Tips and Articles

Category: People Published on Nov 15 2016

A few years ago, an individual I’ll call Will purchased a small business. Because the previous owner was a control-freak, the culture in this company was not trust based.

 - Employees were used to doing what they were told to do without questioning the orders. As a result they also tended to complain a great deal.

 - Order was maintained by an extensive video system that was ostensibly to deter customer theft. However, since cameras were also placed in storage and work areas employees understood that they were not trusted either.

 - Employees exhibited no personal initiative to do more than was asked as this activity had been penalized in the past. Therefore, performance was minimal.


Category: Strategy Published on Nov 08 2016

“Freedom follows focus.” Peter Sheahan


Peter Sheahan, author of Making It Happen: Turning Good Ideas Into Great Results, talks about how to generate high fees and high volume in any market. His number one tip is to do less. Yes, doing less can actually lead to both increased revenues and profitability. His point is that you can do many things and be good at them, or you can do a one or two things and be the best at them. And you can actually make more money, more easily by doing less and being the best.


The question then becomes, how do I know what to do? Where should I focus my attention?


Category: People Published on Nov 01 2016

Anna is a lovely woman who inherited a job for which she does not currently have the knowledge and skills, but who has a large store of innate abilities and intelligence. This combination frequently leaves her feeling inadequate and scared of losing her job. In other words, she feels very vulnerable.


Category: Newsletters Published on Oct 25 2016

Dear Karen,


I have an employee who does tasks for both me and another person in the company. Lately both of us have been dissatisfied with her performance. Frequently, I think that she is working on a project for me and later find out it has not been started. My coworker has been having similar issues. What can we do?


Category: Strategy Published on Oct 19 2016

For today, just for today, I dare you to channel your inner two year old. What does this mean? Before I tell you, take a moment and think about a two year old. What was their favorite word?

Are you ready to take a bath? No!

Eat your peas! No!

Would you like some ice cream? No!


At a certain stage in our lives, it really doesn’t matter what someone else asks or demands of you. It doesn’t matter if we really want to do it or not. For a brief period of time almost every question, request and demand was answered with a single word: No!


All right, I agree, this is not universal, but it’s close. And I’m sure it’s not news to you. So why am I bringing it up?


Category: Strategy Published on Oct 11 2016

I keep coming up against two opposing paradigms.


The first is the idea of working from our strengths. Popularized in the book Now, Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham and Donald O. Clifton, the main concept is to identify and leverage your strengths to become a success. While I love the idea, I struggle with the overall and perhaps oversimplified corollary, which says ignore all your weaknesses.


Category: Strategy Published on Oct 05 2016

Have you ever woken up and groaned or sighed that you had to go to work today? For many people, this happens frequently. As a small business owner you may have bought into the myth that as the owner of your own business you would never have to deal with this feeling ever again. And for some small business owners I know it’s their own dirty little secret that some days they just don’t feel passionate about what they do.


Category: Strategy Published on Sep 29 2016

Do you remember the childhood riddle: “How do you eat an elephant?”


The answer: “One bite at a time.”


So when I ask you: “How do you grow your business?” what do you answer?


I answer: “One task at a time.”


The science behind my statement is explained by Charles Duhigg in his book, The Power of Habit. Mr. Duhigg makes two key points that are relevant to our discussion:


Category: Processes Published on Sep 13 2016

“To achieve excellence, one needs self-discipline to control urges and short-term temptations.” Ichak Adizes, Author Corporate Lifecycles


Many small business owners start their businesses because they have a talent and a passion to bring the benefits and outcomes of that talent to others. As an example, think of the person who has a talent for baking and a passion for bringing delightful, sweet treats to harried women and their families. This person, let’s call her Pearl, starts by selling cakes and cookies from home and soon after opens a store front in a trendy little town. Pearl is wildly successful because she is:


Category: Processes Published on Sep 07 2016

You may have heard this story:


One year a young girl helps her mother to prepare the Easter dinner. As they are prepping the ham, the girl asks her mother: “Mom, why do you cut the ends off of the ham?”


The mother replies: “I don’t really know. This is the way my mother did it and I never thought to ask. Let’s go ask Grandma.”