Your Business Really Does Suck — Now What?

Being an entrepreneur or business owner presents its own set of unique challenges. Some of those challenges are good, some bad and some downright suck! However, when you have reached a point where it is not the daily grind, but the business itself that sucks, then it’s time for a change.

Hey, we have all been there. There are days that you just want to stay in bed and pull the covers over your head, but you can’t. However, if you have moved beyond that point and your business really does suck — now what? Then it is time to seriously explore your options. Continue reading…

Play Your Square Yard

Some of my fondest memories are of my children playing sports. When our son, Daniel, first began to play select soccer, I remember how much my wife and I enjoyed watching the boys compete and grow together as teammates.

Several of the most competitive matches my son’s club faced in both league play and in Chicago area tournaments were against a club from Mundelein, Illinois. The Mundelein soccer team was coached by a gentleman originally from Scotland. His players were very disciplined, particularly for their age group, and their transitions on the field and overall teamwork were amazing to watch.

Recalling the memories of how well these U-9 and U-10 soccer players worked together made me think, “Why can’t business, education and government in the U.S function this cohesively?” If these 9- and 10-year old boys can do it, why can’t we figure out how to come together to unify America? Continue reading…

Five “Bees” of Selling to Executives

One of the toughest challenges sales people face is penetrating the C-Suite and successfully selling to C-level executives. Why? According to comments directly from C-level executives, “sales people focus the conversation on their product or service, and not what is important to them.”

So, what are the five “bees” of selling to executives or to business owners you need to know?

There are five critical areas that you must address in order to “bee” successful in selling your product or service to C-level executives or business owners: Continue reading…

Business Survival Checklist

All business owners are looking for ways to improve top-line revenues, reduce expenses and increase profits in order to grow their respective businesses. However, the troubling economy and other factors have forced many of these same business owners to replace the word “grow” with the word “survive”.

The business owner’s I have met with in the past 12-18 months all responded with the same answer when I have asked them, “what is the one thing that is critical to your business success”. The simple answer is “more customers”. More customers are the life-blood for any viable business. And every successful business has a universal checklist of things that are central to acquiring new customers, growth and yes, survival.

Here is my list of ten things that should be included on your Business Survival Checklist:

  1. Business/Marketing/Financial Roadmap. What is your existing plan to deliver maximum ROI performance in the next 12 months, 1-5 years, 5-10 years and 10+ years? The roadmap for your business, at a minimum, should address the next two fiscal years. Don’t be too optimistic – it is much better to over-deliver on your projections than to fall short. Continue reading…

Want to Buy a Toothbrush?

Traditional sales and selling techniques have changed dramatically over the years.

Fading fast are the door-to-door canvassers, dinner-hour telemarketers and transactional salespeople who appear to be interested in only making a quick sale and then moving on to the next one. The so-called  “trickster” sales companies who rely upon sleight of hand selling approaches and gimmicks to entice you to buy are also dying out as consumers become better educated and informed about the products and services they choose to purchase.

One of my favorite stories from sales lore reflects the progress we have made over the years in changing the dynamics of the buyer-seller relationship. It’s the timeless story of a toothbrush salesman who consistently failed to meet his quota and was told by his boss at a trade show that if he did not achieve his sales goal for the event he would be fired. After delivering his stern ultimatum, the salesman’s boss left for a series of meetings, but told him he would return in a couple hours to check on his progress. Continue reading…

4 Words Everyone Must Delete …

It’s official, the 2nd half race to the finish line began in earnest last week. Those little internal alarms started to go off soon after the Fourth of July fireworks celebrations were complete. We now have less than six months to meet our personal, business and financial goals for calendar year 2012. This means more hard work and longer hours to get there, right?

With the prolonged economic downturn, many of us are working longer hours, much like our parents generation, in an effort to someday improve the quality of our lives and achieve our goals. However, what kind of lives are we building, really? More importantly, what values and traits are we passing down to our children and to future generations? Keep working those long hours and one of these days it will pay off for you. Well, how’s that working for you so far? Continue reading…

How Should We Respond to Change?

The only constant in life is change. Heraclitus of Ephesus was a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher, known for his doctrine of change. He believed that change was central to the universe, and fundamental to the natural order of the cosmos. Well, if change is central to the natural order of the universe, then why do we still continue to struggle with change in our lives today?

One of mankind’s greatest contradictions is that the majority of us seeks change in our lives daily, both professionally and personally. Yet, we fiercely resist change when it does occur. President Obama won the presidential election largely because the electorate felt he embodied the change most voters needed in our country. Now, the two political parties are tearing themselves and the country apart as a result of the changes made during Obama’s presidency. Is this an appropriate response to change? Hardly. Continue reading…

Faith, Free-Will and Leadership: Our Dilemma?

As business leaders and private citizens, most of us struggle with a dilemma when it comes to faith, free-will and leadership. Proportionally, where should the emphasis be placed with respect to each of these three areas when making life-changing decisions? Do we make these life choices guided by faith, based solely on our own instincts and experiences, or do we seek out the advice and counsel of others. And how much control of the outcome are we willing to give up in the process?

In reality though, the decision-making process is really not that complicated, is it? Far too often we’ve heard people say “it is in God’s hands now” when they are faced with life-altering challenges or major decisions in their lives. I’m not saying that we should not seek God’s guidance and favor through prayer. Quite the opposite. However, are we not denying our own free-will and right to choose by placing the burden for decisions within our control solely upon our Heavenly Father? Continue reading…

Are You Prepared For What Lies Ahead?

The start of a New Year always brings with it a lot of energy and excitement. There are new calendar year business and prosperity plans, New Year’s resolutions, and a renewed level of enthusiasm and anticipation about the prospects for the future.

Generally, the initial wave of excitement about the New Year outlook does not start to die down until the first part of February. Most of the month of January is consumed with after the holidays planning, kick-off meetings and launch activities, the roll out of new staffing and compensation plans, etc. Then reality starts to hit.

At some point, those little voices in your head will start to ask those tough questions. What is really different today from 2011? Are you prepared for what lies ahead? Continue reading…

Before You Say Good-Bye to 2011 …

Yes it’s true, another year is winding down. We are almost into single digits and counting. And for some business owners, the end of the year can’t come fast enough.

But hold on just a minute!

Before you say good-bye to 2011 … here are a few “To Do” list items you should consider to help get the New Year off to a fresh start: Continue reading…