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Wednesday, May 16, 2018 11:06 am

Amazingly, two of the world's largest management consulting firms - McKinsey ($8.8 billion annual revenue) and Bain ($3.8 billion annual revenue) - no longer focus on giving their clients new ideas.

Where once these firms almost exclusively prided themselves on their "Think Tank" strategy and idea generation expertise, now their fastest-growing practice areas focus on "grittier" execution work - especially with technology projects like digital marketing, hardware and software modernization, metrics dashboarding, and business automation through artificial intelligence and machine learning, among others.

In fact, some of Bain's largest projects now involve helping clients execute on ideas that they generate themselves but on their own can't get done!

Now you would think an execution-focused business environment would be one where smaller and normally far more efficient companies would thrive and compete very well vis-a-vis their larger brethren.

But too often, unfortunately,  small company executives find themselves caught in a "keep the lights on" survival cycle, or - even worse - just waiting with forlorn hope for that "big idea" to save them.

And what gets crowded out are many, very easy execution-based approaches to growing a business.

Like simply working harder and longer.

Or learning how to complete projects more quickly and cost-effectively.

Or how to reduce labor costs and make our core team more productive via business automation tools and platforms.

Luckily, learning how to execute better has never been easier, as hundreds of awesome books, articles, websites, and role models on the topic are readily available to us.

And...even when deep down we know that no matter how much we try, we won't be able to get the big and important stuff done on our own...

...well just like Bain does for its biggest clients, smaller businesses too can contract with outsourced partners to have those ideas done for them.

The first, most important step is simply putting great execution right toward the top of our company values chart.

For inspiration, think of the entrepreneurial legends - Ford with the Model T, Watson with the computer, Disney with the theme park, Gates and Allen with software, Wynn with modern Las Vegas, Bezos with e-commerce, Zuckerberg with social media, Musk with the electric car, and on and on...

Entrepreneurs all with very big ideas....

...but even bigger commitment to the thousand million details, projects, and to-dos to transform those ideas into brilliant business reality.

Need Better Execution in Your Business?

Have good ideas but need a burst of better business execution to get them done?

If so, we should talk.

Click here and complete this short questionnaire as to a few questions regarding your business' current status, and key goals now.

And we'll reach out with our thoughts to help you.

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Wednesday, May 9, 2018 11:24 am

The potential of any business can be calculated by its "Idea Formula," namely:

The quantity of new ideas a business generates X its probability of successfully executing upon the best of them.

Let's start with quantity - disregarding how good or bad an idea might be, the fact that a company culture is vibrant, accepting, creative, optimistic and ambitious enough to contemplate "new stuff" is one of the most powerful indicators of a future-focused, and thus high value, business.

Of course, the vast majority of these ideas - whether they be for new products, marketing campaigns, or revised pricing strategies, job descriptions or work processes - will after relatively quick review prove to be too risky, too costly, or in the cold light of morning just flat out not good, and thus deserving of quick discard.

This is fine, because more than a few of them will also reveal themselves to be of quality - possessing business promise and thus worthy of deeper investigation.

I wrote last week on a good shorthand to conduct this investigation and to move the most promising ideas forward, from the visualization to the "let's go for it!" phase.

Which takes us to the 2nd half of the formula - execution.

Luckily for us, business history is enlivened with and defined by tales of entrepreneurial masters of great execution.

From Thomas Edison and his famous quip that what he really should be applauded for is the 10,000 ways he discovered to not invent the light bulb... Steve Jobs' maniacal talent for wringing from his people their absolute best work (even if it meant driving them to physical and mental exhaustion)... closer to the modern day, when scores of direct-to-consumer e-commerce companies like Warby Parker, Casper, Dollar Shave Club, and The Honest Company have the ability to break down to the most minute detail all of the components of a product design, distribution and consumption life cycle...

...from these examples, we can quite easily see the firm connection between intense and engaged leadership and companies with strong execution capacity.

So, improving our company's Idea Formula is simple - it starts with us business leaders leading and inspiring and encouraging more, better ideas from everyone in our organizations.

And if the ideas don't appear, or if the ones that do just aren't very good, then being humble and self-aware enough to outsource to the legions of able service providers of all types (i.e. marketing, product design, customer fulfillment, financial, etc.) to develop the new ideas for us.

With the ideas in hand, it comes down to execution, and here - perhaps more than anywhere else in our business - a little honesty goes a long way.

Maybe we can't get things done.

For whatever reason - because we are too old, too young, too tired, too busy, too burned out, too whatever.

Then we need to get out of the way.

And find someone who can.

Or if we truly believe we've still got it, then let's take our cue from the entrepreneurial masters.

And channel their work ethic, their mania, their attention to detail, their sense of cause and business purpose...

...and start executing upon our best business ideas with more speed and effectiveness than ever before.

Need Change in Your Business?

Feeling sales, pricing and margin pressure coming at you from all sides and not sure what to do?

Need new ideas and a burst of better execution to get your business unstuck?

If so, we should talk.

Click here and complete this short questionnaire as to a few questions regarding your business' current status, and key goals now.

And we'll reach out with our thoughts to help you.

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Wednesday, May 2, 2018 10:45 am

One of the hardest decisions a business owner must make is determining when an outlay of scarce business cash should be seen as a cost...

...and thus with the goal of minimizing "money out" as much as possible.

And when that same outlay should be viewed as an investment...

...with the goal of building a company's asset portfolio and maximizing long-term ROI.

Sadly, in most small businesses no distinction is made.

The usual mind-set is frugality, whereby any "money out" no matter its potential strategic value is reviewed through a strict "minimization" filter - i.e. the lowest cost option being highly preferred.

Now, for sure frugality is and can be a business virtue, as evidenced by the legion of over-funded startups that burden themselves with high, unsustainable cost structures and then recklessly burn cash and doom themselves to quick insolvency.  

In more mature businesses, high cost structures often force companies - even if they don't really want to - to sell "legacy" products and services and take on patently "unstrategic" and unattractive customers to pay the bills and keep the lights on.

In contrast, frugal businesses stay nimble, and pivot and respond as marketplaces become more competitive and customer preferences and demands change and evolve.

But too often, frugality becomes an end in itself versus what it should empowerer of a brighter company future.  

Contrastingly, usually the most interesting cash outlays a business are its potential investments where long-term ROI and the contribution of that outlay to a company's asset portfolio are far more important considerations than cost.

Here are some common scenarios where this is the case:

  • When evaluating employee compensation.  

  • When designing and building new products and services.

  • When building "soft" company assets, like the brand of the company, its logo, collateral, and its strategic and financial plans and forecasts.

  • When evaluating "inorganic" growth opportunities, like financing and M&A.

  • When evaluating outlays for technology - both on the hardware side (desktops, laptops, fast Internet, etc.) and software (Salesforce, Slack, QuickBooks, et al).

All of the above are examples of working on and not in the business kinds of decisions and cash outlays, and where the three questions below can be a quick acid test to distinguish between when we should be assessing them through investment and not cost lenses and filters:

  1. Will the outlay be a saver of time and worry for senior leadership?

  2. Will the outlay make more of a long-term versus short-term business impact?

  3. Is the outlay one we "fear" to make?

This last question is of the "trust our business gut" domain - the natural wisdom that arouses: a "pit in our stomach" when we contemplate projects and opportunities that call to our highest and best selves.

A neat thing about this three question approach is how it shortcuts more complex and data, financial and accounting analysis while as often as not arriving at the same answer.

And with time and energy saved, we can then turn our full focus to finding the courage to do what we know we should:

Make the best long-term decisions, commitments, and investments we can for our businesses.

And ourselves.

Need to Focus More on Opportunities in Your Business?

Feel like you are just "treading water," and focused too much on the costs and expenses of your business and not its opportunities?

Need a burst of energy, ideas, and vision to get your business unstuck?

If so, we should talk.

To learn more about our business planning, innovation, and execution services, click here.


And we'll reach out with our thoughts to help you.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2018 10:52 am

Last week, Jeff Bezos, in his annual letter to Amazon shareholders, listed many of the company's incredible successes. 

Like Amazon Prime signing up its 100 millionth member. 

Or Amazon Web Services growing to be a $20 billion+ business. 

Or its acquisition of Whole Foods. 

Or how last year the company sold and shipped more than five billion items.  

And then he did a remarkable thing.  

He shared why and how Amazon has been able to accomplish all of the above and so much more. 

And to keep doing so in spite of now being a very big (560,000+ employees) and mature (20+ years old) company. 

For Jeff Bezos, it comes down to two words and all they represent.

High Standards.

A simple concept that all of us have been taught in some form - from our parents, from school, from professional mentors as we have made our way through our careers.

But a concept that when promulgated and enforced rigorously and daily throughout a business organization is the only true wellspring of lasting success.

Bezos notes how Amazon's culture of high standards naturally derives from the its call-to-arms of "meeting the high expectations of our customers."

With false modesty and to make the point that he does not equate high standards with perfection, he remarks that Amazon has had "some success" in meeting these expectations, but "billions of dollars in failure" too.  

Then, he emphasizes that only through teamwork and culture can true and lasting organizational high standards be conceived and achieved.

And that it naturally follows that high standards are not intrinsic to an individual, but are teachable, "contagious" and able to be learned "through exposure."

To bring the point home, Bezos concludes with this thought on the importance of human talent and skill: 

How about skill? Is it another required element? In my view, not so much, at least not for the individual in the context of teams. The football coach doesn't need to be able to throw, and a film director doesn't need to be able to act. But they both do need to recognize high standards for those things...someone on the team needs to have the skill, but it doesn't have to be you.

This is about as guiding a formulation of what effective business leadership and management is all about as we might ever read.

I've written often about Amazon because of the company's outsized impact on competitive marketplaces and customer expectations across almost all of modern society and business.

While they, like every complex organization, are not without their flaws and justified distracters, it is energizing and motivating to get a "peek under the hood" of the business engine that had outraced so many competitors for 20 years on now.

Meeting the high expectations of modern customers demand extraordinarily high standards of performance across all aspects of our organizations.

For sure, this is a lot of pressure and hard work, but also as Jeff Bezos lightly ends his letter..."high standards are fun! Once you've tasted high standards, there's no going back."

Amen to that. 

Need More High Standards in Your Business? 

Feel like you and your team are not performing at a high enough level to really "break out of the pack" and compete and win? 

Need a burst of energy, ideas, and vision to get your business unstuck? 

If so, we should talk.  

To learn more about our business planning, innovation, and execution services, click here. 

And we'll reach out with our thoughts to help you.

read more

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Wednesday, April 18, 2018 11:00 am

A good friend of mine runs an IT consulting business. 

From the outside, it seems successful. He has solid revenues and marquee clients. 

But if you look closely, the business is actually crumbling beneath him. 

Because its core fundamental - the "delta" between what competitive pressures allow him to charge his customers and his fixed and variable costs - especially the cost of his W-2 employees - has been shrinking year after year.

Even more ominously, my CEO friend sees this squeeze only being tightened in the years to come by that merciless combination of high customer information plus low switching costs plus competitors willing and able to perform comparable work with lower cost structures and profit expectations and needs.

Now, let's be clear, entrepreneurs and executives get paid a lot to identify the root of a business problem, its solution, and then to persist, overcome, and win. 

And to do so no matter which sacred cows might need to be gored in the process, whether those be an old brand identity, nice office space, long-time employees and of course the all time favorite "the way that things have always been done."  

Alas, my CEO friend, so ambitious, admirable, clear minded and strategically brilliant in so many ways... 

...well he sees these swirls of dangerous marketplace and technological change all around him and intellectually understands what he must do yet he does nothing.

This is business stasis, and there's a strange but solid case to be made that, in spite of how much the speed of business has increased, that it is more of a problem today than ever before.

A first reason for it was outlined by economist Thomas Piketty in his seminal work, Capital In The 21st Century.

Pinketty's hypothesis was that the affluent now make most of their money not via labor - in the case of business owners, from their company's operating profits - but from their capital - i.e. their inheritances, stocks, bonds, real estate, and the like.

Thusly too many business owners, like my friend, want to see their businesses perform better, but don't need them to do so to maintain their comfortable lifestyles.

Combine this economic reality with a certain fatalism that nothing that could be done will make a real difference anyway in the face of the inexorable onslaught of technology and globalization and...

...a certain "deer-in-the-headlights" inertness and inaction that can overtake even the most dynamic and change-oriented among us.

Now, the above is all intellectually interesting, but does not make it excusable, defensible, or right.

Because just as we could not defend a businessperson who purposefully set bags full of $100 bills aflame, nor should a pass be given to those who sit idly by and watch otherwise promising and valuable businesses slowly crumble because of leadership inaction.

No, what these "inert" business owners and executives need is a big bucket of ice water poured over their heads and a firm slap in the face (or several!) to snap them out of it! 

And do what they should do - calmly assess the threats facing their businesses now, along with those inexorably rolling down the road. 

And get out of their way.   

And do something else.

While that "something else" might be different for every business, determining it for a particular business really isn't that hard.

It is usually as plain as day, and when it isn't a reasonably astute outsider - a hired consultant or a well-credentialed business friend - in a relatively short amount of Q&A, discussion and then competitive research, can easily surmise the needed business pivots. 

From there, it is then up to the owner/executive to do what is their sacred responsibility and charge to do.   

To drive change. 

The good news is that once the "change snowball" is set in motion, the additional energy needed to keep it rolling down the hill is normally not all that much. 

The key is to just get it going.  Today. Right now.  Without delay. 

Because waiting on inexorable fate is no way to live. 

Or run a business. 

Need to Overcome Stasis in Your Business? 

Feeling pricing and margin pressure coming at you from both sides and not sure what to do? 

Need a burst of change energy and ideas to get your business unstuck? 

If so, we should talk.  

Click here and complete this short questionnaire as to a few questions regarding your business' current status, and key goals now.  

And we'll reach out with our thoughts to help you.

read more

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Wednesday, April 11, 2018 9:11 am

Last week I wrote about Amazon.

And whether it is a company that we should love or hate.

My ultimate conclusion was that while it is an interesting debate, for almost all small companies it is an irrelevant one, too.

Because the "customer is all powerful" world that the Internet economy has spawned and of which Amazon is the most prominent example is 1,000% here to stay.

And for businesses - especially small businesses - the only real choice is to either adapt to it...

or die.

Luckily, adapting a modern business is far easier than any of us might think.

It begins with coming to grips with the modern customer's expectation and demand of the highest possible quality at the lowest possible price delivered in the fastest possible time.

Amazon, more so than any company ever, has delivered this to customers through a combination of operational excellence and by being allowed by the financial markets to operate their business on the tiniest of margins for literally decades on end.

And the "Amazon Way" has spread around the world, to thousands of millions of micro-businesses and freelancers - both domestically and overseas - who because of their super low overhead and minimal profit expectations sell and serve customers at extremely low prices.

All so very wonderful for customers, but often impossibly challenging to more traditional businesses across almost every industry.

While this new reality can't be sugar coated or wished away, as business owners and executives we can take solace that we are customers too.

And as customers, we too can access these low cost sellers and service providers to outsource / reduce our cost structure and to somewhat offset the ever-present margin squeeze.

But in the end if all we do is cut costs it will be no way near enough.

No, we need business protection.

Against the challenge of the Amazons from above, and the swarming competitors from below.

And to be clear, this protection will not, can not, and should not come from the government.

No, the only true form of modern business protection is better strategy.

Better strategy as to how best to adapt and pivot to those "adjacencies" in our industry and to our business model that are more in line with modern marketplace realities.

For many businesses, this might look like serving a more premium and less price sensitive customer demographic, and in turn forsaking the plentiful but more structurally unprofitable mass market.

Or in rethinking our delivery model in a such a way that our customers serve to themselves their purchased products and services, and thereby structurally increasing our efficiency, throughput, and margin.

Uber and AirBNB are prominent examples of this self serve approach, and through a combination of innovative thinking and creative application of new technologies "sharing economy" process models like this can be applied to almost any business.

Or perhaps mixing in a bit of both of the above, on the one hand seeking to serve a mass market via a more self-serve delivery model, and on the other hand raising prices, perhaps under an entirely new brand, and then "walking that talk" with vastly improved product / service quality and customer care.

But as every business is a little different, so for every business the proper adaptation and pivot will be different too.

The only thing that will always be the same is the need to do it.

Because adaptation is way better than death.

Need to Adapt and Innovate Your Business? 

Feeling pricing pressure coming at you from all sides and not sure what to do about it?

Like to tap into some Uber / AirBnB "sharing economy" business model magic? 

Feel you have to do something new to get your business moving in the right direction? 

If so, we should talk.  

Click here and complete this short questionnaire as to a few questions regarding your business' current status, and key goals now.  

And we'll reach out with our thoughts to help you.

read more

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Wednesday, April 4, 2018 11:23 am

Amazon is usually in the news for being a company that customers love.

Because of its low prices, vast selection and fast shipping. 

And above all else for that invaluable feeling that if a customer has a problem - any problem - that the company will make it right.

But last week Amazon was in the news for the opposite reason - as a company that perhaps we should hate?

Because they are actually too good to their customers. 

Too willing to operate their business only for the customer's benefit - i.e. with razor thin margins for years and decades on end.  

Placing untenable pressure on the competition - which given Amazon's breadth and depth of offerings combines with its limitless Internet marketing and distribution reach basically means the entire retail sector. 

But placing pressure also on all businesses. 

Because of how they have raised consumer expectations across the board to arguably too high a level. 

Pushing prices too low and service expectations too high.

Which in turn, especially for small and medium-sized businesses, has caused systemic cash flow and margin pressure to arguably an unsustainable level.

Now Amazon is not solely responsible for this modern business phenomenon, it is fundamentally driven by the massive consumer information and choice power the Internet has engendered.

And consumers, i.e. all of us, naturally use and enjoy that power. 

Through searching for and choosing only those lowest cost / highest value sellers and service providers. 

With any societal, local relationship or business "loyalty" concerns and scruples be darned.

This is now playing out as a political debate, and Amazon is the most obvious target for "squeezed" Mom and Pop and Main Street frustrations.

How it ends, with additional regulatory burden or restrictions or even an old school monopolistic break up of the company, is for "rest of us" mostly irrelevant. 

Because, no matter what, we all almost certainly will be working for the rest of our careers in this "customer is all powerful" world that the Internet economy has spawned and of which Amazon is the most prominent example.  

And we gotta adjust. 

Through finding win-win ground with our uber-powerful customers.

Amazon is a great role model for how to do it.

Because win-win doesn't come just from low prices.

Or from speed of service. Or ease of returns. 

Or from a beautiful, easy-to-use, and selection rich website.

These are all nice but are byproducts and expressions of something more fundamental.

Something that predates the Internet and goes as far back as human history itself.

The concept of
true reciprocity.

Then when a customer offers a business that ultimately sign of respect and trust, namely their hard earned, often blood-stained and tears-wet cold hard cash...

...that businesses must reciprocate with that invaluable feeling we get when we shop at Amazon.

That feeling that we as a customer will be taken care of. 

And respected. 

And that wrongs, no matter the blame, will be righted.

Not only because it is good business.

But because, in this technologically crazy and strange and overwhelming world of ours, it is the most human thing we can do.

To reciprocate respect with more respect.

And trust with more trust.

The really cool thing is that reciprocity is just a feeling.

It doesn't cost anything, but when our customers really sense it... 

...for sure the money does and will follow. 

Want Improve How Your Customers Feel about Your Business? 

Want your customers to treat your business with more respect and trust?  

And with more money? 

Feel you have to do something new to get your business moving in the right direction? 

If so, we should talk.  

Click here and complete this short questionnaire as to a few questions regarding your business' current status, and key goals now. 

And we'll reach out with our thoughts to help you.

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Wednesday, March 28, 2018 3:23 pm

Under-reported last week was the passing of Wayne Huizenga, one of the truly great entrepreneurs of the last 50 years.

Because in his lifetime, he founded and grew not one, not two, but three multi-billion dollar businesses.

In three separate industries.

With three different business models.

Wayne famously started his career in "trash," driving a garbage truck from 2:00 am to noon every day, and in the afternoon trading in his overalls for a salesman's suit to court and win new customers.

In 1971, he took that trash business public and within a year had bought 133 other garbage truck companies - hyper-growing right away the $14 billion conglomerate that became Waste Management.

Within his first great business success, he displayed passion and guts - when his eldest son, working summers for his dad, would complain about the smell of landfills and the dirty  work environment, his father would famously quip "It smells like money to me, son."

Combined with the passion and guts was an inherent foresight as to the overriding business importance of predictable customers and recurring revenue.

And about what makes a marketplace with lots of "mom and pop" fragmentation and lack of professional management ripe for the picking and consolidation. 

These insights served him well in 1987 when he invested in a small Chicago video tape rental chain called Blockbuster.

Similar to the rocket fast expansion of Waste Management 20 years earlier, Wayne grew Blockbuster from 20 to 3,500 stores within seven short years.

And just like with Waste Management's early public offering, he cashed out of Blockbuster early - in 1994 to Viacom for a whopping $8.4 billion! 

Getting out at that peak moment before the emergence of the Internet and video streaming technologies led to the video rental chain's infamous demise and death. 

At this career point as a self-made billionaire with two massive business successes, no one would have begrudged him to retire to a life of leisure and  philanthropy.

Instead, again displaying that insatiable passion for business,Wayne went on to found and grow a third business - AutoNation, which became the country's largest auto retailer with more than 360 retail locations, 26,000 employees, and $20 billion+ in annual sales.

A key to the success of AutoNation was Wayne learning to temper his "grow by super-fast acquisition" spirit that so drove the success of Waste management and Blockbuster.

And to delegate. In 2000, he hired Mike Jackson as CEO, who in turn recommended simplifying the company's business model to focus more on new car sales, and more in the premium categories.

Wayne Huizenga - for sure on that very high "second tier" of great Modern American Entrepreneurs and Business Builders.

Not as famous or impactful as a Steve Jobs or Bill Gates for sure, but with a success strategy perhaps more accessible and emuable for the rest of us.

Work hard.  Love it.  Deal make always. Empower and believe in your people.

And of course, never think that a business is inaccessible because you've never done it before.

Trash.  Videotape.  Cars.

Businesses started and grown big in three very different industries, with three very different business models. 

But all with the same effervescent beating heart - Wayne Huizenga. 

Want to Start and Grow Multiple Businesses like Wayne Huizenga? 

See multiple opportunities in your business but not sure how to prioritize?  

Or how to pursue them at the same time? 

Feel you can do far bigger and better things than your current business results would indicate? 

If so, we should talk.  

Click here and complete this short questionnaire as to a few questions regarding your business' current status, and key goals now.  

And we'll reach out with our thoughts to help you. 

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Wednesday, March 21, 2018 12:43 pm

Great executives and great entrepreneurs make great choices.

About everything.

The names of their businesses - think Google, Facebook, Nike et al.

The right products and services to build and sell - think the iPhone, Spotify or a really great pair of shoes.

The prices and terms at which to sell them - think Netflix, gym memberships and your mobile data plan.

The right win-win economic structures for employees and partners - think Goldman Sachs with its "golden handcuffs" compensation system, Uber and Lyft with their driver programs, and AirBnB with its rental hosts.

Which values are most important and appropriate for their company - think Patagonia with its environmental ethos. Or Oracle and Salesforce with their aggressive salesmanship.

The best way to respond to competitive pressures - think "Pizza Wars" between Domino's, Pizza Hut and Little Caesars.

And when not to respond - think premium brands like Rolex and American Express.

Now, because every businessperson is first a human being, decisions like these are made via a combination of data analysis, collaborative discussion...

...reflection, fear, greed and gut.

With the hope that from this motley mix will pop out decisions that are strategically sound, tactically possible, inspirational, and sustainable.

Sadly and of course, it doesn't always work out this way.

The world of business is crowded every day with
horrible decision making.

Decisions made completely on whim and gut, without any data collection or quantitative analysis whatsoever.

"About faces" on decisions that don't yield immediate results, new marketing and sales campaigns especially.

Perhaps worst of all decisions not made because of binary thinking, that debilitating fallacy that we are faced with only one right choice. 

And that the heavens and the earth will fall upon us if we choose wrong. 

But of course no matter the business decision - hiring, firing, marketing and sales, new products, raising capital, growing via acquisition, even flat out selling a business or shutting it down... 

...there is almost always more than one valid, workable, and perfectly fine choice. 

Choices are often also reversible and adjustable too - usually at far less cost than might be surmised.

And finally, there is more "zen" to business decisions than might immediately meet the eye.

They are often just as Sheryl Crow so memorably sang - not about having what you want but wanting what you've got.

Make the decisions. And don't second guess them, at least not for a little while.

And be pleasantly surprised to see how much faster, and easier, things progress in your business right away.

How Good are Your Business Decisions?  

Are you able to decide upon and commit quickly to important courses of business action? 

With your marketing? With your culture? With your strategy? With your profits? With your balance sheet? 

Well if so, kudos to you and keep on keeping on! 

But if you are just a bit unsure as to the best tactics to take in one or several of these areas, then you probably need a jolt of ideas, energy, and inspiration. 

Click here and complete this short questionnaire as to a few questions regarding your business' current status, and key goals and initiatives now.  

And we'll reach out with our thoughts to help you.

read more

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Wednesday, March 14, 2018 11:18 am

An underrated joy of being in business is the daily opportunity it offers to strive for and experience breakthroughs in "that best version of ourselves."

To some this may sound like pop psychology babble, but when you dig into it just a bit you will find within a HUGE KEY to attaining competitive advantage in any business.

It all starts with just going to work every day, and doing so with enthusiasm, optimism, pride, and a striving toward excellence.

I have been blessed in my business life with very hard-working partners, employees, clients, vendors and suppliers.

And the beautiful sum of all of their hard work has made my life easier, richer, more interesting, and team accomplishment filled.

You see, sometimes in our business bubble it is easy to forget that less than 25% of the total U.S. population works in the private sector.

While of course there is nothing wrong with other forms of work - in the public and non-profit arenas, or in being retired - there is just something fundamentally different, hard, and admirable of those "fellow business travelers" that battle everyday to pay the rent, meet payroll, and grow and prosper for-profit entities for the love of money and accomplishment.

Which fundamentally in modern business involves a tough and bare-knuckled ongoing struggle and fight for competitive advantage and victory.

The great Michael Jordan expressed this best when he talked about the differing intensity and drive needed to win a regular season game, versus a playoff game, versus a "close-out" game, versus a championship.

In all cases, a proper, focused direction of talent and the will to win are needed, but at each "higher" step on the victory pyramid the intense degree of these combined factors goes up and up and up.

Competition in business is similar. Starting a business is a challenge, similar in sports to say "making the team."

Getting to cash flow break even, a seemingly minimal level of performance but one that a very small percentage of businesses ever reach, could be considered like qualifying for the playoffs.

But just like all of those athletes that get to play in, but eventually lose the bigger and more important games, just breaking even in business is very unsatisfying.

No, those next levels of competitive business striving - toward double digit and beyond revenue growth, real and tangible profit, meaningful asset aggregation, and toward brands, cultures, and reputations that stand the test of time...

... well to attain and achieve any or all of these require us to prevail over and beat the untold multitudes of competitors striving for exactly the same thing, many of whom have over us significant advantages of resources, talent, and cost structures.

Sometimes, the realization of the enormity of this challenge - often set off by a business setback like a lost sale, or a lawsuit, or an online flaming, can rise in us feelings of discouragement, futility, and even anger at how the cards seem stacked against us.

But it is in these darker moments when we discover things about ourselves that perhaps we never knew.

The depth of our courage and perseverance.

And of our burning desire to compete and win.

And what exactly is that best version of ourselves.

As professionals. As businesspeople. As human beings.

Striving for and attaining competitive advantage and victory requires and demands nothing less.

And truly, who would want it any other way?

Does Your Business Have REAL Competitive Advantage?  

Are you beating the competition in all aspects of your business? 

With your marketing? With your culture? With your strategy? With your profits? With your balance sheet? 

Well if so, kudos to you and keep on keeping on! 

But if you are just losing in one or several of these areas, then you probably need a jolt of ideas, energy, and inspiration.

Click here and complete this short questionnaire as to a few questions regarding your business' current status, and key goals and initiatives now.  

And we'll reach out with our thoughts to help you.

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