same merchandise. The stories often focus on the advantage online retailers have in avoiding charging sales taxes. But in reality the advantage isn’t all about the taxes: It is often about variety of products, availability, the price, and when you can get the product.

Today’s Jobless, Tomorrow’s Entrepreneurs

Every day we read about higher unemployment rates, lack of job creation and projections that the outlook is unlikely to change soon. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics recognizes that the majority of new jobs will come from small businesses. The reality is, many of...

Loose Lips Sink Companies — Or Employment

I have an increasing concern that meeting in public places is leading to carelessness when it comes to confidential information. At this moment, I'm sitting in a restaurant waiting for a meeting. In the past five minutes the conversation in the next booth has become...

Motivate Change to Get Desired Performance

How to Motivate Change One of the most basic things we need to understand about change is that it is personal. People must choose to change. People can be influenced to change by external sources (e.g., other people, events); however, for true change to occur and be...

Overtime Eligibility and Minimum Wage Increases – How to Survive Rising Labor Costs

Changes in Overtime Regulations to Expand Eligibility – the Impact on Your Business The change in overtime eligibility will impact an estimated 4.1 million businesses – small and large across the United States. The minimum wage increase will have varying impact as the...

Overtime Impact and Minimum Wage Increases – Labor Costs Rise

Overtime Impact from Eligibility Rule Change and Increases in Minimum Wage: Labor Costs Rise The overtime impact from new eligibility rule and minimum wage increases are this year’s hot-button issue for small business relates to rising labor/wage costs. This is a...

Five Critical Steps to Maximize Resource Flexibility

Article previously appeared on Mainstreet.com (2009) Companies of all sizes have historically relied upon their workforce to provide the flexibility necessary to compete.  Unfortunately, compensation and benefit costs have created a dilemma - business can’t afford to...

The Cost of 1099s

We knew there might be things in the healthcare bill that would surprise us. What we didn’t know was that these items would extend beyond healthcare benefits and costs. Within the thousands of pages of healthcare “reform” was buried the mandate that W-9 forms would be...

The Coffee Pot Syndrome

You may not recognize the phenomena by name, but many have experienced it. The coffee pot syndrome (CPS) is the first signal that a business has performance issues. CPS occurs when a business isn't achieving profitability objectives and starts looking for ways to cut...

Payroll Systems – It Pays To Get It Right!

Payroll is one of the “simple” business tasks that we often think that anyone can handle. After all it is just math, right? For those of us who aren’t either experienced in payroll issues or payroll professionals trained in the complexity of complying with local,...

RETURN ON INVESTMENT – Structure and People

Previous articles have discussed the importance of having the right people who are doing the right things and being accountable for achieving specific results in your organization. To achieve the maximum return on investment in your people, the organization's...

Management Styles: Drive-by, Seagulls and Other Pains

Tough, fair, frank, straight-forward, reliable: All words that would, in my opinion, be descriptions of the type of manager you would be glad to have as a boss or working for you. Drive-by, seagull, and pain in the anatomy are not descriptions that readily come to...

Investor Due Diligence

As a potential investor in a company, do you and your team know what questions to ask? When you ask the questions, do you probe beyond the surface to verify the elements of the answers? Are there areas which could potentially put your investment at risk that you don’t...

Business by the Numbers: Financial Oversight

Internal Controls and Financial Oversight When it comes to growing your business, you can't afford to not understand the financial perspective of their business. Whether it is the day-to-day performance, budgets, taxes, or other aspects of accounting for your...

Overtime Eligibility and Minimum Wage Increases – How to Survive Rising Labor Costs

Changes in Overtime Regulations to Expand Eligibility – the Impact on Your Business The change in overtime eligibility will impact an estimated 4.1 million businesses – small and large across the United States. The minimum wage increase will have varying impact as the...

Business Danger Signs: Is Your Business the Frog in the Pot?

A business danger signs may be ignored or unnoticed, much like a frog in a pot of water on a stove. Yes, I am talking about the the experiment with a frog and a pot of hot water. If you put the frog in the pot and the water is boiling, he hops out fast! But when you...

Overtime Impact and Minimum Wage Increases – Labor Costs Rise

Overtime Impact from Eligibility Rule Change and Increases in Minimum Wage: Labor Costs Rise The overtime impact from new eligibility rule and minimum wage increases are this year’s hot-button issue for small business relates to rising labor/wage costs. This is a...

How to Develop Business Growth Goals

  Goals have to be personalized to your organization. While the majority of businesses may choose to set a sales goal¾as dollars or percentage increase¾the actual goal amount has to be set based on the current results, capabilities, resources, and long-term...

Business Growth – Analyze Results to Grow

Business growth is about changing the organization to do more of what is working and less of what isn’t. Furthermore, it is about equipping the organization, the team, and the systems to maximize results while optimally utilizing resources. To ensure business growth,...

Where Is My Cash Flow?

What do I do about customers who consistently pay late? Why does it seem that the money flows out faster than it flows in? These are significant questions for every business. Managing the cash flow is critical to a business's viability. The cash flow equation and...

The Tax Man Cometh: A Major Milestone to Becoming Profitable

Becoming a profitable business is an objective that most companies seek, both as a stated goal and as a day-to-day objective. Businesses of all sizes and types, industries, and stages all look forward to profitability. However, as the old saying goes, the two...

The Heart of Innovation: Leadership

Where does innovation take place? What drives innovation? Can an environment be created that fosters innovation? If so, can the opposite also be true? Do organizations hinder innovation by how they are structured and how they are managed? Where can the heart of...

The Cost of 1099s

We knew there might be things in the healthcare bill that would surprise us. What we didn’t know was that these items would extend beyond healthcare benefits and costs. Within the thousands of pages of healthcare “reform” was buried the mandate that W-9 forms would be...

Organic or Cultivated Clients? Which Do You Want?

These days the term “organic” seems ubiquitous.  Organic has come to mean more than the traditional dictionary definition. In this instance, I want to talk about organic growth as it relates to a natural process that is without direct intervention or influence....

Haste Makes Waste: Do It Right the First Time

Haste makes waste is a common saying. Another common saying is time is money. Time, like money, is always in short supply in organizations. Every moment is precious, so the question is: “If you don’t have time to spare, how do you have time to fix a problem when you...

Where is Your Business Located? Realist Road

Normally when I am writing about the location of your business, I am focused on the physical or virtual locations of the business. Today I want to focus on the mental or psychological location of your perspective on your business. In working with clients, the success...

Strategic Plan: Your Five-Year Roadmap to Success

Too often, the owners of many businesses of all sizes and industries don’t see the need for a strategic plan. They make critical decisions on which deals to do, what systems to put in place, and who to hire based on the current vision of the business. They focus on...

Is your Business Performance FINE?

Does your day start something like this? “How are you today?” “Fine.” This is a typical exchange that occurs for most of us daily. A variation is going to a networking event or business function and “How’s business?” “Fine.” But is your business really FINE?...

Business by the Numbers: Financial Oversight

Internal Controls and Financial Oversight When it comes to growing your business, you can't afford to not understand the financial perspective of their business. Whether it is the day-to-day performance, budgets, taxes, or other aspects of accounting for your...

It IS About the Customer! Know and Serve Them.

Whether our organization is for-profit, not-for-profit, or a government agency, what we do is about the customer. Sometimes we forget that. We get so caught up in "the business" that we lose sight of "the customer." What’s worse is that sometimes we aren't really sure...

Check Your Priorities: Real World Lessons Learned

Many years ago (I won’t say how many), I had a new boss (we’ll call him “Kevin”). He was actually my supervisor’s boss. Kevin had spent most of his career in communication roles (he created presentations and documents to give to the board.) When Kevin came from a part...

Looking Inside the Gig Economy with GigSalad CEO/Founder Mark Steiner

If you are in the music industry or other creative endeavors (e.g., acting, speaking), then you have been living in a “gig economy”[1] for your entire career. Gigs have been around for centuries. However, the gig has come to a new level of visibility in recent years...

10 Elements of Successful Businesses

While every business has elements that are unique to it. Every successful business shares common characteristics with other successful businesses. Concept The first element of a successful business is a clear concept of what the business is and does. This concept is...

Organic or Cultivated Clients? Which Do You Want?

These days the term “organic” seems ubiquitous.  Organic has come to mean more than the traditional dictionary definition. In this instance, I want to talk about organic growth as it relates to a natural process that is without direct intervention or influence....

Haste Makes Waste: Do It Right the First Time

Haste makes waste is a common saying. Another common saying is time is money. Time, like money, is always in short supply in organizations. Every moment is precious, so the question is: “If you don’t have time to spare, how do you have time to fix a problem when you...

Strategic Plan: Your Five-Year Roadmap to Success

Too often, the owners of many businesses of all sizes and industries don’t see the need for a strategic plan. They make critical decisions on which deals to do, what systems to put in place, and who to hire based on the current vision of the business. They focus on...

Is your Business Performance FINE?

Does your day start something like this? “How are you today?” “Fine.” This is a typical exchange that occurs for most of us daily. A variation is going to a networking event or business function and “How’s business?” “Fine.” But is your business really FINE?...

Motivate Change to Get Desired Performance

How to Motivate Change One of the most basic things we need to understand about change is that it is personal. People must choose to change. People can be influenced to change by external sources (e.g., other people, events); however, for true change to occur and be...

It IS About the Customer! Know and Serve Them.

Whether our organization is for-profit, not-for-profit, or a government agency, what we do is about the customer. Sometimes we forget that. We get so caught up in "the business" that we lose sight of "the customer." What’s worse is that sometimes we aren't really sure...

Check Your Priorities: Real World Lessons Learned

Many years ago (I won’t say how many), I had a new boss (we’ll call him “Kevin”). He was actually my supervisor’s boss. Kevin had spent most of his career in communication roles (he created presentations and documents to give to the board.) When Kevin came from a part...

Dishonest Clients – Dangerous and Unprepared

Dishonest Clients After all these years in business, I am still amazed when I encounter a dishonest client. It is doubly confounding when the client is not only dishonest, but also inexperienced and unsophisticated in the intricacies of business. It is especially true...

Business Danger Signs: Is Your Business the Frog in the Pot?

A business danger signs may be ignored or unnoticed, much like a frog in a pot of water on a stove. Yes, I am talking about the the experiment with a frog and a pot of hot water. If you put the frog in the pot and the water is boiling, he hops out fast! But when you...

Is the Glass Half Full? Half Empty? Or is it the Wrong Glass?

One of my friends was telling me about a discussion she had with her eighteen-year-old son. They were talking literally about a glass of Dr. Pepper. “Is the glass half full or half empty?” she asked her son. He said he thought she just used the wrong glass. If she had...

Business by the Numbers: Financial Oversight

Internal Controls and Financial Oversight When it comes to growing your business, you can't afford to not understand the financial perspective of their business. Whether it is the day-to-day performance, budgets, taxes, or other aspects of accounting for your...

Business Danger Signs: Is Your Business the Frog in the Pot?

A business danger signs may be ignored or unnoticed, much like a frog in a pot of water on a stove. Yes, I am talking about the the experiment with a frog and a pot of hot water. If you put the frog in the pot and the water is boiling, he hops out fast! But when you...

10 Elements of Successful Businesses

While every business has elements that are unique to it. Every successful business shares common characteristics with other successful businesses. Concept The first element of a successful business is a clear concept of what the business is and does. This concept is...

Open Doors, Closed Minds: Listening Well and Making Informed Decisions

Have you ever worked for someone that proudly stated they had an “open door” policy? Was their door really open to new ideas, feedback, information, and issues? Or was the door physically open but the mind closed? Perhaps you work for someone that has an open door...

Customer Service From the Customer Perspective

This week a service provider demonstrated to me how important I was to her and her business. Let me share the story. I arrived for my appointment 20 minutes early and made myself comfortable on a bench outside her office suite. I could see through the glass wall that...

The Entrepreneurial Weeble® – The Lesson of Resilience

Once again I am going to date myself by referring to a product from my childhood; this one was called a Weeble® made by Hasbro. A Weeble® was an egg-shaped humanoid toy, and no matter how you dropped, punched, or knocked it over would spring back up right....

Sometimes You Just Have to Laugh

The only thing we truly have choices about and control of is our reactions (to people, events). While it is often challenging or nearly impossible to "be reasonable" in our reactions to things that happen and things people do, channeling the energy we lose to things...

“Owning” the Business

You may be the business owner, but do you really own your business? “What is the difference?” you may be asking. Well, it comes down to whether you are truly taking responsibility and accountability for making things happen— especially the making the hard calls, the...

Do You Own Your Business?

You may be the owner of a business, but do you OWN the business? Are you taking on the roles and responsibilities of making things happen? Are you stepping up to understand what’s happening, what’s supposed to happen, and most—if not all—the requirements of running,...

Distinguish between Your Role as an Owner and an Employee

When a business has two or more owners taking an active role in running the business (acting as employees), it is necessary to distinguish between decisions made as owners and those made when in the employee role.   Significant conflicts can arise and contribute to...

Strategic Plan: Your Five-Year Roadmap to Success

Too often, the owners of many businesses of all sizes and industries don’t see the need for a strategic plan. They make critical decisions on which deals to do, what systems to put in place, and who to hire based on the current vision of the business. They focus on...

Is your Business Performance FINE?

Does your day start something like this? “How are you today?” “Fine.” This is a typical exchange that occurs for most of us daily. A variation is going to a networking event or business function and “How’s business?” “Fine.” But is your business really FINE?...

Use This Formula To Write A Solid Business Plan In 30 Minutes Or Less

A 30-minute Business Plan is Better than No Plan A little back-of-the-envelope arithmetic now might save your company from screwing up big time later. A client of mine is starting a new retail business, and she's finding that setting up the operations is pretty...

Is Franchising for You?

Many businesses consider franchising as a strategic method of expanding their operations and financial results. But how do you know if franchising is for You? Let’s start with the benefits of franchising: Building your team with quality, motivated people. Because of...

SMARTer Goals for Business (Excerpt from 10 Minute Success: Goals!

SMART2 Goals for Business The typical “SMART” goal is defined as specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely. Another way of looking at these goals could be called SMART2. This means that SMART goals for businesses also need to be: – Strategic: Long-term,...

The Long and Winding Road to Success

Sometimes it takes a different perspective in order to see things that are already mapped out in front of you. It can be a new employee coming into the company. It can be the loss of a major customer that you thought of as one that would “always” be there no matter...

The Accounting Cycle and Business Decisions

When we think of a business, we must think in terms of activities that produce resources and those that use resources. Everyone and everything in the organization is engaged in creating or consuming resources, or in some instances both. People who are paid for their...

Strategic Plans and Budgets – Performance Tools

Understanding how to get the most out of your strategic plan is important. A robust strategic planning process includes translating the strategic and operational objectives into pro forma financial results. These financial results, like the strategic plan, typically...

Firefighting: Is It Destroying Your Business?

An inordinate amount of your work time may be devoted to “fighting fires” and dealing with last-minute “emergency” situations. The “fire” may be an irate customer; a proposal for prospective client required by close of business today, or even the “normal” day-to-day...

Can The Business Have Moving Targets?

The answer to this question depends upon two things: the context of the question and the timeframe being discussed. As a part of normal business processes - performance targets, budgets, sales forecasts, and so on - a specific target is set. For example, achieve...

Organic or Cultivated Clients? Which Do You Want?

These days the term “organic” seems ubiquitous.  Organic has come to mean more than the traditional dictionary definition. In this instance, I want to talk about organic growth as it relates to a natural process that is without direct intervention or influence....

Haste Makes Waste: Do It Right the First Time

Haste makes waste is a common saying. Another common saying is time is money. Time, like money, is always in short supply in organizations. Every moment is precious, so the question is: “If you don’t have time to spare, how do you have time to fix a problem when you...

Strategic Plan: Your Five-Year Roadmap to Success

Too often, the owners of many businesses of all sizes and industries don’t see the need for a strategic plan. They make critical decisions on which deals to do, what systems to put in place, and who to hire based on the current vision of the business. They focus on...

Is your Business Performance FINE?

Does your day start something like this? “How are you today?” “Fine.” This is a typical exchange that occurs for most of us daily. A variation is going to a networking event or business function and “How’s business?” “Fine.” But is your business really FINE?...

Customer Focused?

Is Your Business Customer Focused or Trying to Be All Things to All People? I love the single-cup beverage systems. When I want something to drink, I don’t have to boil an entire pot of water, coffee or tea. I can choose my drink of preference, pop in the single cup,...

Business Concept – Validating Your Idea

Crazy Ideas and Business Concept Many highly successful businesses have been started on ideas other people thought were crazy.  Many unsuccessful businesses were started as "sure things."  How do you know before you start if your idea is worthwhile?  How do you...

10 Elements of Successful Businesses

While every business has elements that are unique to it. Every successful business shares common characteristics with other successful businesses. Concept The first element of a successful business is a clear concept of what the business is and does. This concept is...

Business by the Numbers: Financial Oversight

Internal Controls and Financial Oversight When it comes to growing your business, you can't afford to not understand the financial perspective of their business. Whether it is the day-to-day performance, budgets, taxes, or other aspects of accounting for your...

Where Is My Cash Flow?

What do I do about customers who consistently pay late? Why does it seem that the money flows out faster than it flows in? These are significant questions for every business. Managing the cash flow is critical to a business's viability. The cash flow equation and...

The Tax Man Cometh: A Major Milestone to Becoming Profitable

Becoming a profitable business is an objective that most companies seek, both as a stated goal and as a day-to-day objective. Businesses of all sizes and types, industries, and stages all look forward to profitability. However, as the old saying goes, the two...

Cash: Survival in Tough Economic Times

A business survives on cash. Making sales may be the objective, but if you don’t collect the cash from a sale in the appropriate amount of time, then making a sale is not enough. A sale needs to be profitable, and that includes a factor for contributing to a...

Cash Management – Not Paying the Bills

Every day it seems we hear about the Enron, Worldcom, ImClone and other "big business" ethical violations.  There is no denying the significant impact on millions of people and the financial markets.  However, there is a business practice that I've witnessed as part...

Cash Flow Not Flowing? Don’t Cut Your Marketing Efforts!

One of the biggest mistakes new businesses make involves marketing and advertising the business. They either do too much, too little, the wrong type, or stop too soon when results are being seen or when cash gets tight. The adage “You have to spend money to make...

Business CPR – Cash, Prospects and Revenues

It doesn’t matter what your prospects are one year from now or a month from now, if you can’t pay your employees and vendors today. Cash flow determines whether you are in business or closing your doors. So understanding your cash flow cycle – the amount of time it...

Business Interruptions and Their Impact on Profits

When you sit down and think about all the things that can disrupt your business operations, you can probably identify and prepare for many.  Things like weather, public services disruptions, public protests, strikes, loss of a key employee, software malfunction,...

Motivate Change to Get Desired Performance

How to Motivate Change One of the most basic things we need to understand about change is that it is personal. People must choose to change. People can be influenced to change by external sources (e.g., other people, events); however, for true change to occur and be...

Is Franchising for You?

Many businesses consider franchising as a strategic method of expanding their operations and financial results. But how do you know if franchising is for You? Let’s start with the benefits of franchising: Building your team with quality, motivated people. Because of...

Tools Required – Capability Imperative

Every task requires the right tools. Building a successful business is a task like no other. It requires a comprehensive set of tools which fit the task. Using one tool when another is required often leads to unanticipated consequences. Having the right tool isn't...

Too Big, Too Soon – Too Far, Too Fast

Enthusiasm. Confidence. Passion. Belief. All of these are important to the success of any new venture. They can also be the biggest pitfalls for the new venture. The momentum and the drive to do everything at once can lead an entrepreneurial team to expand before the...

Time Out for Innovation

One of the biggest mistakes businesses—or any organization today—make is a failure to allow time for working on the business itself. Current business practices have created a mindset that has every worker (theoretically at least) working every moment in the business...

Time Is a Constant – It Runs One Way

“We don’t have time to do it that way.” How many times have you heard that said or said it yourself? How about the alternative “If you don’t have time to do it right, when are you going to find the time to redo it right?” What is it going to cost you if you have to do...

The Business Cold: No Miracle Cures

In these days of sound bites and quick fixes, one-size-fits-most solutions seem to be as prevalent as the common cold and as hard to treat and cure. Most people probably have had the experience of someone from their organization reading a book or attending a...

The Way We’ve Always Done It

Have you ever driven home or to work only to arrive and not remember how you got there? You recall getting in your vehicle and starting the engine, but after that—nothing. You did what you’ve always done to get from point A to point B, but you did it on automatic...

Aura of Approachability

Two women are sitting in a restaurant. Each is sitting alone at a table, working on a laptop. The restaurant is full of people ebbing and flowing from the tables. Both are busy doing work and not interacting or even looking up from the computers to notice what is...

Munchausen Management

If you are a fan of medical or police shows, you may have heard of Munchausen syndrome.  The layperson’s explanation of Munchausen syndrome is that a person creates a physical or mental disorder to get attention.  These individuals often will put themselves at...

Dishonest Clients – Dangerous and Unprepared

Dishonest Clients After all these years in business, I am still amazed when I encounter a dishonest client. It is doubly confounding when the client is not only dishonest, but also inexperienced and unsophisticated in the intricacies of business. It is especially true...

Customer Focused?

Is Your Business Customer Focused or Trying to Be All Things to All People? I love the single-cup beverage systems. When I want something to drink, I don’t have to boil an entire pot of water, coffee or tea. I can choose my drink of preference, pop in the single cup,...

10 Elements of Successful Businesses

While every business has elements that are unique to it. Every successful business shares common characteristics with other successful businesses. Concept The first element of a successful business is a clear concept of what the business is and does. This concept is...

Validating Your Business Concept

To know whether or not you have a viable business concept, you have to comprehensively define (on paper) your thoughts, ideas, and vision. You also need to gather information related to those ideas: market size, competitors, pricing, and so on. With that information...

Vision, Strategy, Structure, and Results

The successful organization - one that is both productive currently and viable long term - has integrated the vision, strategy, and structure of the organization to enable financial success. The ability of an organization to achieve every iota of success it is capable...

Timelines and Deadlines: Customers and Investors Wait for No One

When it comes to getting things done, missing the timeline may mean a deadline missed—with an emphasis on the DEAD line of business or opportunity. At times, people mistake courtesy and diplomacy as a signal that it is okay to miss a deadline. I’m not advocating being...

Time Out for Innovation

One of the biggest mistakes businesses—or any organization today—make is a failure to allow time for working on the business itself. Current business practices have created a mindset that has every worker (theoretically at least) working every moment in the business...

Think B.I.G.™ (Bold Innovative Growth) Business!

Innovation is the new quality initiative. Everyone is “into” innovation. It is the new revolution that is going to revolutionize declining industries, markets, and businesses. And it can—if it is more than rhetoric and becomes an integrated systemic capability in the...

Product, Resources, and Customers – The Three-fold Objective

Every organization begins with the same three-fold objective: develop the “product”, obtain sufficient resources, and capture the market/customer. The manifestations of this three-fold mission vary in magnitude, scope, and timing. The underlying processes and...

The Tyranny of Customer Choice

A truism for any organization is that its customers have choices. They can chose from a range of products, services, and alternatives to satisfy their needs, from doing nothing to “do it yourself,” to doing it the most expensive way possible to finding a cheap...

Organic or Cultivated Clients? Which Do You Want?

These days the term “organic” seems ubiquitous.  Organic has come to mean more than the traditional dictionary definition. In this instance, I want to talk about organic growth as it relates to a natural process that is without direct intervention or influence....

Where is Your Business Located? Realist Road

Normally when I am writing about the location of your business, I am focused on the physical or virtual locations of the business. Today I want to focus on the mental or psychological location of your perspective on your business. In working with clients, the success...

Strategic Plan: Your Five-Year Roadmap to Success

Too often, the owners of many businesses of all sizes and industries don’t see the need for a strategic plan. They make critical decisions on which deals to do, what systems to put in place, and who to hire based on the current vision of the business. They focus on...

Is your Business Performance FINE?

Does your day start something like this? “How are you today?” “Fine.” This is a typical exchange that occurs for most of us daily. A variation is going to a networking event or business function and “How’s business?” “Fine.” But is your business really FINE?...

Customer Disservice – How to Kill Your Business

Customer Disservice – How About a Hello and a Smile I am constantly amazed at how businesses invest so much time, money, and effort getting customers to literally walk in the door of their business, and when the customer gets there the greeting is less than...

Customer Focused?

Is Your Business Customer Focused or Trying to Be All Things to All People? I love the single-cup beverage systems. When I want something to drink, I don’t have to boil an entire pot of water, coffee or tea. I can choose my drink of preference, pop in the single cup,...

Looking Inside the Gig Economy with GigSalad CEO/Founder Mark Steiner

If you are in the music industry or other creative endeavors (e.g., acting, speaking), then you have been living in a “gig economy”[1] for your entire career. Gigs have been around for centuries. However, the gig has come to a new level of visibility in recent years...

Real Customer Service – Going Off Script

There is nothing and I mean nothing that frustrates me, ticks me off, and causes me to stop using a product faster than dealing with the people on the “customer service” lines of businesses. I don’t know about you, but whenever I have an issue and call one of those...

10 Elements of Successful Businesses

While every business has elements that are unique to it. Every successful business shares common characteristics with other successful businesses. Concept The first element of a successful business is a clear concept of what the business is and does. This concept is...

Open Doors, Closed Minds: Listening Well and Making Informed Decisions

Have you ever worked for someone that proudly stated they had an “open door” policy? Was their door really open to new ideas, feedback, information, and issues? Or was the door physically open but the mind closed? Perhaps you work for someone that has an open door...

Imperfect Pitches You Can’t Make Them … or Stop Them

Tough Lessons: You Can’t Make Them … or Stop Them Parents know it and live it. Consultants and other advisors have to learn it. You can’t force anyone to make a wise choice or the best decisions. You can't stop companies from making imperfect pitches to potential...

Business Concept – Validating Your Idea

Crazy Ideas and Business Concept Many highly successful businesses have been started on ideas other people thought were crazy.  Many unsuccessful businesses were started as "sure things."  How do you know before you start if your idea is worthwhile?  How do you...

10 Elements of Successful Businesses

While every business has elements that are unique to it. Every successful business shares common characteristics with other successful businesses. Concept The first element of a successful business is a clear concept of what the business is and does. This concept is...

Validating Your Business Concept

To know whether or not you have a viable business concept, you have to comprehensively define (on paper) your thoughts, ideas, and vision. You also need to gather information related to those ideas: market size, competitors, pricing, and so on. With that information...

Product, Resources, and Customers – The Three-fold Objective

Every organization begins with the same three-fold objective: develop the “product”, obtain sufficient resources, and capture the market/customer. The manifestations of this three-fold mission vary in magnitude, scope, and timing. The underlying processes and...

Proof of Concept – Poised for Success

Proof of Concept - Poised for Success If you've heard the phrase "proof of concept," then you have probably seen it in reference to proving a particular product or technology.  Proof of concept most commonly refers to demonstrating that the functionality of a product...

Imperfect Pitches You Can’t Make Them … or Stop Them

Tough Lessons: You Can’t Make Them … or Stop Them Parents know it and live it. Consultants and other advisors have to learn it. You can’t force anyone to make a wise choice or the best decisions. You can't stop companies from making imperfect pitches to potential...

Crowdfunding: The Taxman Cometh

Crowdfunding - Category Determines Taxation Crowdfunding, like campaigns you see on sites like Kickstarter or GoFundMe, can essentially be categorized into three types of transactions: Equity investment – the funds received purchase ownership interest. Gift – the...

Where is Your Business Located? Realist Road

Normally when I am writing about the location of your business, I am focused on the physical or virtual locations of the business. Today I want to focus on the mental or psychological location of your perspective on your business. In working with clients, the success...

Strategic Plan: Your Five-Year Roadmap to Success

Too often, the owners of many businesses of all sizes and industries don’t see the need for a strategic plan. They make critical decisions on which deals to do, what systems to put in place, and who to hire based on the current vision of the business. They focus on...

Is your Business Performance FINE?

Does your day start something like this? “How are you today?” “Fine.” This is a typical exchange that occurs for most of us daily. A variation is going to a networking event or business function and “How’s business?” “Fine.” But is your business really FINE?...

It IS About the Customer! Know and Serve Them.

Whether our organization is for-profit, not-for-profit, or a government agency, what we do is about the customer. Sometimes we forget that. We get so caught up in "the business" that we lose sight of "the customer." What’s worse is that sometimes we aren't really sure...

Dishonest Clients – Dangerous and Unprepared

Dishonest Clients After all these years in business, I am still amazed when I encounter a dishonest client. It is doubly confounding when the client is not only dishonest, but also inexperienced and unsophisticated in the intricacies of business. It is especially true...

Sales Constraints – What’s holding us back?

ARE YOU OPERATING AT peak performance? Do you spend more dollars for less return? When you invest to expand capacity, does it translate into more results (revenues and profits)? If not, you’re investing in the wrong option.Here are 10 constraints: lack of clear...

How to Grow Your Business, One Relationship at a Time – Network!

Grow Your Business — Build Relationships Previously published in MWorld, The Journal of the American Management Association Volume 8, Number 3 Summer/Fall 2009 In today’s economic uncertainty, having a solid network can help your organization. However, it isn’t easy...

Customer Focused?

Is Your Business Customer Focused or Trying to Be All Things to All People? I love the single-cup beverage systems. When I want something to drink, I don’t have to boil an entire pot of water, coffee or tea. I can choose my drink of preference, pop in the single cup,...

Looking Inside the Gig Economy with GigSalad CEO/Founder Mark Steiner

If you are in the music industry or other creative endeavors (e.g., acting, speaking), then you have been living in a “gig economy”[1] for your entire career. Gigs have been around for centuries. However, the gig has come to a new level of visibility in recent years...

Business Concept – Validating Your Idea

Crazy Ideas and Business Concept Many highly successful businesses have been started on ideas other people thought were crazy.  Many unsuccessful businesses were started as "sure things."  How do you know before you start if your idea is worthwhile?  How do you...

Organic or Cultivated Clients? Which Do You Want?

These days the term “organic” seems ubiquitous.  Organic has come to mean more than the traditional dictionary definition. In this instance, I want to talk about organic growth as it relates to a natural process that is without direct intervention or influence....

Is your Business Performance FINE?

Does your day start something like this? “How are you today?” “Fine.” This is a typical exchange that occurs for most of us daily. A variation is going to a networking event or business function and “How’s business?” “Fine.” But is your business really FINE?...

It IS About the Customer! Know and Serve Them.

Whether our organization is for-profit, not-for-profit, or a government agency, what we do is about the customer. Sometimes we forget that. We get so caught up in "the business" that we lose sight of "the customer." What’s worse is that sometimes we aren't really sure...

Customer Disservice – How to Kill Your Business

Customer Disservice – How About a Hello and a Smile I am constantly amazed at how businesses invest so much time, money, and effort getting customers to literally walk in the door of their business, and when the customer gets there the greeting is less than...

Dishonest Clients – Dangerous and Unprepared

Dishonest Clients After all these years in business, I am still amazed when I encounter a dishonest client. It is doubly confounding when the client is not only dishonest, but also inexperienced and unsophisticated in the intricacies of business. It is especially true...

Customer Focused?

Is Your Business Customer Focused or Trying to Be All Things to All People? I love the single-cup beverage systems. When I want something to drink, I don’t have to boil an entire pot of water, coffee or tea. I can choose my drink of preference, pop in the single cup,...

Real Customer Service – Going Off Script

There is nothing and I mean nothing that frustrates me, ticks me off, and causes me to stop using a product faster than dealing with the people on the “customer service” lines of businesses. I don’t know about you, but whenever I have an issue and call one of those...

Customer Service – Keeping Commitments and Valuing Each Customer

This week a service provider demonstrated to me how important I was to her and her business. Let me share the story. I arrived for my appointment 20 minutes early and made myself comfortable on a bench outside her office suite. I could see through the glass wall that...

Dog or Cat: Which Do You Want As a Vendor?

Have you ever noticed the differences in behavior between dogs and cats? I have always had dogs, never cats for pets, until recently. Two years ago my neighbor’s cat decided to live with us (I am told that is not unusual for a cat). In the past two years I have come...

Customer Service From the Customer Perspective

This week a service provider demonstrated to me how important I was to her and her business. Let me share the story. I arrived for my appointment 20 minutes early and made myself comfortable on a bench outside her office suite. I could see through the glass wall that...

Business Danger Signs: Is Your Business the Frog in the Pot?

A business danger signs may be ignored or unnoticed, much like a frog in a pot of water on a stove. Yes, I am talking about the the experiment with a frog and a pot of hot water. If you put the frog in the pot and the water is boiling, he hops out fast! But when you...

Switzerland Seeks to Decouple Income and Work – An Atlas Shrugged Moment

I am always surprised when life follows fiction (perhaps I shouldn’t be). In Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged1 the world stops working and things start falling apart. As the story unfolds, we learn that the governments of the world essentially step in and redistribute the by...

Jobs! Today’s Unemployed May Be Tomorrow’s Entrepreneurs

Every day we read the news about higher unemployment rates, lack of job creation, and projections that the outlook is unlikely to change in the near term. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics recognizes that the majority of new jobs come from small businesses, and the...

On-shoring – Keeping Business in US

The impact of jobs moving overseas (off-shoring) cannot be fully quantified. It includes the impact on employees, the community, tax revenues, and other intangibles. Keeping business in the US isn't an entitlement. It is and will continue to be a function of ability...

Emerging Competition, And the World Goes ’Round

Today the pace of competition and the facets of competition have never been greater. With the complexity of new markets, more entrants as both customers and competitors, and the need for existing market players to adapt, how businesses have viewed their internal...

Economic Stimulus Fund to Flow to Businesses: Grant and Research Programs Open Taps

The government is utilizing existing agency structures and federal funding assistance programs to award stimulus funding for research and innovation projects. From the Department of Energy, Department of Health and Human Services and others, projects are in the...

Tending to Business: The Role of the Government in a Free-Market System

It should surprise no one that I believe that the success of economies is built on the efforts of the private sector, and that government’s role is to provide oversight to maintain open competition, prevent and detect fraud, and regulate activities to the extent...

Economic Incentives Focused on Big Business, But Where Is the Future?

More and more, it becomes apparent that the government does not—and can not—hold the answers for U.S. competitiveness. At best, the government must be encouraged to get out of the way to enable businesses to be able to compete. Federal, state, and local governments,...

10 Elements of Successful Businesses

While every business has elements that are unique to it. Every successful business shares common characteristics with other successful businesses. Concept The first element of a successful business is a clear concept of what the business is and does. This concept is...

Get Out of the Cubicle and Into (Your Own) Business

Listen to interview of author Lea Strickland by Tony Trupiano about the book Out of the Cubicle and Into Business. Strategic Leaders A Good Story, A Great Business From Ideas to Business  

Think B.I.G.™ (Bold Innovative Growth) Business!

Innovation is the new quality initiative. Everyone is “into” innovation. It is the new revolution that is going to revolutionize declining industries, markets, and businesses. And it can—if it is more than rhetoric and becomes an integrated systemic capability in the...

Small Business, Competitive Markets

While big businesses (especially those traded on public stock exchanges) get the press, the real news—and arguably the differences in day-to-day life and the economy—rest in the small business, in this country and around the world. The majority of existing and new...

Commercialization Components: Technology/Product and Business Model

Commercialization always involves two components – the technology or product AND the business model. The road to commercialization, however, differs for each business due to many factors: Type or nature of the product/technology/service (the “product”) Experience of...

Business Plans Are Not Academic Exercises

Under the current economic conditions, saying that funding is tight for early stage companies is the epitome of understatement. Yes funding is tight, but it is available for sound ideas with well-thought out businesses and experienced business people developing them....

Building a Better Business

The better business is as much about the business itself as it is the product, service, or technology provided. Without a sound business model, the ability to produce, sell, and deliver the product to the customer—consistently and with quality—competing against other...

The Business Plan “Audience”

Previous articles focused on considering a business of your own, defining the elements, planning for the business, and then developing the business plan. Last month's article ended by asking you to capture some of the questions and answers that you would ask of...

The Business Plan – More than Planning the Business

In a previous article, "Planning Your Business," the introduction included the  basic elements to consider when starting your own business. This article delves into differences between “planning your business” and a “business plan.” Business plans presents every...

Planning Your Business

Three months ago, you were asked to think about the kind of business you wanted. In subsequent articles, you’ve been asked to gather information and understand some of what it takes to get a business started. Now it is time to take that step further and begin to plan...

Ethical Integrity: When Keeping Your Word Clashes with Sticking to Your Values

Traditionally men (or women) were measured by their word—if you gave your word, then it was as good as a contract.  In fact, it was a verbal contract. They had the ethical integrity to be bound by their word. When someone failed to keep their word or break promises,...

Haste Makes Waste: Do It Right the First Time

Haste makes waste is a common saying. Another common saying is time is money. Time, like money, is always in short supply in organizations. Every moment is precious, so the question is: “If you don’t have time to spare, how do you have time to fix a problem when you...

Where is Your Business Located? Realist Road

Normally when I am writing about the location of your business, I am focused on the physical or virtual locations of the business. Today I want to focus on the mental or psychological location of your perspective on your business. In working with clients, the success...

Strategic Plan: Your Five-Year Roadmap to Success

Too often, the owners of many businesses of all sizes and industries don’t see the need for a strategic plan. They make critical decisions on which deals to do, what systems to put in place, and who to hire based on the current vision of the business. They focus on...

Motivate Change to Get Desired Performance

How to Motivate Change One of the most basic things we need to understand about change is that it is personal. People must choose to change. People can be influenced to change by external sources (e.g., other people, events); however, for true change to occur and be...

Business by the Numbers: Financial Oversight

Internal Controls and Financial Oversight When it comes to growing your business, you can't afford to not understand the financial perspective of their business. Whether it is the day-to-day performance, budgets, taxes, or other aspects of accounting for your...

Check Your Priorities: Real World Lessons Learned

Many years ago (I won’t say how many), I had a new boss (we’ll call him “Kevin”). He was actually my supervisor’s boss. Kevin had spent most of his career in communication roles (he created presentations and documents to give to the board.) When Kevin came from a part...

Is the Glass Half Full? Half Empty? Or is it the Wrong Glass?

One of my friends was telling me about a discussion she had with her eighteen-year-old son. They were talking literally about a glass of Dr. Pepper. “Is the glass half full or half empty?” she asked her son. He said he thought she just used the wrong glass. If she had...

Five Critical Steps to Maximize Resource Flexibility

Article previously appeared on Mainstreet.com (2009) Companies of all sizes have historically relied upon their workforce to provide the flexibility necessary to compete.  Unfortunately, compensation and benefit costs have created a dilemma - business can’t afford to...

10 Elements of Successful Businesses

While every business has elements that are unique to it. Every successful business shares common characteristics with other successful businesses. Concept The first element of a successful business is a clear concept of what the business is and does. This concept is...

Use This Formula To Write A Solid Business Plan In 30 Minutes Or Less

A 30-minute Business Plan is Better than No Plan A little back-of-the-envelope arithmetic now might save your company from screwing up big time later. A client of mine is starting a new retail business, and she's finding that setting up the operations is pretty...

Think You Are Too Old to Start A Business?

http://www.foxbusiness.com/features/2010/07/19/think-old-start-business.html

Think You Are Too Old to Start a Business, But Desperate to Get Out of the Cubicle?

The economy, job loss, increased competition for promotions and new jobs all of these contribute to the trend of older people (55+) making the decision to start a business. The reasons differ from life-long dream to career necessity (no job or too much competition for...

GRAB for Success – Gratitude, Resolve, Attitude, Belief™ – A Guide for Getting Beyond the First Day of the New Year

For many of us, December is a month of hectic schedules and holiday gatherings, loosening the reins, indulging in the goodies, and skipping the healthier parts of our routines. It is also the time when we make promises to do better in the New Year!   More than New...

Motivate Change to Get Desired Performance

How to Motivate Change One of the most basic things we need to understand about change is that it is personal. People must choose to change. People can be influenced to change by external sources (e.g., other people, events); however, for true change to occur and be...

Overtime Eligibility and Minimum Wage Increases – How to Survive Rising Labor Costs

Changes in Overtime Regulations to Expand Eligibility – the Impact on Your Business The change in overtime eligibility will impact an estimated 4.1 million businesses – small and large across the United States. The minimum wage increase will have varying impact as the...

Overtime Impact and Minimum Wage Increases – Labor Costs Rise

Overtime Impact from Eligibility Rule Change and Increases in Minimum Wage: Labor Costs Rise The overtime impact from new eligibility rule and minimum wage increases are this year’s hot-button issue for small business relates to rising labor/wage costs. This is a...

Five Critical Steps to Maximize Resource Flexibility

Article previously appeared on Mainstreet.com (2009) Companies of all sizes have historically relied upon their workforce to provide the flexibility necessary to compete.  Unfortunately, compensation and benefit costs have created a dilemma - business can’t afford to...

The Cost of 1099s

We knew there might be things in the healthcare bill that would surprise us. What we didn’t know was that these items would extend beyond healthcare benefits and costs. Within the thousands of pages of healthcare “reform” was buried the mandate that W-9 forms would be...

The Coffee Pot Syndrome

You may not recognize the phenomena by name, but many have experienced it. The coffee pot syndrome (CPS) is the first signal that a business has performance issues. CPS occurs when a business isn't achieving profitability objectives and starts looking for ways to cut...

Payroll Systems – It Pays To Get It Right!

Payroll is one of the “simple” business tasks that we often think that anyone can handle. After all it is just math, right? For those of us who aren’t either experienced in payroll issues or payroll professionals trained in the complexity of complying with local,...

RETURN ON INVESTMENT – Structure and People

Previous articles have discussed the importance of having the right people who are doing the right things and being accountable for achieving specific results in your organization. To achieve the maximum return on investment in your people, the organization's...

Management Styles: Drive-by, Seagulls and Other Pains

Tough, fair, frank, straight-forward, reliable: All words that would, in my opinion, be descriptions of the type of manager you would be glad to have as a boss or working for you. Drive-by, seagull, and pain in the anatomy are not descriptions that readily come to...

Investor Due Diligence

As a potential investor in a company, do you and your team know what questions to ask? When you ask the questions, do you probe beyond the surface to verify the elements of the answers? Are there areas which could potentially put your investment at risk that you don’t...

Wrong Client

The profitability of a company is significantly impacted by its ability to identify both the core client characteristics that make for a good client as well as those that do not fit with your business expertise or require more support from key resources than can be...

The National Single Audit (A-133) Sample Project Results – Good Audit Results May Not Mean Your Audit Measures Up

The President’s Council on Integrity and Efficiency and the Executive Council on Integrity and Efficiency recently completed the National Single Audit Sample Project to determine the quality of the single audits being conducted. The sample consisted of 208 audits...

The Grant Proposal Budget: Seven Things to Remember

The grant proposal budget is an often-overlooked opportunity to improve the proposal’s chances of winning. The budget is a communication tool to the reviewers, just like any other element of the proposal. What the budget does or doesn’t do is let the reviewers know...

The Complexity of Business Compliance

For small businesses, and perhaps businesses of any size, compliance with the rules and regulations of being in business is becoming more and more complex. It’s getting to the point, it seems, that it is almost impossible to be 100% in compliance, mainly because you...

Stay Tuned to the SBIR Program

The U.S. Senate had a bill last year, and earlier this month the U.S. House of Representatives had a bill (H.R. 5819) to reauthorize and/or “modernize” the Small Business Innovation Research Grant Program (SBIR). The House version died when it reached the Senate, and...

On-shoring – Keeping Business in US

The impact of jobs moving overseas (off-shoring) cannot be fully quantified. It includes the impact on employees, the community, tax revenues, and other intangibles. Keeping business in the US isn't an entitlement. It is and will continue to be a function of ability...

Non-dilutive Funding An Important Chapter in A Start-up Story

Every venture begins with an idea and the resources of the founder(s). Then come other sources, including MCDV (the credit card companies) and our friends, family, and acquaintances. Once we’ve tapped into all those we know well and not so well, we begin to expand...

Gatekeeper or Dam?

Have you ever been trying to get a project going or actually working on it and things just aren’t happening? And has that happened to you when it’s a project requested by someone who is in a position to want that project to happen because they have a need for it? The...

Economic Stimulus Fund to Flow to Businesses: Grant and Research Programs Open Taps

The government is utilizing existing agency structures and federal funding assistance programs to award stimulus funding for research and innovation projects. From the Department of Energy, Department of Health and Human Services and others, projects are in the...

$100 Billion Savings Target for DOD Spending:

If you’ve ever spent the day working on compliance with government grant and contract awards from the recipient side, you will understand the following statement: The biggest cost reductions opportunities are in reducing the complexity and variation of requirements on...

How to Grow Your Business, One Relationship at a Time – Network!

Grow Your Business — Build Relationships Previously published in MWorld, The Journal of the American Management Association Volume 8, Number 3 Summer/Fall 2009 In today’s economic uncertainty, having a solid network can help your organization. However, it isn’t easy...

Ethical Integrity: When Keeping Your Word Clashes with Sticking to Your Values

Traditionally men (or women) were measured by their word—if you gave your word, then it was as good as a contract.  In fact, it was a verbal contract. They had the ethical integrity to be bound by their word. When someone failed to keep their word or break promises,...

Where is Your Business Located? Realist Road

Normally when I am writing about the location of your business, I am focused on the physical or virtual locations of the business. Today I want to focus on the mental or psychological location of your perspective on your business. In working with clients, the success...

Business by the Numbers: Financial Oversight

Internal Controls and Financial Oversight When it comes to growing your business, you can't afford to not understand the financial perspective of their business. Whether it is the day-to-day performance, budgets, taxes, or other aspects of accounting for your...

Check Your Priorities: Real World Lessons Learned

Many years ago (I won’t say how many), I had a new boss (we’ll call him “Kevin”). He was actually my supervisor’s boss. Kevin had spent most of his career in communication roles (he created presentations and documents to give to the board.) When Kevin came from a part...

Business Danger Signs: Is Your Business the Frog in the Pot?

A business danger signs may be ignored or unnoticed, much like a frog in a pot of water on a stove. Yes, I am talking about the the experiment with a frog and a pot of hot water. If you put the frog in the pot and the water is boiling, he hops out fast! But when you...

Is the Glass Half Full? Half Empty? Or is it the Wrong Glass?

One of my friends was telling me about a discussion she had with her eighteen-year-old son. They were talking literally about a glass of Dr. Pepper. “Is the glass half full or half empty?” she asked her son. He said he thought she just used the wrong glass. If she had...

Five Critical Steps to Maximize Resource Flexibility

Article previously appeared on Mainstreet.com (2009) Companies of all sizes have historically relied upon their workforce to provide the flexibility necessary to compete.  Unfortunately, compensation and benefit costs have created a dilemma - business can’t afford to...

Colors and Crayons – Drawing the Big Picture to Communicate Key Points

Have you ever tried to tell your boss what he/she needs to know and only what they need to know to make informed decisions? Is it hard to identify how to present the information —identifying status, convey the constraints and opportunities, and get the “right”...

Open Doors, Closed Minds: Listening Well and Making Informed Decisions

Have you ever worked for someone that proudly stated they had an “open door” policy? Was their door really open to new ideas, feedback, information, and issues? Or was the door physically open but the mind closed? Perhaps you work for someone that has an open door...

Who Is Running Your Business?

In every business there are activities and tasks that the owner, manager, founder, or key executives don’t like to do, don’t know how to do, or just don’t want to do. When those tasks are key elements or effect the key elements of how your business does business, the...

Organic or Cultivated Clients? Which Do You Want?

These days the term “organic” seems ubiquitous.  Organic has come to mean more than the traditional dictionary definition. In this instance, I want to talk about organic growth as it relates to a natural process that is without direct intervention or influence....

Bleeping Commercials

Commercials Reflect the Values of Our Businesses I am astounded at the point at which we have arrived at in television, movies, radio. The “conversation” of our times, including commercials, has become one "bleeping" example of what is wrong with society.  As I write...

Is the Glass Half Full? Half Empty? Or is it the Wrong Glass?

One of my friends was telling me about a discussion she had with her eighteen-year-old son. They were talking literally about a glass of Dr. Pepper. “Is the glass half full or half empty?” she asked her son. He said he thought she just used the wrong glass. If she had...

Customer Focused?

Is Your Business Customer Focused or Trying to Be All Things to All People? I love the single-cup beverage systems. When I want something to drink, I don’t have to boil an entire pot of water, coffee or tea. I can choose my drink of preference, pop in the single cup,...

Real Customer Service – Going Off Script

There is nothing and I mean nothing that frustrates me, ticks me off, and causes me to stop using a product faster than dealing with the people on the “customer service” lines of businesses. I don’t know about you, but whenever I have an issue and call one of those...

10 Elements of Successful Businesses

While every business has elements that are unique to it. Every successful business shares common characteristics with other successful businesses. Concept The first element of a successful business is a clear concept of what the business is and does. This concept is...

Networking: Relationship Building, Not Hard Pitch Selling

I have a developing list of bad behaviors in networking. It seems after every event I can add either an entirely new “don’t” or an innovative variant of the core list. Chumming – Method of “baiting” the water to entice sharks to take the bait and encourage feeding...

Dog or Cat: Which Do You Want As a Vendor?

Have you ever noticed the differences in behavior between dogs and cats? I have always had dogs, never cats for pets, until recently. Two years ago my neighbor’s cat decided to live with us (I am told that is not unusual for a cat). In the past two years I have come...

When No One Answers

Everyone has experienced it. Someone calls you prospecting for business. You get a message on your voicemail, you get a card or letter in the mail, and sometimes it is something you are interested in getting more information about. So you return the card, send an...

What Are Your Employees Saying About Your Business?

The only way you can avoid employees talking about the good, the bad, and the ugly in your business is to not have employees. Whether you like it or not, employees will talk about what happens at work from the lack of sales, to the lack of management, to the affairs...

Crowdfunding: The Taxman Cometh

Crowdfunding - Category Determines Taxation Crowdfunding, like campaigns you see on sites like Kickstarter or GoFundMe, can essentially be categorized into three types of transactions: Equity investment – the funds received purchase ownership interest. Gift – the...

Open Doors, Closed Minds: Listening Well and Making Informed Decisions

Have you ever worked for someone that proudly stated they had an “open door” policy? Was their door really open to new ideas, feedback, information, and issues? Or was the door physically open but the mind closed? Perhaps you work for someone that has an open door...

Wrong Client

The profitability of a company is significantly impacted by its ability to identify both the core client characteristics that make for a good client as well as those that do not fit with your business expertise or require more support from key resources than can be...

Who Is Running Your Business?

In every business there are activities and tasks that the owner, manager, founder, or key executives don’t like to do, don’t know how to do, or just don’t want to do. When those tasks are key elements or effect the key elements of how your business does business, the...

Where Was the Board?

One of the most critical roles the board of directors plays is the fiduciary role of ensuring that the actions taken by the organization (through its management and the board itself) are in the best interest of the organization and its stakeholders in the long run....

Where Is My Cash Flow?

What do I do about customers who consistently pay late? Why does it seem that the money flows out faster than it flows in? These are significant questions for every business. Managing the cash flow is critical to a business's viability. The cash flow equation and...

When Vendor Services Fall Short

I have to admit: I had a hard time deciding what to title this article. What isn’t hard to do is actually write the article, at least knowing where to start comes easy. Like many businesses, all too often—despite doing the homework of checking out vendors and getting...

Visionaries and Capability: Beyond the Buzz

Over the years there have been several—okay, many—instances in which there have been people doing business with a cheerful and/or blatant disregard for boundaries. These individuals cheerfully and often recklessly bound forward with the glee and optimism of an...

Validating Your Business Concept

To know whether or not you have a viable business concept, you have to comprehensively define (on paper) your thoughts, ideas, and vision. You also need to gather information related to those ideas: market size, competitors, pricing, and so on. With that information...

Vision, Strategy, Structure, and Results

The successful organization - one that is both productive currently and viable long term - has integrated the vision, strategy, and structure of the organization to enable financial success. The ability of an organization to achieve every iota of success it is capable...

Tough Lessons: Failed Business Relationships

One of the hardest lessons a business owner can experience is the failure of a business relationship - whether with a vendor, a business partner, or a client. Regardless of how carefully you screen any of these people or how formal your agreements with them, when the...

Where is Your Business Located? Realist Road

Normally when I am writing about the location of your business, I am focused on the physical or virtual locations of the business. Today I want to focus on the mental or psychological location of your perspective on your business. In working with clients, the success...

Is your Business Performance FINE?

Does your day start something like this? “How are you today?” “Fine.” This is a typical exchange that occurs for most of us daily. A variation is going to a networking event or business function and “How’s business?” “Fine.” But is your business really FINE?...

Motivate Change to Get Desired Performance

How to Motivate Change One of the most basic things we need to understand about change is that it is personal. People must choose to change. People can be influenced to change by external sources (e.g., other people, events); however, for true change to occur and be...

Business by the Numbers: Financial Oversight

Internal Controls and Financial Oversight When it comes to growing your business, you can't afford to not understand the financial perspective of their business. Whether it is the day-to-day performance, budgets, taxes, or other aspects of accounting for your...

Check Your Priorities: Real World Lessons Learned

Many years ago (I won’t say how many), I had a new boss (we’ll call him “Kevin”). He was actually my supervisor’s boss. Kevin had spent most of his career in communication roles (he created presentations and documents to give to the board.) When Kevin came from a part...

Overtime Eligibility and Minimum Wage Increases – How to Survive Rising Labor Costs

Changes in Overtime Regulations to Expand Eligibility – the Impact on Your Business The change in overtime eligibility will impact an estimated 4.1 million businesses – small and large across the United States. The minimum wage increase will have varying impact as the...

Is the Glass Half Full? Half Empty? Or is it the Wrong Glass?

One of my friends was telling me about a discussion she had with her eighteen-year-old son. They were talking literally about a glass of Dr. Pepper. “Is the glass half full or half empty?” she asked her son. He said he thought she just used the wrong glass. If she had...

How to Grow Your Business, One Relationship at a Time – Network!

Grow Your Business — Build Relationships Previously published in MWorld, The Journal of the American Management Association Volume 8, Number 3 Summer/Fall 2009 In today’s economic uncertainty, having a solid network can help your organization. However, it isn’t easy...

Overtime Impact and Minimum Wage Increases – Labor Costs Rise

Overtime Impact from Eligibility Rule Change and Increases in Minimum Wage: Labor Costs Rise The overtime impact from new eligibility rule and minimum wage increases are this year’s hot-button issue for small business relates to rising labor/wage costs. This is a...

Five Critical Steps to Maximize Resource Flexibility

Article previously appeared on Mainstreet.com (2009) Companies of all sizes have historically relied upon their workforce to provide the flexibility necessary to compete.  Unfortunately, compensation and benefit costs have created a dilemma - business can’t afford to...

Where is Your Business Located? Realist Road

Normally when I am writing about the location of your business, I am focused on the physical or virtual locations of the business. Today I want to focus on the mental or psychological location of your perspective on your business. In working with clients, the success...

It IS About the Customer! Know and Serve Them.

Whether our organization is for-profit, not-for-profit, or a government agency, what we do is about the customer. Sometimes we forget that. We get so caught up in "the business" that we lose sight of "the customer." What’s worse is that sometimes we aren't really sure...

Business Concept – Validating Your Idea

Crazy Ideas and Business Concept Many highly successful businesses have been started on ideas other people thought were crazy.  Many unsuccessful businesses were started as "sure things."  How do you know before you start if your idea is worthwhile?  How do you...

“Who You Know” and Open Market Competition

The world is not objective. It is composed of people, and people are human (at least most of us are). People are at our most basic emotional and relationship-based. We do deploy our logical minds to override and control much of our instinctual behavior and that also...

Small Business, Competitive Markets

While big businesses (especially those traded on public stock exchanges) get the press, the real news—and arguably the differences in day-to-day life and the economy—rest in the small business, in this country and around the world. The majority of existing and new...

Market Research Is Vital for Small Businesses

Too many organizations market without a plan, wandering around trying to find customers. It's ineffective, inefficient and expensive. The more time it takes to find your customer and hone your product, service or technology, the longer you have your money tied up....

Marketing (Strategy)

Sharing expertise with multiple audiences. Regularly leading workshops and presenting at a wide range of industry events, Lea is a sought-after public speaker on how to effectively start and grow a business across a myriad of industries. Lea’s expertise lends itself...

Change: Not the Flavor of the Month

I read a statistic from the US Department of Labor that says 64% of Americans leave their jobs because they don't feel appreciated. That under appreciation goes from the lowest levels of the organization to the office of the CEO. The more diverse your organization is...

Successful Change Begins with a Clear Diagnosis

Too many businesses launch new initiatives to improve their business results without taking the time to diagnose what the root issue is. To get the best results, you have to make changes where it will have an impact. You have to spend time and money on the specific...

Ethical Integrity: When Keeping Your Word Clashes with Sticking to Your Values

Traditionally men (or women) were measured by their word—if you gave your word, then it was as good as a contract.  In fact, it was a verbal contract. They had the ethical integrity to be bound by their word. When someone failed to keep their word or break promises,...

Bleeping Commercials

Commercials Reflect the Values of Our Businesses I am astounded at the point at which we have arrived at in television, movies, radio. The “conversation” of our times, including commercials, has become one "bleeping" example of what is wrong with society.  As I write...

Switzerland Seeks to Decouple Income and Work – An Atlas Shrugged Moment

I am always surprised when life follows fiction (perhaps I shouldn’t be). In Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged1 the world stops working and things start falling apart. As the story unfolds, we learn that the governments of the world essentially step in and redistribute the by...

Where Was the Board?

One of the most critical roles the board of directors plays is the fiduciary role of ensuring that the actions taken by the organization (through its management and the board itself) are in the best interest of the organization and its stakeholders in the long run....

What Are Your Employees Saying About Your Business?

The only way you can avoid employees talking about the good, the bad, and the ugly in your business is to not have employees. Whether you like it or not, employees will talk about what happens at work from the lack of sales, to the lack of management, to the affairs...

What Are Friends For – Not Free Services and Products?

As our organizations get started and grow, our circle of friends grows. As business relationships evolve to include personal friendships, the line between what is business and what is personal can blur. This seems to be particularly true for professional service firms...

We Were Radicals—Now We Wear Khakis

How different we all like to think we are! How radical and revolutionary we are in our thinking! We’re different to be different, edgy, against the establishment. There are no rules, no judgment. Accept anything and everything. A few weeks ago, as I sat waiting to...

Walls and Bridges

More walls than bridges are built in the world. It seems that it is much easier to build walls. Buildings, after all, are made of walls, so we are used to making structures that consist of walls. Walls are used to contain things; walls are used as boundaries, to show...

Traveling with Animated Characters

It’s late on a Friday night and the plane is full. My flight leaving Mexico has been delayed by over an hour and this is the first flight back to Dallas after inclement weather has cancelled several flights. Needless to say, the passengers are restless at best. Most...

Tough Lessons: Failed Business Relationships

One of the hardest lessons a business owner can experience is the failure of a business relationship - whether with a vendor, a business partner, or a client. Regardless of how carefully you screen any of these people or how formal your agreements with them, when the...

Organic or Cultivated Clients? Which Do You Want?

These days the term “organic” seems ubiquitous.  Organic has come to mean more than the traditional dictionary definition. In this instance, I want to talk about organic growth as it relates to a natural process that is without direct intervention or influence....

Haste Makes Waste: Do It Right the First Time

Haste makes waste is a common saying. Another common saying is time is money. Time, like money, is always in short supply in organizations. Every moment is precious, so the question is: “If you don’t have time to spare, how do you have time to fix a problem when you...

Where is Your Business Located? Realist Road

Normally when I am writing about the location of your business, I am focused on the physical or virtual locations of the business. Today I want to focus on the mental or psychological location of your perspective on your business. In working with clients, the success...

Strategic Plan: Your Five-Year Roadmap to Success

Too often, the owners of many businesses of all sizes and industries don’t see the need for a strategic plan. They make critical decisions on which deals to do, what systems to put in place, and who to hire based on the current vision of the business. They focus on...

Is your Business Performance FINE?

Does your day start something like this? “How are you today?” “Fine.” This is a typical exchange that occurs for most of us daily. A variation is going to a networking event or business function and “How’s business?” “Fine.” But is your business really FINE?...

Motivate Change to Get Desired Performance

How to Motivate Change One of the most basic things we need to understand about change is that it is personal. People must choose to change. People can be influenced to change by external sources (e.g., other people, events); however, for true change to occur and be...

Business by the Numbers: Financial Oversight

Internal Controls and Financial Oversight When it comes to growing your business, you can't afford to not understand the financial perspective of their business. Whether it is the day-to-day performance, budgets, taxes, or other aspects of accounting for your...

Is the Glass Half Full? Half Empty? Or is it the Wrong Glass?

One of my friends was telling me about a discussion she had with her eighteen-year-old son. They were talking literally about a glass of Dr. Pepper. “Is the glass half full or half empty?” she asked her son. He said he thought she just used the wrong glass. If she had...

Sales Constraints – What’s holding us back?

ARE YOU OPERATING AT peak performance? Do you spend more dollars for less return? When you invest to expand capacity, does it translate into more results (revenues and profits)? If not, you’re investing in the wrong option.Here are 10 constraints: lack of clear...

How to Grow Your Business, One Relationship at a Time – Network!

Grow Your Business — Build Relationships Previously published in MWorld, The Journal of the American Management Association Volume 8, Number 3 Summer/Fall 2009 In today’s economic uncertainty, having a solid network can help your organization. However, it isn’t easy...

Cost Versus Revenue Focus

The challenge of growing a business includes determining which aspect of managing financial performance should take top priority. I have worked in organizations that focused on costs and others that organized around profit centers. There are benefits and drawbacks to...

Organic or Cultivated Clients? Which Do You Want?

These days the term “organic” seems ubiquitous.  Organic has come to mean more than the traditional dictionary definition. In this instance, I want to talk about organic growth as it relates to a natural process that is without direct intervention or influence....

Haste Makes Waste: Do It Right the First Time

Haste makes waste is a common saying. Another common saying is time is money. Time, like money, is always in short supply in organizations. Every moment is precious, so the question is: “If you don’t have time to spare, how do you have time to fix a problem when you...

Where is Your Business Located? Realist Road

Normally when I am writing about the location of your business, I am focused on the physical or virtual locations of the business. Today I want to focus on the mental or psychological location of your perspective on your business. In working with clients, the success...

Strategic Plan: Your Five-Year Roadmap to Success

Too often, the owners of many businesses of all sizes and industries don’t see the need for a strategic plan. They make critical decisions on which deals to do, what systems to put in place, and who to hire based on the current vision of the business. They focus on...

Check Your Priorities: Real World Lessons Learned

Many years ago (I won’t say how many), I had a new boss (we’ll call him “Kevin”). He was actually my supervisor’s boss. Kevin had spent most of his career in communication roles (he created presentations and documents to give to the board.) When Kevin came from a part...

Business Danger Signs: Is Your Business the Frog in the Pot?

A business danger signs may be ignored or unnoticed, much like a frog in a pot of water on a stove. Yes, I am talking about the the experiment with a frog and a pot of hot water. If you put the frog in the pot and the water is boiling, he hops out fast! But when you...

Is the Glass Half Full? Half Empty? Or is it the Wrong Glass?

One of my friends was telling me about a discussion she had with her eighteen-year-old son. They were talking literally about a glass of Dr. Pepper. “Is the glass half full or half empty?” she asked her son. He said he thought she just used the wrong glass. If she had...

Sales Constraints – What’s holding us back?

ARE YOU OPERATING AT peak performance? Do you spend more dollars for less return? When you invest to expand capacity, does it translate into more results (revenues and profits)? If not, you’re investing in the wrong option.Here are 10 constraints: lack of clear...

Five Critical Steps to Maximize Resource Flexibility

Article previously appeared on Mainstreet.com (2009) Companies of all sizes have historically relied upon their workforce to provide the flexibility necessary to compete.  Unfortunately, compensation and benefit costs have created a dilemma - business can’t afford to...

Business by the Numbers: Financial Oversight

Internal Controls and Financial Oversight When it comes to growing your business, you can't afford to not understand the financial perspective of their business. Whether it is the day-to-day performance, budgets, taxes, or other aspects of accounting for your...

Check Your Priorities: Real World Lessons Learned

Many years ago (I won’t say how many), I had a new boss (we’ll call him “Kevin”). He was actually my supervisor’s boss. Kevin had spent most of his career in communication roles (he created presentations and documents to give to the board.) When Kevin came from a part...

Looking Inside the Gig Economy with GigSalad CEO/Founder Mark Steiner

If you are in the music industry or other creative endeavors (e.g., acting, speaking), then you have been living in a “gig economy”[1] for your entire career. Gigs have been around for centuries. However, the gig has come to a new level of visibility in recent years...

10 Elements of Successful Businesses

While every business has elements that are unique to it. Every successful business shares common characteristics with other successful businesses. Concept The first element of a successful business is a clear concept of what the business is and does. This concept is...

Customer Service – Keeping Commitments and Valuing Each Customer

This week a service provider demonstrated to me how important I was to her and her business. Let me share the story. I arrived for my appointment 20 minutes early and made myself comfortable on a bench outside her office suite. I could see through the glass wall that...

Open Doors, Closed Minds: Listening Well and Making Informed Decisions

Have you ever worked for someone that proudly stated they had an “open door” policy? Was their door really open to new ideas, feedback, information, and issues? Or was the door physically open but the mind closed? Perhaps you work for someone that has an open door...

Networking: Relationship Building, Not Hard Pitch Selling

I have a developing list of bad behaviors in networking. It seems after every event I can add either an entirely new “don’t” or an innovative variant of the core list. Chumming – Method of “baiting” the water to entice sharks to take the bait and encourage feeding...

Is Franchising for You?

Many businesses consider franchising as a strategic method of expanding their operations and financial results. But how do you know if franchising is for You? Let’s start with the benefits of franchising: Building your team with quality, motivated people. Because of...

SMARTer Goals for Business (Excerpt from 10 Minute Success: Goals!

SMART2 Goals for Business The typical “SMART” goal is defined as specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely. Another way of looking at these goals could be called SMART2. This means that SMART goals for businesses also need to be: – Strategic: Long-term,...

How to Develop Business Growth Goals

  Goals have to be personalized to your organization. While the majority of businesses may choose to set a sales goal¾as dollars or percentage increase¾the actual goal amount has to be set based on the current results, capabilities, resources, and long-term...

Looking Inside the Gig Economy with GigSalad CEO/Founder Mark Steiner

If you are in the music industry or other creative endeavors (e.g., acting, speaking), then you have been living in a “gig economy”[1] for your entire career. Gigs have been around for centuries. However, the gig has come to a new level of visibility in recent years...

10 Elements of Successful Businesses

While every business has elements that are unique to it. Every successful business shares common characteristics with other successful businesses. Concept The first element of a successful business is a clear concept of what the business is and does. This concept is...

Credit Card Liability – Processing Cards Can Create Liability for Your Business

My business does not do a high volume of credit card transactions except at speaking events and trade shows. Yet I chose to make a significant investment this week to protect my firm from liability related to credit card fraud. The investment was not significant from...

Get Out of the Cubicle and Into (Your Own) Business

Listen to interview of author Lea Strickland by Tony Trupiano about the book Out of the Cubicle and Into Business. Strategic Leaders A Good Story, A Great Business From Ideas to Business  

Women Mean Business – Seek Investors or Be an Investor

Women are often overlooked or underappreciated when it comes to participating in investment forums, serving on boards, and leading companies. Women pursuing investment capital and GETTING investment capital are disadvantaged because many forums aren’t “friendly” to...

“Who You Know” and Open Market Competition

The world is not objective. It is composed of people, and people are human (at least most of us are). People are at our most basic emotional and relationship-based. We do deploy our logical minds to override and control much of our instinctual behavior and that also...

Who Is Running Your Business?

In every business there are activities and tasks that the owner, manager, founder, or key executives don’t like to do, don’t know how to do, or just don’t want to do. When those tasks are key elements or effect the key elements of how your business does business, the...

Where Was the Board?

One of the most critical roles the board of directors plays is the fiduciary role of ensuring that the actions taken by the organization (through its management and the board itself) are in the best interest of the organization and its stakeholders in the long run....

Where Is My Cash Flow?

What do I do about customers who consistently pay late? Why does it seem that the money flows out faster than it flows in? These are significant questions for every business. Managing the cash flow is critical to a business's viability. The cash flow equation and...

When Vendor Services Fall Short

I have to admit: I had a hard time deciding what to title this article. What isn’t hard to do is actually write the article, at least knowing where to start comes easy. Like many businesses, all too often—despite doing the homework of checking out vendors and getting...

Looking Inside the Gig Economy with GigSalad CEO/Founder Mark Steiner

If you are in the music industry or other creative endeavors (e.g., acting, speaking), then you have been living in a “gig economy”[1] for your entire career. Gigs have been around for centuries. However, the gig has come to a new level of visibility in recent years...

Customer Service – Keeping Commitments and Valuing Each Customer

This week a service provider demonstrated to me how important I was to her and her business. Let me share the story. I arrived for my appointment 20 minutes early and made myself comfortable on a bench outside her office suite. I could see through the glass wall that...

Open Doors, Closed Minds: Listening Well and Making Informed Decisions

Have you ever worked for someone that proudly stated they had an “open door” policy? Was their door really open to new ideas, feedback, information, and issues? Or was the door physically open but the mind closed? Perhaps you work for someone that has an open door...

Networking: Relationship Building, Not Hard Pitch Selling

I have a developing list of bad behaviors in networking. It seems after every event I can add either an entirely new “don’t” or an innovative variant of the core list. Chumming – Method of “baiting” the water to entice sharks to take the bait and encourage feeding...

SMARTer Goals for Business (Excerpt from 10 Minute Success: Goals!

SMART2 Goals for Business The typical “SMART” goal is defined as specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely. Another way of looking at these goals could be called SMART2. This means that SMART goals for businesses also need to be: – Strategic: Long-term,...

How to Develop Business Growth Goals

  Goals have to be personalized to your organization. While the majority of businesses may choose to set a sales goal¾as dollars or percentage increase¾the actual goal amount has to be set based on the current results, capabilities, resources, and long-term...

Who Is Running Your Business?

In every business there are activities and tasks that the owner, manager, founder, or key executives don’t like to do, don’t know how to do, or just don’t want to do. When those tasks are key elements or effect the key elements of how your business does business, the...

Where Was the Board?

One of the most critical roles the board of directors plays is the fiduciary role of ensuring that the actions taken by the organization (through its management and the board itself) are in the best interest of the organization and its stakeholders in the long run....

Validating Your Business Concept

To know whether or not you have a viable business concept, you have to comprehensively define (on paper) your thoughts, ideas, and vision. You also need to gather information related to those ideas: market size, competitors, pricing, and so on. With that information...

Vision, Strategy, Structure, and Results

The successful organization - one that is both productive currently and viable long term - has integrated the vision, strategy, and structure of the organization to enable financial success. The ability of an organization to achieve every iota of success it is capable...

Dog or Cat: Which Do You Want As a Vendor?

Have you ever noticed the differences in behavior between dogs and cats? I have always had dogs, never cats for pets, until recently. Two years ago my neighbor’s cat decided to live with us (I am told that is not unusual for a cat). In the past two years I have come...

When Vendor Services Fall Short

I have to admit: I had a hard time deciding what to title this article. What isn’t hard to do is actually write the article, at least knowing where to start comes easy. Like many businesses, all too often—despite doing the homework of checking out vendors and getting...

Women Mean Business – Seek Investors or Be an Investor

Women are often overlooked or underappreciated when it comes to participating in investment forums, serving on boards, and leading companies. Women pursuing investment capital and GETTING investment capital are disadvantaged because many forums aren’t “friendly” to...

The Variability of Weather and Women: It’s All About Perspective

The other day, one of my international clients commented that the weather in his city (and country) was like a woman. Then, he stopped with a dramatic pause (perhaps realizing we had just met and his comment might not be appreciated in the spirit meant), and I began...

Distinguish between Your Role as an Owner and an Employee

When a business has two or more owners taking an active role in running the business (acting as employees), it is necessary to distinguish between decisions made as owners and those made when in the employee role.   Significant conflicts can arise and contribute to...

The “Girls’ Club” Revisited

As women business owners, managers, executives, or community leaders, it is important that we provide support to each other and serve as positive role models for current and future generations of women.  That does not equate, however, to exclusionary practices or...