Let silence do the heavy lifting

Most business leaders don't share their problems and concerns even when they should. Here's how you can get them talking

Let silence do the heavy liftingBeads of sweat were dripping off his forehead as he looked at me and contemplated his answer. I’d just asked him what was holding him back from the success that seemed to elude him, even though he had been laying out the plans for months. I could see his mind turning, the beads of sweat…

Service with a smile: the simple formula for success

Four tips to transform the customer service your business offers

Service with a smile: the simple formula for successI don’t usually eat at Wendy’s, but last week I was in the Phoenix airport and I was famished. Instead of lunch, I’d escaped from the conference I’d presented at and hiked Camelback Mountain. A few hours later, I was waiting for my flight home. I’d eaten a small meal at a neighbouring restaurant with…

Risk and reward: accept that failure is part of business success

How often does fear of failure prevent us from beginning? We dwell on the fact that others might think less of us if we make mistakes when we should plunge on

Risk and reward: accept that failure is part of business successI remember the first time I really bruised my business ego. I was 21 and had convinced a bunch of investors that my idea was the next big thing. For months I built the product, pounded the pavement and found buyers. It was really hard work and after a while I began to realize that…

Key to your business success: consistency and congruency

When customers know that you're going to be consistent or reliable, and congruent or true to your word, they want to do business with you

Key to your business success: consistency and congruencyLast week, I didn’t write an article. I could give you all the excuses in the world. I was travelling, I had meetings, my dog was eating my printer paper. They’re all true, but the real reason is I had a man cold and just couldn’t write. Outside of holidays, it was just the second…

Who’s paying attention to the essential details in your business?

Documenting, teaching and training your staff on what they need to do to ensure the business thrives is critical to success

Who’s paying attention to the essential details in your business?I had a letter returned to me this week. I’d sent payment to a subscription service but they'd moved, unbeknownst to me. So my cheque came back. The problem? The subscription forms still contained the old address. How many other customers has this happened to? Perhaps your organization thinks you don’t need more customers –…

Gain big business focus by looking at individual details

What each staff member does is important. The more employees work together to enhance their contributions, the better for the business as a whole

Gain big business focus by looking at individual detailsIs what you do really important? I recently helped a business conduct a meeting with their employees. As the meeting started, I tried to understand the participants and their positions in the company. After writing their names and job descriptions on the board, I asked: “What would happen if you didn’t do your job?” This intriguing…

Don’t wait until your business is in pain to find a cure

Prioritize your problems, identify all the best possible solutions to the most important issue and decide how to implement them

Don’t wait until your business is in pain to find a cure“Gross!” my kids yelled as I showed them the big lump of yellow wax that I had just picked out of the sink. To me, this lump of “gross” wax was a relief. A few days earlier, I had barely survived a flight from Rome to Dublin without screaming in pain. My ear was plugged and…

Playing the game of business to win

Do you come to work to just put in time or are you trying to achieve a goal? You need a clear vision, a simple approach, lots of communication and determination

Playing the game of business to winAl Erricson was my basketball coach in 1982 – he’s learned a lot about coaching since then. If only Al knew then what he knows now, we might have won a game or two. What Al knows, and every business owner and manager should know, is that being successful is not all about skills. It…

Name your year, put new focus on your goals and achievements

We only have a limited number of years in our lives and breaking them down into time frames of intention could make all the difference

Name your year, put new focus on your goals and achievementsI was invited to speak at a conference last January where the hosts encouraged the attendees to “Name their year.” I’d never thought of doing this before and was interested in how people would go about picking the name of the year. As I sat around a table and listened to the conversation, I was…

This Christmas, resolve to go device-free one day a week

Starting this Christmas, have the guts to turn off the phone for a few days – okay, start with one day – and contemplate what you have to celebrate

This Christmas, resolve to go device-free one day a weekSomeone asked me the other day if I missed the mayhem of owning a business at Christmas time. The truth is, I do. While I don’t miss taking inventory, all the extra hours, the squeeze of trying to find enough time for family and customers, figuring out if there should be a Christmas bonus or…

Want a better business? Sleep on it

Running a business requires a lot of brain power. If a business is struggling, it takes even more mental energy. That means you need to be well-rested

Want a better business? Sleep on itLast week, I couldn’t sleep. Whether it was the new project I’m working on or the basketball team I’m coaching, my mind was spinning. I’d fall asleep immediately, but wake up at 2 or 3 a.m. and couldn’t get back to sleep. Wide awake, my mind was turning. I was thinking about new ideas; how…

Five things to do when your business is failing

It’s all about getting a broader perspective, knowing your customers, understanding your financials, marketing properly and asking for help

Five things to do when your business is failing“I told myself I wouldn’t cry,” said the woman on the other end of the phone as I asked her about her business. Patiently I waited for her to dry her eyes and compose herself. She went on to tell me how the summer had been tough, sales were slower than usual and now, months…

Business is like basketball: necessary knowledge not a slam-dunk

The problem for most of us is we think we know it all or we believe if we try hard enough we can make ourselves learn it. But it’s not nearly that simple

Business is like basketball: necessary knowledge not a slam-dunkUntil Dave Holmes stepped onto the basketball court, I was unconsciously incompetent. I knew how to yell from the stands and I knew how to tell my kids how to play better. But this year when I took the step to coach my daughter’s school basketball team, I realized how incompetent I really was. I…

Hammer home the truth about business success with the right tools

Without the right tools, people and plans, your business will suffer. You’re going to have to work harder and that will affect your bottom line

Hammer home the truth about business success with the right toolsIt was almost the final straw. I was laying on the ground after falling off the roof of the house and the carpenter, John, was standing over me yelling. He was mad because his sawhorses had been broken in half because of my stupidity, while I was just wondering if I had broken anything in…

Finding the niche that will make your business successful

You can't be all things to all people, but you can be exceptional. Find the market, product and service that suit you and your customers

Finding the niche that will make your business successfulThe line “You can’t be all things to all people” comes from this poem: You can't be all things to all people. You can't do all things at once. You can't do all things equally well. You can't do all things better than everyone else. Your humanity is showing just like everyone else's. So: You…