#1 Question That Gets Overlooked

What is the #1 question that most often gets overlooked?

You will have to wait a bit for the answer. However, I will give you a hint. The answer is shown in the image below.

As we begin to wind down the 2017 fiscal year, most business owners are thinking about or already beginning their planning cycle for the new calendar year ahead. They’re going through the early stages of the goal-setting process, reviewing the quarterly performance, and putting together annual budgets, forecasts, staffing plans and financial projections for the coming year.

It’s an exciting time of the year and right now, looking through those rose colored lenses, the future looks exceedingly bright. But what is missing? What’s missing is a reality check. Have we done our due diligence? Have we asked the most basic, fundamental question that should be answered before we charge ahead? Probably not. Continue reading…

Disruption Doesn’t Mean Dysfunction

Disruption as a noun means “disturbance or problems that interrupt an event, activity, or process.” To cause (something) to be unable to continue in the normal way. For business, however, disruption is viewed in broader terms as ‘disruptive innovation’, a term first introduced in 1995 by Clayton Christensen, the author of “The Innovator’s Dilemma”.

“A disruptive innovation is an innovation that creates a new market and value network and eventually disrupts an existing market and value network, displacing established market leading firms, products and alliances.”

Fast forward to today, what does disruption look like in 2017? Businesses generally still have two options when faced with disruptive innovation. Try and hold on to existing market space by doing the same thing(s) better, or attempt to capture new markets by embracing new business models and technologies, and adapting to rapid change.

“Change is good if it leads to improved performance, highly engaged employees and more satisfied customers.” Continue reading…

Handled With Care Goes LIVE!

World Cancer Day was Saturday, February 4, 2017. Symbolically, Handled with Care was officially launched on the same day.

Handled with Care is truly a labor of love, and the brainchild of my amazingly talented daughter, Melanie Carroll.

At 1:45 am on March 4th of last year, our lives were changed forever. That was when I received the call from the Hospice Care unit that Laura, my wife of 38 years and Melanie’s mother, had passed away. To say we were all heartbroken and devastated is an understatement. However, through our family’s pain and sadness, grief and tears, Melanie was able to find an incredible way to give back to so many others who are suffering with this horrible disease, and to honor her Mom’s memory.

Melanie’s Story

No one wants to see a loved one suffer, but a cancer diagnosis and the treatment that follows is especially difficult. My own mom was diagnosed with Stage 4 metastatic breast cancer after 11 years in remission – and it was beyond devastating. She fought so bravely and remained so strong and positive, but I still felt helpless. Continue reading…

Get Your Head Out of the Cloud

Get your head out of the Cloud! Yeah, I’m talking to you (and me) and everyone else out there. Whether your business is online, offline or both, we all need time away from the keyboard and out in the ‘real world’ in order to effectively grow our businesses.

Although it has been said many times over that advancements in technology have brought us closer together, I contend that it has done just the opposite. While technology has made it easier for us to engage machine-to-machine and automate various aspects of our daily work lives, it has also diminished the “human touch” in the process.

The Cloud2

At the end of the day, however, building a profitable, scalable and sustainable business still comes down to people and the human interaction that happens in the marketplace between consumers and suppliers. That personal connection is still a key differentiator. Continue reading…

Getting Your First Book Out the Door

Get Book PublishedWe all have a book(s) in us, but getting that first book out of your head and out the door is always the hardest. I know from my own personal experience.

As I tell people, my first book took 17.5 years to complete – 10 years thinking about it, 5 years talking about it, 2 years stressing about it, and 6 months writing, editing, formatting and self-publishing. Many of you may have had a similar experience with your initial book launch. The creative process from start to finish is challenging, time consuming and can be more than a little frustrating for first-time authors.

However, it doesn’t have to be such a mind numbing experience. Here are some critical things to consider to help you get started. Continue reading…

Competition Is Not a Bloodsport

Unlike the early days of the industrial revolution, competition is not a bloodsport in the rapidly evolving, global marketplace of today. Instead, coopetition and collaboration have become the watchwords for this new era of global expansion and commerce.

When AT&T first entered the computer industry in the mid-1980s, it was their clear intent to dominate an industry controlled by IBM, Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC), Unisys, Wang, Data General and others. Although AT&T had been the defacto market leader in telecommunications since its inception, they soon learned that different rules of engagement applied in the computer business.

Fencing Sport

In order to survive and thrive as a new entry into the computer industry, AT&T had to learn to “plug and play” with everyone, including its direct competitors. To meet their over-arching business goals it was no longer about crushing the competition, but more about developing collaborative solutions that addressed the needs of the marketplace, by working together.

You don’t become a market leader in today’s fast-paced global economy by attempting to lord over the competition or your customers. Continue reading…

Relaunch of the Business Leaders Forum℠

Are You Passionate About Spending More Time Working ON Your Business And Learning Strategies To Help You Achieve The Results To Move Beyond Your Vision?

Growing a business in today’s challenging economic climate can be a daunting task for any business leader. Are you struggling to find the right formula for success to take your business to the next level and beyond? Do you need expert advice to help you …

  1. Develop a “game plan” to improve your sales and profits outlook, launch new products or services, and/or marketing initiatives?
  2. Change your business direction, enter new geographic markets or develop new sales channels?
  3. Get a new business venture started and develop the blueprint that will lead to future prosperity and growth?
  4. Develop new leadership skills and competencies, and discover YOUR personal plan for success?

The Business Leaders Forum mastermind program can help you address these critical business challenges, and achieve the results to move beyond your vision in a balanced way!

I know what you’re thinking … here we go again with yet another hollow sales pitch that makes wild claims but delivers little to no value in return. Well, not this time! The Business Leaders Forum℠ is a proven strategic mastermind program first launched in September, 2009 that has helped numerous entrepreneurs, small business owners and business leaders over the past several years dramatically improve business performance, while helping them achieve their personal and professional goals.

NOW, we have incorporated the very best elements of this highly regarded mastermind program into a new, advanced business leaders’ series. 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…

It’s Time to “Up the Ante”!

Yes, it is almost that time again. Mid-year is just around the corner and you know what that means. The halfway point of the 2nd quarter is generally when muscles begin to tighten (you know which ones I’m talking about) for many business owners as they reflect on their year-to-date financial performance.

BIG QUESTION: How are you going to overcome the current budget shortfall with only 2.5 quarters remaining in the calendar year?

Time to Up the AnteIf you’re behind in your financial projections, it’s time to “up the ante”! No, I’m not suggesting that you just open up the check book and toss money at the problem. In fact, here are some recommended ways to dramatically increase revenues and profits with only minimal investments.

There are three basic ways to grow a business – increase prices, sell more to existing customers and sell to new customers. The primary goal for any business owner should be to get more customers to buy more, and more often. So, start with the basics and go from there to determine what actions are necessary to improve results. 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…