Archive for the ‘business’ Category

Think of every idea or suggestion you receive for your business as a person handing you cash.

Every suggestion that you receive has some worth. Maybe your spouse suggested you wear a different tie or necklace for a meeting instead of the one you chose, and it was a better suggestion. That’s a quick $1.

The barista at the coffee shop suggested you take a different route to get to a meeting downtown because you said you were worried about the traffic. Take it as $5 in your pocket if it saves you time, $20 if your competition ends up shows late. Think of it as a loss of money if the new route actually makes you late.

And everyday that million dollar idea for your company is just waiting to be born from a spark of creativity from any one of your employees, co-workers or partners. In the meantime, you’ll settle for a $100 idea here, and a $50 idea there, especially if you are a small business.

So if ideas and suggestions amount to ‘free money’ being handed to you, would there ever be a case where you would turn it down? If the person giving you the idea had some strings attached that made the money not only ‘not free,’ but put you in a situation where you were uncomfortable or at a serious disadvantage, you’d would politely take the idea ‘in consideration’ and do your best to distance yourself from the person and their idea.

Now that you’ve gotten a good grasp of ideas as dollars, take a day to observe how much free cash you are tossing in the dumpster instead of using to make into actual capital. Also keep an eye on how much political capital you are floundering throughout the workplace in the process.

When that quiet guy from IT came to you with an idea early in a process for you to consider. When a new secretary pointed out an issue she has with her new job that was fixed at an old job with a simple and easy solution. When that intern asked, ‘Why would anybody want to buy that,’ and was honestly confused by what seemed like batches of outdated processes. These are example of investors in your company, people with money already in the game, who want nothing more than to see even more success from you, scrapping together real money to put into your product, not shrugging off some pocket change and hoping for the best.

If an investor came to you with $1,000 with no strings attached, other than to use the money for something benefiting the company, could you use it for something? Would you find a way to accept it?

It might not be that million dollar idea being offered up to you, but every suggestions is worth something. Remember that, and make sure you are getting your money’s worth from each and every idea that comes your way.


If you think you’re not getting enough opportunities, take a look at how many opportunities you are offering to others. Sometimes, a completely random idea that will do absolutely nothing for you could mean the absolute world to a friend or co-worker if you offered it and you help with it up to them does. Gestures like this will help you immensely gain more opportunities by:

Telling The Universe ‘I Wants Mine Back…’: Jump starting opportunistic karma is a very good thing, as you tend to get back as much or more of whatever you give, for good or for ill. So think of every idea you get that will help out a friend or coworker more than it will help you as a seed planted that will reap a harvest of greater opportunities for yourself in a few seasons.

Helping You See & Appreciate Opportunities As They Appear: Guess what? You’re probably wasting great opportunities daily. You’ll really grasp just how often an opportunity actually passes right by you as you see the people you offer up opportunities to pass you right by. Just like solid advice, most people are oblivious to when to jump on a general good thing because it didn’t descend from the heavens in the form of stone tablets and bonk them on the head…and even that might not be obvious enough for some. If people take you up on your offers a quarter of the time, you’re rocking Major League Baseball MVP numbers.

Making Your Our Opportunities: If luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity, you are more than entitled to increase your own luck and the luck of others at anytime you please. Offering up chances to help other advance is the perfect way for other to gain chances to help you in return. Just don’t take on the job of ‘opportunity maker’ with the mindset of ‘mafia boss enforcer.’ It’s not a straight up one-for-one deal.

With Labor Day coming to us in the U.S. this Monday as the unofficial end of summer and the first holiday of the fall, now is a good time to review your personal ‘time-off’ policy. And even if you’re a workaholic with to many open projects (like myself), you still need to find some time to get away from the work that you do, and more importantly, all the work going on around you, to keep yourself sane (or relatively sane, as in my case).

Try working this three pronged approach of scheduling time off:

Schedule Some Time Off To Take Care Of ‘Overflow’: You can get away from normal business and the chaos of those working around you so that you can take care of a few things, work related or personal, uninterrupted. It’s not really a vacation, but it gets you away to accomplish some important things that can relieve some of your personal stress. Just make sure you eliminate as many personal distractions as possible and get the work you’re getting away to get done done.

Schedule Some Time Off To Take Time Off…And Then Take That Time Off: This is your set up for a real vacation, away from any serious work. Don’t try to force yourself into having a good time by getting stuck to an itinerary, and don’t feel guilty if while inside some relaxation time your mind comes up with a clever idea to fix that nagging problem you left at the office. Jot it down quickly, then set it aside to deal with when you get back to the office.

Schedule Some Time Off To Review Where You Are: This one is pretty simple, and doesn’t need HR involvement. Set aside a regularly scheduled time and location where you can do a quick overview of tasks, goals, and maybe even life. It can be as simple as getting up 15 minutes earlier in the morning, having lunch with just your notebook on a Thursday, or a full weekly review on Saturday morning.

More that a few blogs I have scanned in the past few weeks have had some mini discussion revolving around the Peter Principle, which got me thinking about an opposite phenomena: people who get promoted to a level where their lack of competency should be obvious, yet they thrive and even grow.

People who know that they’re not smart enough for a job, but are able to seemingly get the job done do a few common things:

– they don’t go around pretending that they are actually smart enough for the job
– they don’t go around telling people they aren’t smart enough for the job either, and
– they don’t do anything to actively piss off those people that make sure they get the job done, despite not being smart enough

It’s akin to an NFL quarterback buying all of his offensive linemen expensive diamond watches at the end of the season for them not letting him get hurt. Take care of the people that make you seem like the wizard you are not, and watch how far you can go.

I have seen first hand the magic that come from propping up a person for job duties that are well beyond their capabilities, and they surprise themselves and succeed. I have also seen first hand the horrors that come from propping up a person for job duties that are well beyond their capabilities, and they prove everyone right and fail miserably.

There is a lot more of the latter happening in corporate America these days, which would be fortunate if it meant companies were becoming more confident in ‘fail-to-learn’ philosophies.

It happens to fall toward the unfortunate, as it really means too many companies have come up short on manpower after too many successes at cutting payroll. Still, companies are desperate to get the same level of work done despite the obvious lack of numbers to support the workload. Line managers hope for the best by giving addition duties to their workers for various reasons, and then give them hell when they can’t really handle it, even though they suspected it wasn’t going to work out from the beginning.

The real solution would be to hire back the lost employees and work at the regular levels again. That’s probably not happening any time soon. In the meantime, managers need to be extremely careful when putting the necks of the inexperienced on the line, for both of their sakes.

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If Richard Simmons were to show up at your door step without any warning to set you up on a personal fitness plan, you might want to consider that you might have a weight problem. Because Richard Simmons doesn’t just show up at random houses without warning to set up random people on personal fitness plans.

And you should have figured out a long time before Richard Simmons showed up that you had a problem, and done something about. If Richard Simmons shows up at your doorstep, it is because you are in serious trouble–life or death trouble–with your health.

If some person of statue in your company or industry tries to step in and offer you a few suggestions out of the blue, would you consider it an insult or an opportunity?

If that same person came to you as part of a serious intervention on your part, would you push away or would you do exactly what they said exactly how they did it because they are far more successful than you?

You’re being approach because you’ve got a problem. A problem you may or may not have noticed in yourself, but someone else has, possibly because they have been in the same position you are in. And for whatever reason, they’re trying to help you.

Maybe they truly care about you. Maybe they only care that you are holding some project back and losing the company a lot of money in the process. They care enough to help you fix the problem.

The question you should be asking yourself right now is, do you care enough to let them help you fix the problem?

Personal Coaching Collection

Anthony Robbins Personal Coaching Collection

Today, I will give you a five step plan on how to solve just about any problem. I’m calling this plan, for obvious reasons, “The Overly Simplified Way To Solve Your Problems In Just Five Steps”

Step 1: See that you have a problem.

Step 2: Say, “I have a problem.”

Step 3: Do something about the problem.

Step 4: If problem persists, do something different about the problem.

Step 5: If problem persists, repeat step 4 until you have solved the problem

Overly simplified, but simple enough that you get the point.

Tom’s Shoes: Buy A Pair, Give A Pair


Does your career follow a warped version of the story of the Little Dutch Boy?

The Cliff Notes Version of the Little Dutch Boy has a hole in a dike that was threatening to burst, and little boy walks up an sticks his finger in the hole and shores up the dike with the simple act…a decision that is a little tough because it makes him late for school, which will get him in trouble. Eventually, some passerby sees the boy, and brings back help to fix the dike. The story is told to teach quick action and self-sacrifice, because if the boy leaves, the dike is back in the same peril that it was in before, and he has no guarantee that help is on the way.

Switch the story to an analogy of your career. Were you on your way to something bigger and brighter, came across a problem that you could offer up a quick fix, and then got stuck supporting your quick fix forever? In real world work, sometimes the people whose job it is to actually fix things will do everything in their power to go nowhere near the problem, sticking you with your quick fix approaches, and bogging you down with unresolved issues that keep you from accomplishing bigger goals and moving forward.

I believe you have three ways to approach this problem:

1: JUST DON’T STICK YOUR FINGER IN THE DIKE: If it’s not your problem, its not your problem, and don’t lift a finger (pun intended) to fix it.

2: PUT YOUR FINGER IN THE DIKE FOR A WHILE, THEN TAKE IT OUT AND DEMAND ACTION: Save the company for just a little while, figure out what the real problem is, then kill your quick fix and get in the faces of those who have the responsibility to fix it, and make sure they fix it.

3: PUT YOUR FINGER IN THE DIKE, AND PRAY THAT THE RIGHT PEOPLE WILL DO THE RIGHT THING ON THERE OWN: …which probably won’t happen…but a little faith might help…

When I came across the idea for this post, I knew I was going to be short on answers, but I hope that just putting the thought out there will help those stuck ‘with their finger in the dike’ to get a better picture of their current situation, and find a way out of it.

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E-Z Rent-A-Car: -The Car Rental Coupons Online!

Here is the scenario: Your house is on fire. The smoke alarm has awakened you from a deep sleep in the middle of the night, but you are fine. The fire is currently far enough on the other side of your house that you can easily make your way out of a safe exit and away from danger. So you can get yourself to safety.

You can also fairly easily take a little bit of time to check on family members, get them up, and out of the house. Or, you could grab your important documents that you took the time to put in an easy to transport container, or maybe grab your laptop and a few flash drives with critical information. Or possibly some fairly portable family heirlooms, like a jewelry box or shoebox of old photos.

You do not have time to pack a suitcase and coordinate your wardrobe for the next couple of days. You do not have time to take that old mirror that your grandmother gave you off the wall and carry it to the car. You cannot get the grand piano out the front door in time.

Your crisis is here. It doesn’t matter how long you spent waiting for the right time to prepare for this crisis. Your time to act is now. You will have to be as prepared to handle this crisis as you are right now.

Are you truly prepared?

In the case of a home fire it is fairly easy to prepare for. And if you do happen to suffer through one, the priorities are clear: save yourself, then save others, then possibly save a few things that you are already prepared ahead of time as important.

But let’s take the ‘fire scenario’ and use it as a metaphor. A fight with your spouse has escalated into a possible ending involving lawyers. A close friend has just been given a terminal diagnosis from a doctor. You’ve just been laid off from a major corporation. Your personal business is failing financially. That is your ‘fire,’ your dilemma, your crisis.

First, make sure you don’t get consumed with fear and panic, and find yourself stuck in your ‘house’ and consumed by the ‘fire.’ You can always rebuild or move elsewhere if you can just live through the experience. If you can escape the building before the flames get dangerous, do it.

Next, make sure that important people and things are taken care of and not consumed by the ‘flames,’ if you can help it. Make sure friends and family members are okay, and if the dilemma is really about you, make sure they are okay with you. Make sure your assets are protected from whatever is attacking you.

Now you can deal with the fire…but let’s change the scenario so that it is not as serious, and take a fresh look at it.

The smoke alarm goes off, you awaken from a deep sleep and you see the source of the problem is relatively small appliance has shorted out. You grab a nearby fire extinguisher and vanquish the flames, and then you awaken the family and get them out of the house and call the fire department to come by and check the rest of the house to make sure that the house is safe and no other surprise fires will spring up. You still have a crisis to face, but not a major one.

But you don’t just let the whole house burn down because the coffee pot shorts out, you deal with the very minor fire and then find out what the source really is: bad wiring in the coffee pot versus bad house wiring that is bound to set something else a blaze.

A minor crisis can be handled with minor and relatively painless solutions. They will help you avoid the major crisis that can actually take a physical, financial, or emotional toll that will take much more effort to recover from. But just like the evacuation of the house about to reach fully involved fire status, it helps to do a little preparation and to keep your cool in the situation.

Survive a computer  disaster with Carbonite

Survive a computer disaster with Carbonite
I am currently sitting in limbo in my profession. My peers in my industry, and in my age group, are facing similar situations across the workforce.

The major problem with progression through the ranks is the speed at which those in the top positions actually vacate those positions. This is always an issue between generations, when the younger talent believes it is more than ready to take over the reigns of industry, and the older talent either disagrees and holds on just a little longer until they are really ready, or actually agree but fear of not having anything comparably for them to do, stay well past their own usefulness while fresh talent goes stale, or goes elsewhere.

Mix in a horrible economy with less viable jobs and retirement plans all but emptied due to the plummet in the worth of stocks, and the older generation that is in place now, the Baby Boomers, are stuck between a rock and a hard place. Not that they didn’t get flack before, even from themselves, as being a little too selfish and self-centered as a group. They are literary being pushed out to pasture by my ilk, the now oddly named Generation X, and the even younger, more brash, but possibly more apply named Generation Y, who are looking to leapfrog over everyone to take their places in the CEO’s chair.

But here is the truly frightening part. Estimates put the number of 65-year-olds in the year 2050 at roughly triple what they are today, due to access to better healthcare. That means when my 13-year-old is looking at his options in 40 years, the 53-year-old will still be elbowing for position with the glut of other pre-retirees. I can only hope he isn’t facing the same economic crisis many of today’s 65-year-old’s are facing in losing hard earned and well invested retirement money through no fault of their own a decade later.