Living on Banana Peels

Well I made it through the Christmas season and New Years.  For those of you who are curious I dropped very good hints on gifts and ended up with exactly what I wanted.  I should probably hold a seminar for those who continue to end up with gifts they can’t use or don’t want.

At any rate once the New Year started it was as if I stepped on a banana peel and it’s just now slowing down a little to allow me to catch my breath.  A few days of allowing my mind to rest and ideas where just flowing as I entered the New Year.  Running your own business one must deal with the task of financials, budgeting, understanding how to explain the entries to your tax guy, and gearing up what promises to be a great year.  Next thing you know it’s already the end of January and quickly flowing into February.  The best advice I can give any business owner is self-control and hold back from allowing others to control you. 

Yes, the year is full of promises and the mistakes of last year may be long forgotten but that is no reason to jump into something new without taking the necessary precautions.  Take the time to do your due diligence no matter how promising the deal looks or how well you think you know the person.  Just because someone makes a really good friend doesn’t mean they are going to make a good business partner.  Also, just because they have had success in the past does not mean it will be duplicated.  Find out how they had great success and if those factors are still available today and how they impact your venture.  Michael Jordan was an excellent basketball player but if I were starting a bakery I probably would not have him as a partner.

In a nutshell, this is a very exciting year full of  promise but don’t neglect using the smarts you gained from previous years.  Do the due diligence and take your time.

Published in: on February 28, 2011 at 8:14 pm  Leave a Comment  

How do you Handle the Last Two Weeks of the Year?

It’s that time of year again – the Holiday season.  As an employee it was pretty easy to sum up what I would do for the last two weeks of the year – VACATION.  Unless there was something very pressing it was settled very early in the year that I would be off and relaxing the last two weeks of the year.

But now here I am on the adventure of being a business owner, a top boss, the big decision maker, a change agent, the big cheese.  You know!  It’s the end of the year and not sure if I should stop, slow down, or get that last big push before the bell rings on December 31st.

I suppose some of the decision is determined by ones expectations. What do I expect to happen in the upcoming year and when do I expect these changes to come forth? Do I want to start the year off fresh, rested with keen ideas?

Equipped with these questions I ponder how to best handle these last two weeks of the year.  I ponder my current position and visualize my next position and the steps required to achieve this task.

So here is my plan.  This may not work for you but here it goes:

  1. The doors that are closing – let them close.  If I have done my best and served my clients well I can be confident with one door closing and look forward to another door opening.
  2. Prepare for the next open doors by spending this low activity time to study, read, meditate, and expand my borders.
  3. Work on projects that will be needed in the early part of the year. Schedule out these activities over the next two weeks but not over burdening myself.
  4. Reduce my hours worked.  No need in starting the year tired. Give myself thinking time to visualize and plan the upcoming year.
  5. Attend holiday social events to expand social circles but don’t try to sell anyone at these meetings.  The objective is to increase ones influence and connections.
  6. Relax and enjoy the season.  Spend time with family and friends increasing and nurturing the bonds.
  7. Drop good hints as to what I want for Christmas so I am very happy when the gifts are opened.
  8. Give to others and  expect the harvest to come back – Enjoy the harvest
Published in: on December 20, 2010 at 2:21 pm  Leave a Comment  

Do we think digital or film?

Recently, I took a vacation with the intention on taking some nice photos with my film and/or digital camera.  A few days into the trip my digital camera stopped functioning properly which left me with just my 35 mm film camera.  You all remember the film cameras right.  This was once the camera that felt like an extension of my arm. However, I have gotten pulled into the digital world and consequently I rarely shoot with any of my film cameras.  To those of you who are not into photography this may not seem like a big thing – but trust me it is to a person who enjoys photography.  But I don’t want to focus on photography but a few things I noticed during this little experience.

Shooting with film I tend to take more time to think through my photos.  Certain factors impact my actions such as the cost of film and the fact it is not as easily accessible these days.  Consequently, I take more time thinking about the frame and how I capture the subject within the frame.  I spend more time thinking about exposure and all the little elements that affect lighting and the feeling of the picture.  Once you pull the shutter you can not make any changes until after development.  On the other hand, when I shoot digital I spend less time thinking through these things because I can quickly see the results and make the adjustments on the spot.   Perhaps this causes me to be less fearful of mistakes so I take unusual chances while photographing my subjects.

So what does any of this have to do with business?  I wondered how often I make the mistake of rushing through something with a digital mentality believing I can fix it later.  How often have I jump into a business relationship when I should have stopped and analyzed it a little more.  Perhaps I should have utilized the techniques I learned from shooting with film.  Visualize how the relationship will look down the road and determine if it will still be acceptable.  Consider all the factors that may impact the relationship and the success.  Determine if I am willing to except the cost and/or benefits. If not, step away and return back to the drawing board.  This method probably could have saved me some time and money.

Published in: on November 15, 2010 at 8:18 pm  Leave a Comment  
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It’s Been a Long Time

It’s been awhile since I had the chance to sit still long enough to write in my business diary.  Overall, that’s a good thing because I have been good busy which means I picked up a new client.  I have also been busy attending networking events and meetings.

Each time I attend one of those networking events I walk away with a variety of feelings.  On one side they can be beneficial; however, on the other hand they can be a waste of time.  This may depend on my expectations going into the event.  I will admit that I tend to have high expectations each and every time.  I think I live with high expectations about many things but that’s another entry.  When I attend business networking events I always go with the high expectation that everyone attending is prepared to do business. Strike a deal or at least strike a meaningful conversation.  Needless to say I have been disappointed by the attendees at some of these recent events.

I seem to have this strange concept that if an employer takes the time to pay and send an employee to represent their company they are expecting some type of rate of return.  My expectation is they come engaged and ready to talk, know a little about the companies needs, their current issues and what resolutions would be appropriate.  Perhaps, I think they should think a little like the CEO or at least have in the back of their mind their needs.   I have attended networking meetings set up to connect buyers to suppliers and I have been surprised.

Imagine now, you are the seller and they set you up to sit across the table from the buyer.  Wouldn’t it be cost affective for the buying company if their representative had a better understanding of the product or service their company was interested in buying.  Informed about how this product or service would impact their bottom line and potential cash flow.  Granted the seller may not look like you, talk like you, or even express themselves the way you are most comfortable.  But what if their product or service was the thing the buying companies CEO has been searching for to improve their cash flow, product line, or solve another major problem.   Unfortunately, the CEO and company may never get the answer because their front-line is clueless on their needs and/or how to identify them in the market place.

This makes me a little nervous today about our business environment whether it is a major corporation, a mid-size firm, or a small company.   Many individuals operate in business today with the same mentality used 10 or 20 years ago – they have time or they are too big to fail.  The reality is that even large corporations are failing over night.  Just because you have been successful for the past ten years doesn’t mean you are going to last the next year.   Everyone is going to have to start learning how to do business differently and stepping out of their comfort zones.

The best person to solve your biggest problem may not look like you, sound like you, or care to hang out at your social club.  However, if you want to continue to have the resources to pay the yearly membership fees you had better get over those minor drawbacks and let them do their job so you can keep yours.

Published in: on August 26, 2010 at 6:53 pm  Leave a Comment  

Prepare & Wait

It seems we are hearing more & more cases where mistakes (major) mistakes are made bacause of rushing. Leaders are rushing to beat some revenue deadline or obligation without any concern for the long-term affect.

In business today we have gotten so caught up in the voice of Wallstreet & finances we run our companies as if they close at the of the year. We need to remind ourselves the difference between the acctg life and the business life. An acctg period ends, a fiscal period ends, but a company should exist for years. Therefore, lets make decisions as if we really expect to be around in a few years to see the result. Let’s use more wisdom in our decisions and stop making mistakes that affect the lives of our employees and customers in a negative way.

Published in: on July 23, 2010 at 12:54 am  Leave a Comment  
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July 15, 2010

Dear Diary,

I once again had to stop long enough today to take a deep breath. Lately, it seems that I have to purpose in my heart to stop & breath.

Many keep focusing on the economy instead of what it is they need to do. As a result they are getting more & more stressed. I once heard a car racer say whatever you focus on is where you will go. He suggested if your car ever got into trouble not to focus on the wall or any other object because you would end up hitting it.

I am going to focus on where my company is going & keep that in the forefront of my mind. Then I know no matter what the circumstances say- I will get to my desired point.

Published in: on July 15, 2010 at 7:49 am  Leave a Comment  
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Hitting a Wall

Today I hit a wall. I have been running around working on one project after another with only a few hours of sleep. My mind just kept saying – You gotta get it done.

This was true and I did have to pull a few long days but you have to know when to stop. I have seen people jump from one major project to another constantly telling themselves they cant stop. In some cases these people start making up excuses of why they are needed. Others are more then able to do the job or the job isn’t that urgent. But somehow we get satisfied with this sense of need. It does not matter if its false just as long as we feel needed.

None of this is worth giving up time for your body to rest. If someone really needs your help today they will still need it after you take some time to rejuvenate.

Published in: on July 2, 2010 at 5:25 pm  Leave a Comment  
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June 25, 2010

Spent most of the week writing up a proposal for business. This actually came in the same day I finished the last chapter of my new book.

There are days you think maybe I can kick back but then something happens.

Excited about a few opportunities but we still have to be mindful to grow at our companies reasonable pace. Sometimes great things happen that will affect your bottom line in a great way. But you want to know how long this cycle is projected to last & plan accordingly.

Published in: on June 25, 2010 at 10:29 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Friday, June 18, 2010

Dear Diary,

This is feeling like one of those days I am going to have to fight off the pressure of compromise.  We have a current deal sitting on the table that could bring some needed cash flow into the company.  Which is always needed and appreciated.  However, there seems to be something lingering in the back drops or in the unspoken that may cause my business partner and I to back away from the table.

It’s days like today that you have to remind yourself that values are more than something written on a piece of paper.  They are the core of your character.  Give it up once and you’ll keep giving it up.  In my mind I then become the whore of rationalization.  Want to get paid then rationalize your way into doing it.   In business there will always be some challenge to overcome. Some hidden demon to fight off in the cause of staying true to your values.  However, I don’t think there is ever that great of a deal or that great of price tag to validate the compromise of a righteous character.

Published in: on June 18, 2010 at 10:01 am  Leave a Comment  
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Thursday, June 17, 2010 (8:43 am)

Dear Diary,

Now I am in the waiting game.  I submitted everything I needed to submit for this great opportunity and all there is left to do is wait.  However, that types or reads  a lot easier than it is to perform.  I find myself viewing documents I submitted and asking myself constantly if there was anything else I could have done.  Could I have expanded in some areas? Should I have changed certain words?  Just a bunch of questions that honestly I don’t  know the answer.

I am reminded of that story or tale where they say let things go and if they were meant to be they will come back.  Well that is about all I can do at this point.  So what do I do with all this extra energy created when I was pulling the long hours getting the document together.  At the moment I am redistributing it to other projects but I know this will only keep me busy for a short time.  Then I will have to fight the urge to return to the long line of questioning my actions.

I also have to remember that I am one person. A great human but a human none the less.  Which means at some point I am going to have to shift down to cruise status and let what will happen take place.  Every once in a while I will come across someone my age and they look at least 10 – 20 years older.  Most of the time it is because they kept going despite their body crying to rest.  The bags under the eyes, the stress wrinkles, the stress constantly on their mind, and the weight around their waist.   I have promised myself there is more to life then getting to the next project, client, or engagement.  The best of life is balance and if you forget that you will find the sweet taste of reward is actually a  little sour.

Published in: on June 17, 2010 at 9:01 am  Leave a Comment