Archive for the ‘solutions’ 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When that intern asked, ‘Why would anybody want to buy that,’ and was honestly confused by what seemed like batches of outdated processes.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.

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.

After receiving a tweet from a friend asking for news release help last week, followed by was seemed like an entire day of emptying my email inbox of bad news releases, I figure it was time I took another shot and explaining the art of getting your release at least looked at, and hopefully used.

For a head start, check out my past post which
explains the 7 pieces of media that should be included in your basic media kit

I want to attack the problems I dealt with yesterday:

Assume We Don’t Have The Latest & Greatest: Last Friday, I learned that according to Forrester Research, 60 percent of companies use Internet Explorer 6 as their default browser. That was the day I stopped whining to my IT folks about why we were using the old & busted browser of the past. Today I plead to all the PR folks to sent thinks out in the future. Web pages with lots of flash widget and browser optimized settings can not trump a simple webpage with a clean overall look and images set to just enough that it means something. My 5 year old office desktop running Windows 2000 would appreciate it.

Assume We Don’t Have The Latest & Greatest Part 2: As with the case in an office where I am running Windows 2000 for heavy audio editing, we’re also short on licenses for MS Office. ANY version of MS Office, let alone the latest and greatest. Assume that the person on the computer on the other end may be in the same boat, and don’t send them word docs typed on your brand new, shiny Vista computer with converting them down from .docx to .doc. Even better, try .rtf or a .pdf, both which are universal, and for the latter, you don’t have to worry about a change in font shifting the entire press release.

Images Can Ruin Everything: Our web based corporate email system allows every user in the corporation 20MB or storage space, unless you’ve been with the company over 8 years, whet they may be stuck with the old cap of 10MB. Not a serious problem for those who have machines with the MS Office suite and MS Outlook. I don’t have that luxury, and had to dump my email twice yesterday, after receiving an attached .mp3 from a new artist (5MB) and a two press releases from the same person because he forgot to attach a picture to the document (2MB for first email with large corporate logo, 8MB for email with large corporate logo and 7MB hi-res headshot in .docx press release). Sending news releases with links to download media, scaling down large images to travel reasonably through email, or just sending a .pdf would have made life much easier for me, the one you are trying to influence to cover your people and events.

Monster Learning
A little soul searching in this time of uncertainty.

A status update on Facebook stating that all past American Idol champions should thank their lucky stars that Adam Lambert wasn’t competing in their seasons because “That boy is MADE OF WIN” got me thinking about my situation at the day job, which in turn got me thinking about this grand scheme of a side gig.

I am currently stuck with nowhere to progress at work. I’m not surprised with the direction of the business in this economy, but this is the first time I have ever sat in a job with nowhere to move AND some well applied hand breaks to the other duties as assigned that to keep me sitting still long enough to stew in my own frustration.

In a time where jobs are being slashed at all levels in broadcasting, there are still opportunities for the next big radio star. Just not many. So a combination of my timing of testing the market along with the timing of the actual market is my problem.

Or is it? What if I we’re actually so entertaining, so compelling, so dynamic that with minimal airtime I could truly be a turnaround player for the radio station I work for in the market?
One would think that someone would take a chance an take on potential star material, even if it means pushing subpar talent out of the way. Me having game changer talent is far from the case, but how far exactly? How much talent do I actually possess, and would it actual be enough to carry some steady on-air time?

Applying that same level of thinking to this business and personal consulting business that I named Fast Forward Business Properties, LLC., is the timing of starting a small business as my spare time is being overtaken by more and more uncompensated work hours the bad idea? Or, is my ability to actually consult not up to par, meaning the excuses don’t matter as much as I have no real growth potential in the first place?

Are you facing a decision to continue down a path that isn’t paying off as expected, but are unsure whether your obstacle is bad timing or insufficient talent? When I read Seth Godin’s book The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick) almost a year ago, it seemed like the talent I had would be adequate if I just rode out time until my number came up. Now, I wonder more and more if that time will actually come, and if I will still have the talent (or possibly even care) if that time actually comes.

How are you dealing with timing versus talent dilemmas?
While the drawbacks of getting sucked into reading seemingly random inputs from seemingly random people you follow on Twitter are pretty obvious, the possibilities for focused input, or even a true focus group, are amazing.

When I was an Acquisitions Officer in the Air Force, I worked for about 8 months on a program that processed security clearances and was given a team to work all the data on how fast the process was going, and presented daily metrics to the government agency in charge of the program. The words my boss told me when he gave me the duties, “The guy who reports the metrics can prove just about anything he wanted to,” turned out to be so truthful it was a little frightening.

The experience has made me a numbers and info junky on par with die hard rotisserie baseball geeks. And Twitter is filling that addiction to information like no other analytic tools ever has.

The magic is in its mission statement, a chance for people around the world to instantly share with others what they are doing. It also gives you the chance to look into the minds of those same millions of people, and see what they are doing, thinking, buying, or dissing.

This power is easily seen in the quick Twitter chatter scene during big television events as people who are looking to be a part of the mass experiences fire off snarky comments as an organic commentary track. This power has been most prominent in watching the ups and downs during the 2008 presidential election and the early days of the Obama Presidential Administration.

As a metrics nut, I like to lot watch the Twitter feeds during big events on TV, like new episodes of 24 and live performance shows nights on American Idol. But the real fun has come during President Obama’s television news conferences. Especially the ones that delay prime time television. Instant praise, instant hate, and instant color commentary is available to anyone willing to scroll thought a few pages of tweets.

Any marketer or sales manager can do a Twitter topic search on their company and find out exactly what is being said exactly when people are thinking about it. That was a good thing for the marketing team at Skittles that decided to make their Twitter search page the actual corporate product website, and a bad thing for Motrin after the Motrin moms took to blogosphere over a commercial that didn’t go over so well with them.

Monitoring your Twitter conversation does give you lots of insight into the thoughts of your brand or product. Just be ready to dismiss some of the more silly or snarky comments. After all, we are still talking about people using the anonymousness of the internet (even if it’s getting harder and harder to stay anonymous) to be a little to open and honest, with little regard of the consequences of the words going out to the world.

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You are looking for a way to gain control over your life.

The answer lies in finding the time everyday to devote to the Four P’s of Life Management. The key is devote at least 30 minutes a day to each P.

The first P is finding 30 minutes a day TO PLAN.

The second P is finding 30 minutes a day TO PLAY.

The third P is finding 30 minutes a day TO PONDER.

The fourth P is finding 30 minutes a day TO PAUSE. Time to relaxing and unwind from the stresses of the past day so that you can prepare for a fresh one, also the proper time for reflection and putting it down on paper. Whether you call it meditation, prayer, or just finding a way to get out of your own head, the time you spend in a PAUSE from the everyday world will help you separate the important things worth having to worry about from the more mundane life aspects not worth the effort. You’re likely to learn that your life is unnaturally controlled by the more mundane items.

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You are looking for a way to gain control over your life.

The answer lies in finding the time everyday to devote to the Four P’s of Life Management. The key is devote at least 30 minutes a day to each P.

The first P is finding 30 minutes a day TO PLAN.

The second P isfinding 30 minutes a day TO PLAY.

The third P is finding 30 minutes a day TO PONDER. Time spent reading, learning, and researching to promote mental growth. Your PONDER time is the equivalent of your brain signing up for a mental gym membership and seeing if it will take full advantage. With enough time, you can work through a solution to just about any problem that you find yourself facing.

Take the time to plan for your child's future.

Upromise: Take the time to plan for your child’s future.
Early into my marriage, my stepson, who was about 11 at the time, did two things that 11-year-old boys do pretty frequently: did something dumb enough to get himself grounded when he eventually got caught, and ratted himself out under the assumption he could guilt his mother into going easy on him.

But I wasn’t having it. The two foolish acts of the 11-year old was just too blatant to let go, despite and pressure I knew he was going to toss his grandmother’s way to pressure us to him off easy. he was grounded as soon as we got home (we were about 15 minutes away from a Christmas party for my wife’s job and we had one of her co-workers riding with us, so there was literally no turning back), with the major consequence being the ‘super fun activity’ planed for the next day (I have no recollection of what the actual activity was) was definitely canceled.

Having parents with the annoying habit of punishing me when I did something wrong, I was prepared to be the bad guy. And I was, to my new wife, who was so hyped up on whatever we were going to do the next day she didn’t want to ground her son at all, at least not until after we had finished.

The lesson I wanted to teach my stepson that went over his head as I battled with his mother is that all actions have consequences, and as bad as most of the consequences may seem, once you deal with them, there gone. As long as you don’t repeat the situation that got you in trouble in the first place, your chances of avoiding similar consequences are extremely high.

The lesson I wasn’t trying to teach my wife that went over her head as I battled with her was that plans change, and sometimes pretty quickly. When those plans change, it doesn’t matter how much you have vested in current plan of action, if the plan is no longer valid. My stepson had ruined the chance for fun for himself AND the rest of the family by messing up, and looking the other way would just reinforce his bad behavior as valid.

I’m sure there are similar instances that have occurred in your personal live, made much more obvious if you are raising kids at home. I’m also sure that if you think about it, you can find similar instances around the job.

Missed deadlines and sales projections are more common than they should be in today’s business place. While they might just be used as guideline and aren’t considered ‘that important,’ why even have them if you’re not at least giving some weighted consideration them? If you’re taking the time to put a plan in place, and you see the plan isn’t going to work, take the time to come up with another plan. If you’re seeing people missing the mark because they know there is no consequence for not trying, add some sort of consequence (not punishment).

The lesson I ended up learning as I battled with my wife over the immediate punishment of my stepson was to stand my ground, since both my wife and I knew the right thing to do was to cancel the fun because my stepson had done quite a bit to un-earn the rights to have fun in the span of his ten minute confessional. I learned to not be upset with my wife for being disappointed and upset, but having my parents teach me my since of right and wrong wasn’t just a way to pass the time until they could kick me out of the house at 18. It was the basis for the life skills I now have the honor and privilege of teaching my stepson, so that when his 11-year-old kids and his subordinates at work starts mouthing off (and we all know that BOTH will), he’ll have the mechanisms in place to properly handle the situation. If he fails to do so, well, there will of course be consequences.

You are looking for a way to gain control over your life.

The answer lies in finding the time everyday to devote to the Four P’s of Life Management. The key is devote at least 30 minutes a day to each P.

The first P is finding 30 minutes a day TO PLAN.

The second P is finding 30 minutes a day TO PLAY. Time spent exercising with some level of intensity to improve your daily energy levels and overall health. Your PLAY time will ensure you have the strength and stamina to stand up to the rigors of your day, and extend your life to allow you the chance to live that life to the fullest.