Plan For Success

Plan For Success

Featured, Improvement, Process
It's a common problem. Businesses plan to become successful, but they can't handle it when it happens. While startups frequently have this problem, it is by no mean unique to them. With the changes in the economy caused by the COVID-19 lockdown, companies such as Amazon, UPS, and Wayfair have become victims of their success. These companies have been overwhelmed with orders. Their customer satisfaction has dropped because they can't keep up. What is worse is that they lack transparency. Their tracking systems give information on shipments as if there are no delays. The day of expected the delivery, the status changes and gets put off, sometimes multiple times. Companies need to be prepared for success, even wild success. In the case of these three companies, it means making sure…
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Never Waste A Crisis

Never Waste A Crisis

Featured, Improvement
There's an old saying in politics, "Never waste a crisis." In politics it means that if you can frame your priorities so that it seems they can help in a crisis, you can get them done. In business you can use a crisis to focus, to pivot and to grow. The COVID-19 crisis gives companies the opportunity to reimagine their workspace. The push to have workers telecommute, to bring business online and to adapt business models has been crucial to the survival of companies. It is also an opportunity for companies to grow and change. It is a great excuse to move into the future and discard parts of the business that no longer work. The crisis in race relations likewise provides the opportunity to examine hiring and compensation practices.…
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Spark Your Own Creativity

Spark Your Own Creativity

Featured, Improvement, Process
When our daily routines are geared toward barreling through a to-do list, it can be hard to set the right conditions for creativity. Fortunately, there is a time-tested approach — that’s also quite simple — for generating creative ideas. Gather raw materials in your area of interest. This could mean anything from articles you've been meaning to read to the browser tabs you've left open on your computer. Spend time digesting the material -- and looking for connections. Fill in small index cards with notes, as if you're trying to solve a puzzle. Shuffle between the physical cards looking for patterns and themes. Do nothing. Find a way to disengage your mind to allow unconscious processing, whether that’s by taking a walk, listening to music, watching a movie, or even…
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The More You Learn The More You Earn

The More You Learn The More You Earn

Featured, Improvement
Many professions require you to take ongoing classes in order to keep your license current. What about those of us that don't have this requirement? Does it mean we are exempt from having to continue learning new things? Absolutely not! The world is changing rapidly. All of us must continue to learn new concepts to stay at the top of our games. I had a conversation with a SCORE counselor. For those of you not familiar with SCORE, it is a program from the SBA where retired executives who volunteer their time to help people start businesses. The counselor in question was retired for awhile and had not continued learning. As a result, when the topic of marketing came up he was unfamiliar with inbound marketing, social media, content marketing…
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Invest in Talent Now

Invest in Talent Now

Featured, Improvement
As strange as it may seem, the current crisis may be a great time to hire top talent. There are an unprecedented number of people looking for work. If your company has the resources to hire, set up a task force to source potential candidates who may now be looking for work or open to a change. Ask your colleagues whether there are any vendors, advisors, clients, or previous job candidates that they’ve been keeping an eye on, then check in with those people to gauge their current job status. Interview and check references virtually with the same rigor you would in person. Once you’re convinced that you have the opportunity to bring in someone who’s a good fit, learn what motivates them. It’s not always pay — sometimes people…
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The Adaptive Business Model

The Adaptive Business Model

Featured, Improvement
The COVID-19 virus has thrown business into a frenzy. Many businesses have been forced to close or shift how their businesses work. Circumstances have shown that your business model needs to be able to adapt. Here is what you need to look at to build your adaptive business. Your Core Offering The base of your adaptive business is your core offering. This can be a product or service. It is the core of your business. Whether you run a barber shop, a restaurant, a web design firm or a consulting firm, this offering is what you are known for. Your Secondary Offering Your secondary offering should be complementary to your core offering. If your core offering is a service, your secondary should be a product and vice versa. A barber…
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Time To Reinvent Yourself

Time To Reinvent Yourself

Featured, Improvement
For businesspeople to survive they must always be moving forward. In a difficult economy, you must develop new skills and reapply old ones. Sometimes, this means shifting your industry, shifting your focus, or changing direction completely. A mid-career switch can be challenging, especially if you've become pigeonholed in your current role. Instead of becoming stuck contemplating how to move forward, Harvard Business Review recommends these ideas: Craft experiments . Take on freelance or pro bono assignments that allow you to try new roles while staying in your current job. Shift connections . To move in a new direction, you need a new network. Reach out to people who can give you a fresh perspective on what you're trying to achieve. Make sense of it all . Tell others the story of who you…
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The “New” Normal Isn’t New

The “New” Normal Isn’t New

Attitude and Mindset, Featured, Improvement
There has been a lot of talk about "the new normal" during the Covid-19 crisis. This seems to be a favorite phrase in media. In 1977 the new normal was that oil and gasoline would be scarce. In 1999 the new normal was that retail stores would go out of business and all shopping would be done online. In 2009 the new normal was that there would be high unemployment and if you were older than 50 you may never work again. None of these predictions were accurate and neither are the current ones. The reason for this is that they all fail to take into consideration what "normal" really is. If you've been in business for any amount of time, you should already know that normal is adapting to…
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Who Do You Want Your Customers To Be?

Who Do You Want Your Customers To Be?

Featured, Improvement, Innovation
Who you want your customers to be is different from who do you want as your customer. Who you want your customers to be is about evolving your existing customer, and its a question you need to ask to spur innovation and make your existing customers more valuable. It seems to be an obvious question, but many of us never ask it. In an environment of open source, crowdsourcing and social media, its important to look at innovation as an investment in our customers, as a way to add value to your customers, not just for your customers. Most innovators ask, “How can we create new value for our customers? How can we do things that allow customers to do things that they’ve never done before?” Now innovators are starting…
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Adapt Your Leadership Style To The Situation

Adapt Your Leadership Style To The Situation

Featured, Improvement
Different work situations call for different leadership styles, and most managers use one of two approaches: dominance or prestige. When you lead through dominance, you influence others by being assertive and leveraging your power and formal authority. This approach works best when your job is to get everyone aligned and moving in the same direction. When there is a clear strategy for a new product launch, for example, and the challenge is in getting your team to enact that vision, dominance is an effective way to create a unified front. Prestige, in contrast, means influencing others by displaying signs of wisdom and expertise and being a role model. This approach works best when you’re trying to empower the people who report to you. If a marketing team is charged with…
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