Posts tagged "Inc."

If You Know Better Do Better

January 10th, 2018 Posted by Behavior, Blog Post, Goal, Objective 0 thoughts on “If You Know Better Do Better”

We recently heard the story of a hard-working retail cashier, stressed from the holidays, managing to keep her cool in the face of rude customers.

One particularly disrespectful customer reflected on his actions, returned to the store, and fell just short of an apology by saying, “That wasn’t your fault. I know better.”

A genuine apology for his behavior would have been better, and perhaps would not have resulted in this response from the cashier, “If you know better, do better.”

That’s really some great advice for all of us. If we know better, lets do better.

Not another list!

We don’t need to give you yet another list of the things you can be doing better on, be they professional, personal or societal things. There’s no shortage, so pick a few that are most important to you and run with them.

An article at the New York Times entitled How to Do Things Better in 2018 lists and describes 10 things you can focus on (and why), but then goes on to provide links to unique pieces that actually get in to HOW to do better on that particular item.

The article focuses mostly on personal, but also on a few professional areas, such as “How to Build a Successful team.”

Guess what the first step is?

If you guessed, “Make a Plan,” you guessed correctly.

More to the point, the article says, “You need a clear and measurable goal for what you want to accomplish.”

We agree with the intent of that statement, but we are also a little nerdy when it comes to using terminology. You really need clear and measurable OBJECTIVES that support your loftier GOALS. Goals in and of themselves are more of a destination, otherwise, not really measurable beyond “Are we there yet?’

But all nerdiness aside, make a plan and make things measurable. But to that point, make it actionable.

Keep it Simple…Seriously (we object to calling anyone “stupid” so “seriously” is a good substitute)

Meanwhile, Inc. has posted an article entitled 3 Simple Habits I’m Making in 2018 to Drive Better Results. In it, the author’s 3rd simple habit is “Discipline through simplicity,” and, again, we couldn’t agree more.

Plan Canvas is built on the “KISS” model – Keep it Simple, Seriously. So often we just make things too complicated. Take a look at the things you do and ask yourself how you can simplify. Challenge yourself and your team. Make a game of it. There is always a way.

As the new year gets going….

We all know we CAN do better. And as the cashier said, “If you know better, do better.”

That’s the kind of simplicity we can live with.

5 Hacks For Creating Your Secret Sauce – Part 2

June 15th, 2016 Posted by Engagement, Entrepreneur, Leadership, Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “5 Hacks For Creating Your Secret Sauce – Part 2”


Secret Sauce – Each week I identify a different theme and provide you with content, some original and some from external sources, around that theme. Beginning this week, I am breaking things in to two separate posts.

Part 1 represents my thoughts, experience, advice or questions on whatever the weekly theme is. Part 2 summarizes and provide links to several articles and videos from other sources, providing additional information on the weekly theme.

This Week’s Links

In both Part 1 of “Secret Sauce” and in this week’s Business is ART podcast (BIA#36 – Secret Sauce), I talk about 5 hacks for creating your own secret sauce. Please check out both of them. Meanwhile, here are links to some of the external articles I read in preparation for each.

Inc. – It often makes sense to outsource. But when does outsourcing go too far? It is estimated that by year 2020 well over 50% of the U.S. workforce will be freelancers, which is another way to say they are self-employed and/or work on a 1099 basis with clients. This entrepreneur is bucking that trend and says the secret sauce to his business is to hire permanent employees not contractors. Read why that may be the case for his business, even if it is a more expensive operating model.

Inc. – Neuroscience is any science that deals with the brain or central nervous system. Inc. currently has an article entitled This Neuroscience Hack Can Make You Unstoppable. It is a very interesting read that may cause you to rethink some thins and try a new approach.

Inc. What’s the secret sauce to product design in 2016? Inc. has that question covered and offers you 5 of the biggest trends that will drive product design this year.

Entrepreneur – Some may argue that corporations are where entrepreneurs go to die. Others ay argue that corporations give birth to entrepreneurs who become frustrated employees. There is a lot of truth to both arguments, but, they don’t have to be the only truths. Corporations can also foster entrepreneurial spirit from within, and the best do. Fostering an environment that promotes innovation is critical. Here, Entrepreneur offers 5 Key Ingredients to Corporate Innovation.

Entrepreneur – We do all we can to avoid them. We have well defined risk management plans. We train ourselves, and our employees, the best we can. We focus on the customer. And still, sometimes, there is no avoiding a crisis. Now what? How you respond can be the difference between business failure, business survival, and turning a disaster into a major gain. Here are 3 Key Steps for Crisis Communication.

5 Links on Economic Development

May 23rd, 2016 Posted by Business is ART, Employment, Entrepreneur, Leadership, Uncategorized 14 thoughts on “5 Links on Economic Development”

DevelopmentEconomic Development – Each week I identify a different theme of the week and provide you with content, some original and some from external sources, around that theme.

This week’s theme is “economic development.” I’m excited about the topic because my guest this week on the Business is ART podcast at the TrueChat Network is Steve Odland of the Committee for Economic Development in Washington DC. More to come on that.

The topic is also fresh on my mind because I just spent the better part of the last week and a half producing some on-line training videos that, if I did it right, will help entrepreneurs and organizational leaders to be more successful in business and to feel less over-whelmed and alone. More to come on that as well.

A Word On This Week’s Theme

I first became interested in economic development in the early 2000’s when it appeared to me our small town community was dying. So, I read books, I talked to people, I got involved. Thanks to many, many others who caught the same bug, things are looking up. New businesses are popping up here and there. Old businesses and historic buildings have a little bit of new life being breathed back in to them.

There is a long way to go but it is an exciting thing to watch and an honor to be part of the process in whatever small way I can be.

Sometimes I think government gets it right and sometimes wrong when it comes to economic development. I think the key is that we, the members of the public, have to make it work while the government supports and readies the environment. We can and should take advantage of any government programs out there that can stimulate economic development…but only if we the people actually make it work.

In the end, it comes down to a will to make it happen, good old fashioned hard work, great ideas, products and services, and a little bit of luck.

This Week’s Links

Entrepreneur – From Entrepreneur’s Small Business Encyclopedia comes this information on the Economic Development Agency. There are a lot of resources out there, many for free. Don’t feel like you have to go it alone when it comes to starting a business. Do your homework and utilize the help that is available to you.

Entrepreneur – I’ve quoted articles featuring former Small Business Administration Chief Karen Mills before. This piece, also from Entrepreneur, is a bit dated (2013) but is still relevant. In it, Mills discusses 3 keys to a better U.S. entrepreneur economy. One of the common threads – don’t go it alone.

Inc. – Just prior to writing this post, I wrote a post on my personal blog (entitled #Significance) that discusses graduation season and the millennials wearing caps and gowns this as we speak. So this article discussing millennials as the economic future seemed timely and appropriate. Millennials. They aren’t just for marketing any more.

Committee for Economic Development – Check out this report from the CED with respect to tackling economic inequality and boosting opportunity. I love this quote, “All suggested reforms – spanning health care to taxation to higher education – stem from our belief that the greatest potential to lessen inequality comes through creating equality of opportunity.”

TED – In his TED Talk, Timothy Bartik, th eauthor of Investing In Kids, makes the economic case for preschool and argues that the economic benefit of well educated kids goes beyond the altruistic. Seems elementary (pun intended).

Perseverance – How to Just Keep Going

May 9th, 2016 Posted by Behavior, Business is ART 0 thoughts on “Perseverance – How to Just Keep Going”

PerseverancePerseverance – Each week I will identify a different theme of the week and provide you with content, some original and some from external sources, around that theme.

This week’s theme is “perseverance” which is so vital to success in anything we do. With regard to business, the following quote form one of the articles in this week’s links is especially appropriate.

“A business fails when the entrepreneur quits.”

A Word on This Week’s Theme

I’m a member of BNI and, as such, strive to meet 1-to-1 with at least 1 fellow member per week. Last week, I met with one such member who happens to be in the banking industry. I was looking forward to the 1-to-1 in general but was particularly anxious to hear this person’s opinion on an idea I’ve been working on for the past 18 months.

Some ideas can just be launched almost as quickly as you come up with them. For example, the decision to write a book was nearly instantaneous and took a few months to write. The decision to produce a weekly podcast was followed up a week later with the first Business is ART podcast segment and we have now done over 30 of them for a growing audience. It’s easy to follow through when completion and payoff are quick.

But this particular idea is different. It requires a large investment of time and money over an extended period. So, naturally, there are points along the way that I ask myself, “Is it worth it?” I was at one such point last week.

This 1-to-1 was exactly what I needed and the person I met with said exactly what I needed to hear – not because she was being nice, but because she truly meant it. From time-to-time we need that validation and it is wise to conduct regular checks, even if it is just a gut-check, to make sure we aren’t throwing good money after bad. It’s so easy for us to have an idea and start blindly pursuing it.

Sometimes we need to seek the expertise of an unbiased person to tell us it isn’t such a great idea, confirm that it is, or guide us back on track if we get a little off. Sometimes we need to ignore the critics and circumstances and go for it any way. Sometimes we need to ignore our own self-doubt and remind ourselves that we can do it. Sometimes, we need to rise up from failure and push forward with renewed energy and urgency.

But always, we need to persevere.

In the immortal words of Dory from the animated feature film Finding Nemo, “Just keep swimming.”

This Week’s Links

Entrepreneur – What do you do when tragedy strikes? This Indianapolis restaurateur learned how to keep going. After reading her story, you can too.

Entrepreneur – We often talk about how failing is necessary to learning and that it’s not how you fail, but how you get up. In Business is ART I tell a simple story of literally falling in front of my then 12-year old son. An article related to the first one at Entrepreneur goes further and discusses why rising from the ashes is vital for disruption and innovation.  I love this quote from the article, “…we use disaster as a clean slate to say, ‘Screw it; I’ve lost everything. I’ve got nothing left to lose.'”

Entrepreneur – And as a piece that appeared in Entrepreneur in 2014 says, businesses fail when entrepreneurs quit. The title of this one caught my eye and is very fitting to this week’s theme – Persevere, Laugh at the Absurd and Let Nothing Get on Your Nerves.

Inc. – Of course in honor of Mother’s Day we have to give a shout out to Moms. They are the symbol of perseverance.  Inc. saluted moms everywhere with these 101 mom quotes. Spoiler alert, #101 is “A good mother loves fiercely but ultimately brings up her children to thrive without her.” And that’s exactly what perseverance in business should result in – a business that can thrive after we depart from it.

Inc. – We are fascinated with Steve Jobs and are likely to be talking about him 100 years from now, just as we still talk about the likes of Henry Ford. This article discuses why the legend of Steve Jobs perseveres – and the Jobs philosophy is a key, “You can’t just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they’ll want something new.”

Lifehacker – What is the importance of perseverance on your health, life and work? I’m sure you know it is huge. Here, Lifehacker gives a more detailed answer.

TED – The byline for this TED Talk says it all – What are your dreams? Better yet, what are your broken dreams? Dan Pallotta dreams of a time when we are as excited, curious and scientific about the development of our humanity as we are about the development of our technology. “What we fear most is that we will be denied the opportunity to fulfill our true potential.”

How to Do Acquisitions – Successfully

May 1st, 2016 Posted by Business is ART, Entrepreneur 2 thoughts on “How to Do Acquisitions – Successfully”

Acquisitions – Each week I will identify a different theme of the week and provide you with content, some original and some from external sources, around that theme.


Theme of the Week – May 1, 2016

This week’s theme is “acquisitions.” There are all kinds of approaches to acquisitions and reasons for doing them, including:

  • Natural expansion of or complement to existing business
  • To start a new business of your own
  • To get your hands on certain technology, products, capability, markets, customers, etc.
  • To snuff out the competition
  • Because you see growth opportunity

A Word On This Week’s Theme

I’ve been involved in a number of acquisitions on both sides (the side doing the acquiring and the side doing the selling). I’ve seen them done in ways that build upon the value of the acquired business and I’ve seen them done in ways that destroy the value.

I’ve never understood the latter, believing that, unless you strictly bought the business to kill it as a competitor, you bought it because it had some perceived value…so why would you purposefully destroy it? Sometimes it is nothing more than hubris that gets in the way.

“We want the best of both worlds, but, we are the ones acquiring you so in this case the ‘best way’ is our way.”

In Business is ART I somewhat jokingly say that my next book will be entitled Acquisitions and the Assholes Involved (hint: one of them might be you). But there is a lot of truth in the sentiment. As the acquiring party, you want to be careful not to be the one to destroy the value in what it is you are acquiring.

On the flip side, if you are the one being acquired, you have to be willing to accept that things are about to change. If you were “the boss” you won’t be any more. Seek to understand the changes but don’t be too aggressive about changing the ways of the acquiring party nor about stubbornly trying to hold on to your own ways.

It’s a new reality after an acquisition so before the deal is struck, and shorty thereafter, ask yourself, “Can I live with it?”

This Week’s Links

Successful acquisitions take in to consideration several things, such as:

  • Why am I doing it?
  • What do I want things to look like after?
  • How do I properly valuate the acquisition?
  • Who is critical during and after the acquisition?
  • How do I maintain the customer base after the acquisition?

Included in the following list are several links to articles and videos that I found interesting on the subject of acquisitions, many of which address the aforementioned considerations of an acquisition. I love the quote from Rick Milenthal in the article from Smart Business – “Don’t let opportunity trump strategy.”

There are many more things to consider, but the bottom line is you have to have a vision and a plan for doing an acquisition successfully. Without them, you will just be throwing money away.

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