No Secret Potion, Magic Beans or Fairy Dust

There is no secret potion, magic beans or fairy dust required to meet your 2014 goals.

Yes, it is getting close to that time of the year again – the dreaded fourth quarter. A time when many business owners review their financials and breathe a sigh of relief, or go into full-blown panic mode because the results are not there.

So, how is the end-of-year stacking up for your business? Are you feeling good about all you and your team have accomplished so far this year, or are you scrambling for a quick fix to try and salvage the final quarter?

If you are searching for a secret potion, magic beans or fairy dust to supernaturally improve things, then please stop! Review the May 13th and May 28th blog articles I posted titled, It’s Time to “Ante Up”! and Who Wants Customers For Life? You will find some great tips to help improve your top- and bottom-line results.

Magic Potion2

Next, if you are truly committed to building a profitable, scalable and sustainable business for the long haul, then invest more time, energy and resources into the following areas: Continue reading…

Customer Experience: It’s a Journey

The customer experience truly is a journey. If your goal is to build customer relationships for life, then there are some logical steps to take to move those relationships forward in a positive way.

In the previous two articles we addressed ways to dramatically improve financial performance without major investments, and the importance of retaining profitable customers for life. Now let’s discuss how to establish those lifetime customer relationships.

Customer Experience

The life-cycle of any great business relationship begins with the initial contact and progresses forward from that point. However, the experience doesn’t have to be overly complex. At the end of the day we all want the same thing when it comes to the customer experience. Each of us wants to feel important.

How do we enrich the customer experience, and begin to establish those lifetime business relationships?

Continue reading…

Competitive Advantage: A Fleeting Fancy

Competitive advantage is the favorable position an organization seeks in order to be more profitable than its competitors. It involves communicating a greater perceived value to a selected market(s) than the competition currently provides.

In effect, competitive advantage occurs when a company acquires or develops an attribute or attributes that allows it to outperform its competitors. Notice the words perceived value and currently have been underscored above to make a point. A competitive advantage can be short-lived because of three critical factors – market perception, innovation and time.

Competitive Advantage

Now, there are a plethora of ways to differentiate your product/service or company from competitors in order to gain a perceived competitive advantage. Some of the more common ways include: Continue reading…

Are You Final Four Worthy?

The Men’s NCAA Division I Basketball Tournament is the sporting event I most look forward to each year. March Madness has been in full swing for the past couple weeks with some of the very best match-ups in tournament history.

Although I will not be collecting $1 billion from Warren Buffett this year, I did enter my bracket selections like I do every year. It is really not about the prize money. Now don’t get me wrong, I’d graciously accept it if I won. However, for me it’s more about enjoying great basketball games and seeing how many of the teams I selected are able to reach the Final Four.

March Madness

What does it mean to be Final Four worthy? Continue reading…

Entrepreneurship: The Path to Prosperity

It is a path well-traveled, but not without peril. Being an entrepreneur is risky business and the odds are stacked against you. You’ve seen the statistics, 50% to 75% of all new business starts fail within the first 3-5 years.

So, why do so many people choose entrepreneurship as the path to prosperity?

The reasons ‘why’ are numerous and whether entrepreneurship was thrust upon you due to a job loss, or born out of a desire for change, we all share a common goal. All of us are seeking a better life and to build something special that we can take pride in.

Prosperity

Although the path to prosperity can’t be assured, here are some things to keep in front of you that will help you reach your destination. Continue reading…

If It Sounds Like Crap …

Don’t put it in your mouth! Discard it, don’t share it.

How often have we been guilty of saying or doing things that we have regretted later? Far too often I would guess. Yet, I still see numerous personal attacks in Tweets, Facebook posts and articles every day, not to mention the constant barrage of negative (and fake) news reports. This leads me to believe we’re not learning anything from our missteps.

So why do we do it?“People seldom improve when they have no other model but themselves to copy.” – Oliver Goldsmith

Why do we feel so compelled to hurt others through our words and our actions? Let me set the record straight, it is not a result of genetic programming. It’s learned behavior and as such, we can all do better. Continue reading…

What’s Different About This Year?

Hard to believe that we are already two weeks into the start of a new calendar year. Where has the time gone, and what’s different about this year?

Well, here are a few things that are different about the start of this year compared to 2013 …

  • We’ve had record snowstorms and cold temperatures in the Midwest and East.
  • To start the year, the #1 song on the charts was ‘The Monster’ by Eminem and Rihanna.
  • Last year’s Super Bowl winner has already been knocked out of the NFL playoffs.
  • The Dallas Cowboys failed to make the NFL playoffs (oops, nothing different here).
  • 2014 is the ‘Year of the Horse’ according to the Chinese zodiac calendar.

You know, however, that is not where I’m headed when I asked, “What’s different about this year?” Let’s explore a few things you can do to make 2014 different (better).

New Year

Nothing changes until something changes. Continue reading…

10 Life Lessons from Holiday Cooking

This year ‘The Boys’, my son Daniel and I, decided to do most of the Christmas holiday cooking. It was our way of giving ‘The Girls’, my wife Laura and daughter Melanie, a much needed break to relax and enjoy the holiday. My crazy idea!!

Sweets & Treats All Done

We had no idea what we were getting ourselves in for when we started, but 11 recipes and 12+ hours of meal preparation, cooking and cleaning up our messes later, we had learned a lot from this experience. Here are some of the life lessons we took away from our holiday cooking adventure: Continue reading…

Leadership: Coming to Faith

With the holiday season upon us, we tend to make a religious connection when we read the words “coming to faith”. However, for the purposes of this article I want to move the conversation in a slightly different direction.

What is faith? By definition, it is the “confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of a person, idea or thing”. Applied to leadership, faith in this context can be viewed as the confident belief in our ability to lead and our capacity for leadership.

How confident are you in your ability to lead and your capacity for leadership? Continue reading…

Preparing for Success in 2014

Preparing for success in 2014. What does success look like and what should we do different in the new year to reach our goals? When we start the planning cycle for a new calendar year that is generally how the conversation starts, isn’t it?

In reaching our lofty goals, we generally begin by identifying what we need to do differently in order to achieve success. But is this really the optimal starting point? Let me offer another approach to help you successfully reach your goals and financial targets.

Success

Rather than focusing on what to do ‘different’, focus on what to do ‘better’ as a first step. Continue reading…